At this point, it should be no secret that there is open hostility on the Internet whenever it's announced that Epic Games has signed an agreement with any video game developer to provide some kind of exclusivity to the Epic Games Store. The latest kerfuffle centers on the timed PC exclusivity of the indie video game Ooblets, and it's been bad enough that the company has since issued a statement on "misinformation and abuse."
"The announcement of Ooblets highlighted a disturbing trend which is growing and undermining healthy public discourse," Epic Games' statement from yesterday notes, "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."
After announcing at the end of July that the Glumberland team -- which is comprised of wife-and-husband Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser -- had signed a timed PC exclusivity deal with Epic Games, as well as a number of details about what that meant, and why they did it, an intense wave of harassment and otherwise vile comments and tactics have reportedly flooded the developers. That includes, but is not limited to, doctored screenshots and fake quotes.
Hey everyone, we’ve taken some time to compile our thoughts on what’s been going on the last few days. You can read them here: https://t.co/vmjOCybOfW [broad content warning] pic.twitter.com/OtQneNJUhx— Ooblets (@ooblets) August 6, 2019
The developers also released a statement today, noting that they were unprepared for the sheer amount of hate sent their way.
"I did expect a small percentage of that outside group to read our announcement," Wasser says in a post on Medium, "and I very naively thought what we were saying might get them to see the whole [Epic Games Store] debate as lightheartedly as we did. By engaging directly with that crowd, I mistakenly thought I could have some impact on their opinions and emotions and defuse the situation with some lighthearted criticism of the main things that drove them to attack people. You can see how well that went. It was a stupid miscalculation on my part."0comments
One aspect that's been heavily criticized and features in a lot of the harassment sent their way is the tone of the original announcement. Regardless of whether you're a fan of the way in which Epic Games does business, or if you disagree with the tone of the post, it's hard to argue that the response has been little more than an excuse for targeted harassment. As such, Wasser explicitly doesn't offer an apology after sharing a number of the terrible messages they've received.
"I recognize that none of this post equates to an apology in any way that a lot of the mob is trying to obtain, and that’s by design," he states. "While some of what I’ve said was definitely bad for PR, I stand behind it. A portion of the gaming community is indeed horrendously toxic, entitled, immature, irrationally-angry, and prone to joining hate mobs over any inconsequential issue they can cook up. That was proven again through this entire experience. It was never my intention to alienate or antagonize anyone in our community who does not fit that description, and I hope that you can see my tone and pointed comments were not directed at you."