I dunno if there’s really no such thing as bad publicity. Because threatening to sue over negative reviews and then getting busted for posting your own positive reviews is kind of bad publicity, and it’s not like the game was selling much to start with.
But don’t let that stop Art of Stealth indie developer and Dunning-Kruger Candidate of the Year nominee Matan Cohen. Set drama dials to maximum, everybody.
The game was already generating a bit of controversy recently, with Cohen flagging negative reviews of Art of Stealth as “abusive”, or simply arguing with users that they hadn’t played enough of the game to even have a proper opinion about it. But when former Destructoid writer turned video critic guy Jim Sterling decided to do his own review of the game and was, um, less than enthusiastic about it, the developer actually filed a DMCA takedown request with YouTube, complaining that “Jim Sterling has no respect to software engineers who learned programming in university for 5 years and work hard to create a good game”, and that “Jim Sterling has no self-respect. He is going against Youtube rules and trying to damage a small team which is new in the industry. A pathetic bully”, and that “Jim Sterling calls our work ‘Load of Crap’. He doesn’t respect our attempts to make a good game. He simply makes money by discredit other people’s works. I wonder if this worm can actually write a single line of code!”.
Oh, and this.
According to the geniuses behind Art of Stealth, my “illegal” coverage of their game is about to end my career.
I remain skeptical. pic.twitter.com/1nXs6SOJkL
— Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) January 17, 2017
At press time, YouTube hadn’t pulled the video, presumably because hurt feelings don’t constitute a real case.
Instead, Valve removed Art of Stealth from the Steam Store sometime last night after discovering that the developer had created multiple fake identities to post positive reviews of the game, an obvious violation of the company’s review policy. Allegations about this go back 10 days already.
“It must be a terrible misunderstanding. Those ‘Fake’ accounts belong to my family and to some close friends of mine. Last week they have joined Steam to support my project. It is not in any way a reason to ban me from Steam. I can’t see the logic behind this ban,” Cohen later told TechRapter, apparently still not quite managing to secure the firmest grasp on review ethics.
“For many days I was suffering from bullying on my own group of Art of Stealth. I have banned many members, and they revenged me by reporting to Valve on ‘fake’ accounts. Valve believed them and removed my game from the store. Valve told me than my game would never be on the store again.”
You can’t make this stuff up.