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Steam removes games of developer seeking subpoena for users' information (Correction)

Digital Homicide trying to sue 100 anonymous Valve users over harsh criticism of their games

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Steam has removed a developer's games after its co-founder filed a subpoena demanding personal information for 100 Valve users in a nasty legal fight over user reviews on the games service.

Correction 9/19: The documents cited in an earlier version of this article contain the erroneous assumption that the subpoena was granted. The documents do not bear a judge's signature; they are proposed texts which are often submitted by a party seeking a subpoena, for a judge to sign. This subpoena has not been granted, merely proposed. This story has been corrected and revised to reflect this.

James Romine of Digital Homicide is seeking the subpoena from a federal judge in Arizona. He wants the real identities of 100 users in an $18 million personal injury claim against these users for their comments and allegations of the studio's products and how they were developed. Storefronts for about a dozen games were taken down yesterday evening. (A screenshot of one of the games, The Slaughtering Grounds, is above.)

Valve would have the right to contest the subpoena at a hearing. To Polygon, a Valve representative commented: "Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers"

Romine has brought a separate $10.7 million lawsuit against the gaming personality Jim Sterling over videos he has made slamming the studio's games. Romine and his brother, Robert, allege that Sterling's audience and supporters have also harassed them through the mail. Kotaku published a lengthy examination of that dispute and its origins back in March.

YouTube personality SidAlpha reported the subpoena developments in this video on Thursday, likewise making a strong condemnation of the Romines' actions and games. All of the documents related to the subpoenas can be found here.

Polygon reached out to James Romine for comment on the latest developments with Valve.

Update: Digital Homicide has responded at length here, implying they will seek to bring a lawsuit against Valve.