Editor’s Note – Late last night on Twitter I sat and watched the first moments of what threatened to devolve into yet another Indie Dev Drama. The short version of the events is that an Indie Dev on Twitter, who goes by the handle @TehBignic, was receiving a lot of tweets and emails from people who had bought his game Zombies through various Indie game bundles and were under the expectation, due to messages on those bundles, that they would get a Steam key for the game if and when it was Greenlit.

As it happens, the developer’s contracts with those bundle operators apparently never stated that Steam keys would be given out to players. Following a huge number of hateful messages the developer lashed out on Twitter calling those asking for keys “Scumbags”. This quickly started to blow up on Twitter before the developer began tweeting apologies and saying that keys would be given to all players who bought Zombies through any bundles and storefronts. We reached out to the developer and are posting his email to us below in its entirety. Our aim by posting this is not to take a side, but rather to ensure that the developer has an opportunity to get his side out there in a longer medium than Twitter.

As might be expected, I’m a little bit leery to say anything about the situation for fear that it will be taken out of context… but here goes.

Mainly I’d like to call attention to the post on Feb 22 on my facebook page, long before any of this blew up.(https://www.facebook.com/thebignic)

“Corporate Lifestyle Simulator” is the expansion pack for “Zombies.” and will be released on Steam, integrated with the original app.       “Zombies.” will not be available on its own. Understandably, Steam keys for this product will be unavailable for anyone who previously purchased “Zombies.” If this seriously bothers anyone, lets chat.

That was shortened for twitter because of obvious restrictions. I honestly believed that the decision would impact a handful of people at best. I specifically left that door open for complaints because I didn’t know how it would be taken and wanted to be able to adjust the decision based on feedback. But that key component “If this bothers anyone, lets chat” was left out on twitter and so the reaction was swift and severe. I got about 200 messages on twitter ranging from name-calling to death threats. Someone wished that I would get cancer.

Those vocal people were the ones that I lashed out at and it was my fault for not setting the context correctly so that supporters and fans didn’t think it was directed at them. I apologized, and that apology is sincere.

The fact remains that the three bundles that were called out last night (GreenManGaming, IndieGameStand, and Groupees Build-a-Bundle) very specifically do not mention Steam keys in their contracts. I have read and re-read them, thinking that I must have missed something but that isn’t the case. GreenManGaming was a FREE promotion and keys were never even discussed. IndieGameStand even took to twitter to confirm that the keys were not promised, but the flaming continued.

I quickly reversed my decision and agreed to give keys to people who had purchased the game. The potential of lost sales isn’t worth getting death threats over. I had to reiterate that decision because the original tweet obviously was unprofessional and insulting.

I value the support of my fans and thought I had been pretty vocal about that, but perhaps I haven’t said it enough. I’m not hiding behind any corporate brand – this is my personal identity that I’m working with. It’s a shame that its tarnished because of misunderstanding, but perhaps that’s just the breaks of being a developer.

I wanted to keep people in the loop about my decision, let them know about the name change, and gauge the response so that I could change the game-plan accordingly. This is exactly what happened and in the end, the voices of the people were heard and their demands were met. We could have reached this accord without name-calling, insults, and threats on both sides.

For my part, I am sorry for my conduct and hope that the internet grants me the grace to continue doing what I love to do. There is no developer without users – there is no artist without patrons.

If there’s any potential for you to get this message out, that would be a miracle and I thank you for it. Anything I say about the issue just looks like I’m backpedaling or asking for pity or digging a deeper grave. At the end of the day, everyone who bought the game in a bundle should get a Steam key when they are available.

About The Author

Founding Member

Laura’s gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them. Why does she want to write about indie games? Because indie devs are awesome and she wants to be their new best friend by telling them how terrible their games are. That’s how it works right? Twitter: @LauraKBuzz Email: Laurak@indiehaven.com

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