Proving once again that Twitter is a repository for irrational outbursts and ill-conceived rants, a game has been removed from the Steam store after its developer had a meltdown concerning Steam, Valve and Gabe Newell.
The game in question, Paranautical Activity, is a voxel-based FPS/roguelike hybrid that recently made its way onto Valve’s venerable content-delivery service after spending a number of years doing the rounds as an early access title. Things were looking good: not only had the game reached a completed state, but it was included on a list of Halloween-themed games, guaranteed to get attention with the world’s focus on the upcoming holiday.
However, after noting that Valve was mistakenly referring to the game as still being in early access, its developer, Mike Maulbeck, wasted no time expressing his disgust on Twitter. Arguing that Valve’s error would lead to diminished sales resulting from people’s misconceptions, his tweets quickly devolved into a tirade. He had harsh words for Steam, calling it “incompetent” (amongst other expletives) and generally lambasted it for being a “monopoly”.
The real problem arose when Mike tweeted “I am going to kill Gabe Newell. He is going to die”. Valve were not amused, and promptly pulled the plug on Paranautical Activity. Valve’s Doug Lombardi later confirmed the news: “Yes, we have removed the game’s sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees.” Naturally, Mike Maulbeck has since deleted the offensive tweet and maintains that he didn’t mean it, but the damage is done. [And the Internet never forgets; see the whole rant right here. – Ed]
It should really be common sense, but the take-away here is that it’s a spectacularly bad idea to openly berate and threaten people you’re attempting to have a business relationship with. And while Steam is unquestionably a juggernaut in the PC gaming market, calling it a monopoly is incorrect, particularly since other content providers exist, such as Origin, GoG and Desura.
Speaking of Desura, the good news is that Paranautical Activity is still available there. It’s a swell title and you should definitely check it out. Unfortunately, good games are always the victims of these Internet dramas.