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After writing about how the developer of Depth of Extinction revoked a user’s externally purchased Steam key after leaving a negative review, the developer reached out to give a statement.

Here’s what they said completely unedited and in full, quoted with their permission:

This game was my whole life for three years, and I was unprepared three weeks ago for how the launch and first wave of negative reviews would impact me emotionally. I reacted poorly to a negative review by a person who had purchased our alpha key on a different platform. I took the review personally. My response of revoking the key was wrong and I will not try to explain it away, but will take full responsibility. I gave them a new key the next morning after they emailed me and I also apologized to them over email. Here's a further apology to anyone else who is offended by these events - I am truly sorry for my actions. I'm hoping that I can use this incident to continue to grow and mature as a human and as a game developer.

I’m glad the developer decided to reach out about this, to help clear the air.

Do I think they did an incredibly stupid thing? Absolutely. Let's be clear on this as they said so themselves, they did do it and they did mean to. It's a situation that should have never happened in the first place. It took the user realising it had been done to bring it to light, otherwise they would have gotten away without understanding how wrong it was and why. However, it was a very human response and I don’t think they’re the devil. No one is infallible. Steam is an incredibly competitive environment now (especially for indies), far more than it ever was and the initial bunch of reviews can completely sink a game. It's why so many developers are desperate for more user reviews as it affects how they're shown across Steam.

Do I think people should now refuse to support them? No. People do make mistakes, sometimes rather colossal ones but it doesn’t automatically mean they’re a terrible person. I’m still really not impressed with what they did in the heat of the moment but I always feel that people should be given a second chance.

There has been some confusion on it across the web, since the previous article was shared in many places by others.

I did try to make it clear about it not being a direct Steam purchase noting in the title it was a “Steam key” and explaining exactly where it came from in the text. To clear that up for sure, direct purchases from Steam cannot be simply revoked by a developer at the click of a button. The issue here, is that the developer gave out "beta" keys to people who purchased it on itch.io which can be revoked, which is of course another thing that wasn't done right.

Regardless, a point I feel I need to make, is that even if it was a free key for a review as some believed, you do not give keys to people for a good review—that would be review manipulation and that’s absolutely not good either.

To make something else clear, we will report on both good and bad news and not shy away from it. Regardless of it being from a AAA or an indie. To filter out bad news and business practices, just because “they’re a small developer” or any other reasons would not be the respectable thing for us to do. As always though, I will absolutely take feedback on board about how we frame things, it's important to me personally to keep improving.

If you feel like checking out Depth of Extinction, find it on Humble Store, GOG, itch.io and Steam.

31 Likes, Who?
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25 comments
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Nezchan 21 October 2018 at 6:42 pm UTC
Eike
jens“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.”
Michael Jordan (according to the all-knowing Internet)

"Quotes on the internet are most times attributed wrong." Albert Einstein

Excuse me, but I think if you do your reasearch you'll find that Abraham Lincoln said that.
Eike 21 October 2018 at 6:49 pm UTC
KelsExcuse me, but I think if you do your reasearch you'll find that Abraham Lincoln said that.

I actually thought about adding him, but as a German...
Switches 21 October 2018 at 7:23 pm UTC
I think after the mess that's about the best resolution the dev could have made. It does open up the arguments for the whole "Digital" key situation, it seems that people are making more of this kind of mistake though, which to me is kind of worrying.
skye 21 October 2018 at 7:35 pm UTC
All's well that ends well. Dev fixed issue, apologized, seems to have learned from it and we can all get back to gaming
Kimyrielle 21 October 2018 at 7:50 pm UTC
Being able to say sorry shows strength most people do not possess. I respect this person for not trying to find lame excuses for their actions or try to lay blame on others, when 95% of humans would do exactly that.

Lesson learned. Move on!
RafiLinux 21 October 2018 at 9:23 pm UTC
Sounds like he's human and trying to make a good go at making this right.
jens 21 October 2018 at 9:42 pm UTC
Eike
jens“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.”
Michael Jordan (according to the all-knowing Internet)

"Quotes on the internet are most times attributed wrong." Albert Einstein
I'm pretty sure you are correct ;). Although there is a book from Mr Jordan with that title, I guess this statement must have at least some relation with him. ;)
Gamewizard 21 October 2018 at 9:56 pm UTC
Well back onto my to future purchase list.
lejimster 21 October 2018 at 11:42 pm UTC
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I disagree with what he did, but it shows character to admit your mistake, apologise and rectify the mistake. Hopefully it doesn't put them off developing games and maybe they can take on criticism better in the future and make their work even better =).
Purple Library Guy 22 October 2018 at 6:43 am UTC
That was a pretty handsome apology. There are apologies where the person is totally trying to either duck responsibility or not actually admit it was a wrong thing to do. Like there's those "I apologize if anyone was offended" type ones (subtext being they shouldn't have been offended but I'm saying something so my critics will shut up), or the classic cheating evangelical "I strayed" (so like, it's not that I chose to do anything wrong, I was just walking along, took the wrong fork in the path by accident and next thing you know I'm screwing someone who isn't my wife, it could happen to anybody). My recent favourite is "That's not who I am" (Really? Who the hell are you then, and could you bring in the person who it is and have them apologize?).

This was not that kind of apology; no ducking, no weaseling. I appreciate that.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 22 October 2018 at 6:48 am UTC
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