Paranautical Activity Pulled From Steam After Dev Threatens Gabe Newell
With all the focus on death threats as part of the ongoing #GamerGate drama, the most prominent death threat we’ll be talking about this week isn’t part of that saga but from an indie dev who was unhappy with Steam. Mike Maulbeck, one of the developers behind the procedurally-generated FPS Paranautical Activity, tweeted what he called a sarcastic death threat towards Valve boss Gabe Newell on Monday night.
This resulted in Steam pulling Paranautical Activity from Steam and ending their relationship with Code Avarice.
Maulbeck was set off on a Twitter tirade after his game was advertised on the Steam Store’s banner as an Early Access game despite being given its full release on that same day. He issued a series of tweets reading:
Valve didn’t take too kindly to that tweet, even if Maulbeck insists that he was not serious about the threat. Valve sent the following email to Maulbeck notifying him that they were pulling Paranautical Activity from Steam because of the death threat.
“On your Twitter account today there were a series of messages where you expressed your frustration with Steam. We are generally comfortable with partners expressing this type of frustration or any other viewpoint directly with us or publicly through social media and the press. But one of your tweets this morning was a threat to kill one of our colleagues. Death threats cross a line. We have therefore decided to end our business relationship with you and Code Avarice.
“We’ve closed down your Steam admin accounts and we’re removing the game from purchase on Steam. We will leave make Community Hub available so that existing customers will continue to have a place to discuss the game. Our understanding is that you’re done developing the game, but if you need to ship an update to Steam customers, get in touch with us and we can help ship the update out for you.”
Maulbeck reacted to that well:
With a night for everyone to think things through, on Tuesday, Maulbeck issued an apology for his previous night’s death threat and announced that he had sold his half of Code Avarice to co-owner and partner Travis Pfenning. On behalf of Code Avarice, Pfenning issued a second apology for the threat. Both men asked the the whole of Code Avarice not be punished for Maulbeck’s actions.
As of now, Valve has yet to respond to either apology but they have also not reinstated Paranautical Activity to Steam. The question now becomes whether the livelihood of many people should be affected by the actions of one person if that one person removes himself from the affected company, even if that one person issued a death threat. If America is really built on second chances, then Valve should give Code Avarice a second chance. Maulbeck? I don’t think that too many people would be heartbroken if he spends a while off Steam.