It appears the tide of sending death threats over Twitter is still quite strong, as Valve recently removed a game from Steam after Gabe Newell received death threats from one of its developers. Paranautical Activity creator Mike Maulbeck is now feeling the repercussions of broadcasting such threats over the Internet, all of which stemmed from an issue that he had with the way that Steam marketed the game.
According to a report on EuroGamer, Maulbeck said the game was meant to be a full release, but Valve were promoting it as an alpha title still in heavy development. He told the website that:
Valve marked our game as ‘now on Early Access’ as we released the final version (no longer in Early Access). I knew this would greatly cripple sales and confuse customers.
Following the confusion, Maulbeck launched a torrent of angry tweets to his followers, expressing disbelief at the way Steam handled Paranautical Activity and the mixed messages the developer felt he was getting from the company. But it was the message, “I am going to kill Gabe Newell. He is going to die.” which landed Malbeck in serious hot water. The tweet has since been deleted, but was captured by PlayerAttack for anyone who wishes to see it.
Following the tweet, Maulbeck received an email from Valve HQ announcing the end of their professional relationship. The full email – forwarded by the developer – reads:
“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 has since apologized for the outburst and explained that he had tried contacting Valve about the Early Access error that Paranautical Activity had been stamped with. Unfortunately, the news comes at a time when the games industry is in the midst of a series of controversies regarding death threats being sent, most notably to feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian.
Customers still wanting to purchase Paranautical Activity can do so from the developer’s website, Desura or the Humble Bundle store.