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Developer's lawsuit against games critic Jim Sterling is dismissed 'with prejudice'

He was being sued for 'libel, slander and assault'

Digital Homicide's efforts to sue YouTuber and games journalist Jim Sterling over his criticism of the game Slaughtering Grounds has ended.

Sterling dubbed the first-person shooter one of the worst games of 2014 and a failure. Developer Digital Homicide's James Romine reacted by accusing Sterling - real name James Stanton - of deliberately not playing the game correctly to obtain attention. He sued Jim Sterling for libel, slander and assault for $10m. The lawsuit included charging Sterling for the legal research that James Romine had to do.

However, Sterling's lawyer Bradley Hartman managed to convince Romine to back down.

"I'm obviously pleased with the result," Sterling wrote on his website. "We filed for dismissal, because this whole thing was an instant waste of time and money that could never be recuperated. Even if this went to court and we counterclaimed, what would we get out of it? A dismissal with prejudice is even better than the simple dismissal I'd originally aimed for - this effectively means these ludicrous charges aren't coming back."

He continued: "I was not a direct part of the communication between Romine and my lawyer, but as I understand it, the agreement to drop the suit with prejudice was the result of Hartman's enviable reasoning ability. The plaintiff agreed to drop his case after my lawyer explained exactly what would happen if this went to court and how we would respond.

"That it got as far as it did, went on for as long as it did, is atrocious - especially when this is a case that amounts to a game developer wanting to silence a game critic."

Romine had tried to crowd-fund the money to sue Sterling, but didn't receive significant sums.

Digital Homicide also tried to sue 100 Steam users for $18m because they also criticised the company and its games. Valve reacted by removing the company's titles off of Steam for its treatment of its customers.

Sterling concludes that he found the whole lawsuit 'disgusting'.

"While the accusations found within the lawsuit are farcical and definitively veer into comedy territory - as we'll find out when I go through it in detail at a later date - the existence of it is simply grotesque. That you can be made to spend that much money and effort defending yourself from spurious claims should be a worrying prospect for anybody whose job involves saying things that some people aren't going to like."

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who