Epic Games Addresses “Disturbing Trend” Of Developer Harassment
Offering a formidable counter to PC storefront Steam, the Epic Games Store has been snagging exclusivity deals left and right lately with numerous anticipated titles, the likes of Borderlands 3 and The Outer Wolds among the most notable. Though promoting a swell of healthy competition, the Epic marketplace has nonetheless been met with significant contention for its perceived lack of store features, security measures, and for it’s simple existence as yet another PC game launcher in an already crowded market.
Though the announcement of each new Epic Games exclusive almost always comes with a familiar flood of negativity, the store’s most recent confirmation was dealt a great deal of backlash than had been seen before. Following announcement that vibrant simulation title Ooblets had now also reached a timed-exclusivity arrangement, the game’s developer Gumberland became victim to a distressing amount of threats and damaging rumors from all across the angry portions of the internet–enough to prompt Epic Games to address this “disturbing” situation in a recent open letter:
We at Epic Games have often shared our views about the game business and companies in it, and we support the entire game community’s right to speak freely and critically about these topics, including the topic of Epic, our products, and our store. When everyone shares their earnest views, the best ideas ultimately prevail.”
The announcement of Ooblets highlighted a disturbing trend which is growing and undermining healthy public discourse, and that’s the coordinated and deliberate creation and promotion of false information, including fake screenshots, videos, and technical analysis, accompanied by harassment of partners, promotion of hateful themes, and intimidation of those with opposing views.”
Epic is working together with many game developers and other partners to build what we believe will be a healthier and more competitive multi-store world for the future. We remain fully committed, and we will steadfastly support our partners throughout these challenges. Many thanks to all of you that continue to promote and advocate for healthy, truthful discussion about the games business and stand up to all manners of abuse.”
Epic’s defense of Gumberland and the Epic Store itself came after the Ooblets developer’s own efforts to deal with the situation, which only seemed to inspire even more hate speech and harassment from “thousands” of online trolls. The two-person dev team recalled their experience via Medium:”As new users streamed into our Discord — hurling insults, accusations, and demanding satisfaction over a game they’d never heard of — our community, with me leading the tone, wasn’t very welcoming to their behavior.”
“I very foolishly engaged with these people, sometimes just answering them, sometimes making jokes, and often saying things in exasperation,” the post explained. “It was obviously a mistake to engage in that way. I unintentionally threw a lot of fuel on the fire because my messages were screenshotted without any of that context (and sometimes specifically rearranged to change the context or outrightly fabricated) and shared back amongst where the hate mobs were mobilizing.”
We’ve gotten literally tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of messages on every conceivable platform. We see a lot more than you ever could looking in from outside, and the worst of it usually gets deleted or is sent to us privately.”
Though there are some real gripes to be had with the Epic Games Store, especially when compared to the well-established likes of Steam, this immensely senseless means of expressing concern is obviously no way to get that point across. As Epic’s statement suggests, the platform itself already has quite a few plans in place to address the PC community’s problems–several of which recently laid out by Epic CEO Tim Sweeny.
What do you think? Are you upset trolls have taken Epic Games Store criticism this far, or is there no excuse for this type of behavior? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
Eric Hall1595 Posts
Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his weekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.