Today, the YouTube games critic Jim Sterling has sued the company Warhorse Studios for a sum total of $42 million. The case is currently in its "early stages," he says.
Game developers are often accused of creating games that are, literally, awful, and Sterling's claim stems from Warhorse's failure to meet the demands of its users when it comes to making their games acceptable to critics, despite the fact that the company claims to be the "gold standard" for quality games.
According to Sterling, Warhorse Studios' quality-at-the-bottom-of-the-line process for making its games wasn't just a waste of resources, but also that of its users. As Sterling put it, "[I]t's hard to create something that is as popular and well liked as Call of Duty if you think twice before making it a mediocre game."
If Sterling's claims are accurate, it's difficult for critics to believe that there's a problem with some of the best games being released out there at just $20. Warhorse Studios has made several $10-a-game games over the years, but they rarely have received much acclaim.
The legal case issued by the games critic Jim Sterling also cites Warhorse Studios for accounts of "online harassment" and "slander". It accuses the producer of being "incredibly negligent" after it was discovered that the studio had sold a copy of the latest instalment at a low price point, costing up to £16 before tax and shipping.
According to Jim Sterling's lawyer, the game company's CEO Daniel Vávra only told the games critic to "shut the f*** up you hamplanet", which according to the legal team, is already considered slander. "If any one of those tweets were considered by the media to be hostile we would have received a cease and desist letter from Activision," Sterling's lawyer William A. Schoettle said.
"In this current climate, it raises serious legal questions about the scope of press freedom in the internet age," Schoettle commented.
Vávra and Activision had initially refused to comment, but shortly after news broke that Sterling was being fired from the magazine for illicit insertion of furry-themed sex toys in his workplace, the company issued a statement which claimed he had been fired for his comments on the gaming site Kotaku. But while the game developer's termination sparked outrage among the gaming press, this statement simply failed to clarify precisely when Schieffer started to publicly discuss the matter, let alone why such discussions took place at all.
Schieffer later responded to the controversy by claiming he had not seen the Kotaku piece published and that he was not involved "in any way covering the matter", because of the preoccupation with “counting delicious shekels”.