Infamous Critic Jim Sterling Has $10M Lawsuit Dismissed: Why That’s Good for Everyone

This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.

Jim Sterling, a gaming critic notorious for his reviews and unfiltered opinions, has had the $10 Million lawsuit leveled against him by Digital Homicide, completely dismissed. I wanted to discuss why this is a good thing

The turmoil started back in 2014 when Sterling named one of their games, Slaughtering Grounds, “New ‘Worst Game Of 2014′ Contender.” The game which was a mess of purchased and free Unity assets, topped off with blood stain images lifted right from Google rightfully earned it that title, and Sterling, doing his job, pointed this out.

This avalanched into a two year “feud”, if you can even call it that, that brought about one of the most ridiculous lawsuits I have seen in years. You can just think of peak Jack Thompson levels of insanity. Love him or hate him, Sterling became the poster boy for critics in gaming. While being a bit of a former shell of his original edgy self, changing drastically from his persona built when Destructoid was fresh, he still generally strives for the greater good, in his own mind.

I say that in full knowing that he, in many peoples’ minds, is gaming’s equivalent of “live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” as he is prone to use what I consider damaging and petty uses of power when a company rubs him the wrong way. You should watch his “Why It’s Morally Okay To Pirate All Of Nintendo’s Games” video for a recent examples of this.

I have seen many of the more hardcore Sterling detractors state they would love to see this case ruin him, but I am here to try changing the way you think about this prospect. I hope to give you an idea of what would happen to all critics, big and small, good and bad, if this were to happen. Even though the lawsuit looks to have been written in a slam poetry jam attended by Dr. Seuss and Adam Sessler after a “really long E3”, if it had been won, it would have been the end of almost all media press and critics.

Now I know some of you might have a glint in your eye because of recent media events, but let me explain further. With a lawsuit like this, it places a monetary value on any type of criticism, in its entity, with no real limits. Simply put, you would be assigning a value to the discomfort of a bruised ego and hurt feelings, even if the party being criticized fully deserves the criticism.

The ripple effect would be that all media and reporting would be subject to this set precedents, establishing a pattern that would inform all lawsuits and those who file them in the future. This would essentially smack the First Amendment of our Constitution with the equivalent of a Fat Man, leaving an irradiated mess.

“Dramatic Exaggeration for emphasis.”

Sterling was lucky that Digital Homicide was incompetent as this was easy to dismiss once the ground game was placed by his lawyer.

Jim had a secure base and the money to fight such a lawsuit, but many don’t, which leads to out of court settlements all the time. Paying up can be cheaper then the alternative and is a fundamental problem with lawsuits in the United States. We’ve even see this tactic used on companies like Nintendo when it comes to false copyright claims.

With this dismissal we all win, as it provides all of us with a shining precedence to point to when criticism of gaming gets challenged as anything other then just that. Sterling footed the bill on this one and that should be acknowledged.

On the flip side of this is YouTuber H3H3, who has been in a costly legal battle with YouTuber THE BOLD GUY, mirroring Sterling’s battle with Digital Homicide. If this case is lost, it will destroy YouTubers.

Something like this would affect us at Niche Gamer as well, halting the ability to cast criticism without fear of crippling debt and costly legal battles.

You might not be “thanking God” for Jim Sterling, but you better be for the competent chain of lawyers he went through, because one wrong slip and everything from reviews to let’s plays tumbles down the hill with it. That my friends, is not an exaggeration.

Michael Jordan

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  • SuuLoliBoob

    Good for him. No one deserves to be sued for talking about a shit product. I still don’t like him, though.

  • Jack

    Jim “i’ve come on my own face as a joke” Sterling

  • Dale Frewaldt

    Jim is one of my favorite commentators, so I’m already on board with this.

  • s_fnx

    I hate the guy but that lawsuit was a joke to begin with.

  • Sylveria Shini

    As much as I want to see him crash and burn, when there’s so many valid reasons, getting sued for doing reviews is not one of them.

  • Bitterbear

    Jim Sterling is like a 21th century version of Larry Flynt: An unsightly, vulgar man who in the end becomes an icon of free speech.

  • Sylveria Shini

    Jim’s hardly an icon of free speech when he’s openly endorsed the use of doxing, mob harassment tactics, and so on to shut down “free speech” he doesn’t like.

  • Dighunter

    Oh boy, how long till little Jimmy boy throws a hissy fit and sends his fans after NG and the article’s author?

  • I feel this was a rather fair and valid look at him and the situation. I don’t think he would even acknowledge the article if it was presented to him, and really its not for him, its for our readers.

  • Mr0303

    He is an SJW scumbag, but he is in the right in this case.

  • I get that the worry comes with “drawing the line.” But in this case, I think we can safely draw the line around Jim Sterling, and agree with near unanimity that yeah, he has it coming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s hard for him, he must get stressed out when his wife’s boyfriend Tyrone doesn’t let him take his cuck-cage off for a few weeks. Considering he’ll give games perfect scores if he can jerk off to them enough like Fallout 4, while real analysts and critics can think deeper and discuss the nuance of the game’s design like Errant Signal, he must have quite the appetite. As much as I doubt his “son” is actually his and is in fact a half-black, half-whale retard, he seems to have the deviancy required to have a child just to use them as a sex toy.
    And uh, somethin’ about him, burying lawsuits as easily as he hides dissenting comments on his website by the dozen.

  • OSad

    >I say that in full knowing that he, in many peoples’ minds, is gaming’s equivalent of “live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” as he is prone to use what I consider damaging and petty uses of power when a company rubs him the wrong way. You should watch his “Why It’s Morally Okay To Pirate All Of Nintendo’s Games” video for a recent examples of this.

    People have lost the nuance of what he’s said in that video entirely. He is not actually condoning theft of Nintendo’s properties. He attempted to expose Nintendo’s double-faced hypocrisy, when they take all the money from Youtube creators and re-sell ROMs to consumers over and over again while being vehemently anti-emulation and anti-piracy, by likening it to a real world situation where the consumer does to Nintendo, what Nintendo does to consumers.

    How is that a “damaging and petty use of power”? Do you think someone is actually dumb enough to go to a gamestop and steal Nintendo shit just because a fat guy on the internet with a vendetta against a company told them to do it?

  • Fenrir007

    While I highly dislike flip-flopping Jim, it’s good that he won. The lawsuit was completely retarded. Trying to stifle criticism through the legal system is not what it’s there for. I’m glad a dark precedent was not set with him losing.

  • juan

    ¿can you elaborate on this endorsement? ¿an example? I am not implying they do not exist, I am curious.

  • scemar

    yeah no doubt, dumb unfair lawsuits are bad
    jim is trash and people should stop caring about him
    this is good for videogames regardless

  • Bitterbear

    Well, Larry Flynt did not became an icon overnight. Let’s wait and see if he can redeem himself.

  • sanic

    That sun glasses and gloves indoors wearing fat shit is a fat shit but if this went the other way eventually nothing could be criticized.

  • NuclearKangaroo

    i dont like the fat stupid whale but the lawsuit was beyond idiotic

  • OzymandiasAeonis

    The accumulated filth of all their narratives and virtue signaling will foam up about their waists and all the journos and useful idiots will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.”

  • Phasmatis75

    He’s championed censorship in video games, called us all sexist for Quinns lies, entitled for EAs Mass Effect 3 outrage. He’s absolute scum and deserves whatever misery comes his way.

  • OSad

    Yeah, I don’t agree with everything he’s said. But what does that have to do with the statement or with the video Michael quoted?

  • PixelBuff

    Two faced scum bag.

  • Bret Hart

    Larry Flynt took a bullet, big difference between those two.

  • Bret Hart

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lje1viM_djY

    No objections. Gladly claps along agreeing with the coke addict.

  • Bitterbear

    Like I said, let’s wait and see what happens.

  • Neojames82

    I think Jim is a huge fucking loser but for him to get sued over stating his opinion about how shitty a game is just plain stupid. Those idiots didn’t have a chance.

  • Neojames82

    Jim “My wife looks like a ugly female version of me” Sterling.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CippT6XWsAA9P6P.jpg

  • Bret Hart

    Larry Flynt went to the supreme court because the government was going to shut down his business because they were being moral puritans. Where he was shot in the spine and paralysed fighting for his right to keep running his business which he still did from his wheel chair.

    There not comparable at all. Stop it.

  • Daryl Corey

    Are we certain that is not Jim in drag?

  • Daryl Corey

    Hate all Jim stands for these days since GamerGate kicked off but that lawsuit was utter BS

  • Jumanji Joe

    The only headline I want to see with this fat fat is “SJW game reviewer takes his own life after realizing what he married”.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    He looks like an overweight Asian woman in that second pic.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Female involves it looking feminine.

  • buddyluv324

    WTF was that all about? I saw the tweet one day and I had to ask myself “what the fuck am i doing with my life reading up a grown man’s tweet with a pic of him with (fake) jizz on his face?!”

  • OldPalpy

    “Sterling became the poster boy for critics in gaming” is this true because I thought that It’s always been Yahtzee,

  • Because the nuance is not there. There is a difference from holding an IP, and the assets associated with said IP and doing with them what they want and walking in to a Nintendo store and stealing an item in the back of the shop. Now I don’t like Nintendo’s stance on this, but I should also state that this has not effected us with our videos featuring Nintendo properties. That video was conflating multiple things making any point he was trying to make useless. And saying “You should read the attached article.” is wildly irresponsible on the part of someone who is more well known for his video work than his written now.

  • Jim is pre Yahtzee, and Yahtzee even stated that he was entertainment and to not be taken to seriously.

  • OSad

    “There is a difference from holding an IP, and the assets associated with said IP and doing with them what they want and walking in to a Nintendo store and stealing an item in the back of the shop.”

    Yeah, Nintendo is perfectly within the law to do all of this, it’s just a move in extremely bad faith to your customers. Jim was trying to exemplify that it is *like* Nintendo are doing legalized robbery so he flippantly says it’s morally okay to go into the Nintendo store and shoplift. He didn’t say it was legally okay, and in multiple parts in the video (him “quoting” Neil Degrasse Tyson”, saying he made a petulant point on the internet while playing Tiny Toons on his hacked NES Classic, denying that he would ever say that it’s okay to shoplift), he even hints at that it’s not morally okay to do this either to a certain extent, because legally he doesn’t have anything to back his argument up, which is where the nuance in the video comes from.

    “And saying “You should read the attached article.” is wildly irresponsible on the part of someone who is more well known for his video work than his written now.”

    What exactly is wrong with further clarifying your thoughts in the written word? Reviewers do this all the time by summarizing their thoughts about a game in a video and later giving a more in-depth review on paper.

    Honestly Michael, I don’t give a damn about Jim Sterling either way. I subscribe to him because I enjoy his content, but I wouldn’t defend most of the things he says. To say that this is a petty misuse of power is being unfair to his fans more than anyone, because Jim Sterling lives and dies by his patreon and his audience. The only power that guy has is over his own fat ass.

  • JoeSislack

    I’ll agree that the lawsuit was hilariously frivalous (even if Jimmy didn’t help by egging him on constantly).

    Other than that, I just hope one day Jim chokes to death on his own bullshit.

  • JoeSislack

    Comparing Jim to Larry Flynt is an insult to unsightly vulgar men. At least Larry actually had wit and humor unlike Jimmy Sterling.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    Because people are going to use his ‘sarcasm’ as an excuse and parrot it like some sort of mantra, and is based on a completely black and white view of the issue in which Jim is unquestionably right, and Nintendo is undeniably wrong.

    His supposed “hypocrisy” is entirely based on the assumption that Nintendo is deliberately ignoring fair use laws, and that Jim is in no way over-stepping any boundaries. Jim, who openly admits he isn’t a lawyer, is presuming to know more about the legality of their actions better than Nintendo and their own legal team.

    His argument is literally “if they get to ignore the law, than so do we”, an eye for an eye and two wrongs make a right. There isn’t anything nuanced about his stance.

    Keep in mind that, Nintendo having their own Youtube program, despite it’s flaws, does give them legal standing. It can be argued that people avoiding the proper channels and using their IP without permission is damaging, and they’re using it to directly compete with said channels, both of which violates fair use. Jim seems to be missing that side of the argument entirely.

  • OSad

    He says in the video that it’s “morally okay” to pirate Nintendo property, not legally okay. He even says at the beginning of the video that it’s a petulant point on the internet. He fucking knows he’s in the wrong, he’s just upset that Nintendo don’t have to and so choose not to play ball like other companies.

    Also, he may not be a lawyer, but he has a lawyer at his beck and call, which I get to presume he consults with when he wants to make this sort of video.

    Does the idea that a Youtuber with 500k subscribers and a successful video series openly condones piracy and theft really make that much sense to everybody? It sure didn’t to me.

    “Because people are going to use his ‘sarcasm’ as an excuse and parrot it like some sort of mantra”

    Well, that’s great for the dumbasses who weren’t paying attention past the pretty pictures he puts on the background of his videos. Is Jim supposed to take the blame for the audience he can’t control too?

  • Fenrir007

    I had no respect for Jim whatsoever, but I still managed to lose some more after seeing this.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    I’m not saying he’s directly responsible, but I seriously doubt he doesn’t suspect what will happen is all I’m saying. If he was that worried about putting an idea in peoples’ heads he wouldn’t say it at all.

    Overall he’s just really skirting the line with that video, and he knows it, as you said he’s just upset. Nintendo is one of the few companies that won’t back down and let him have his way.

    Him having a lawyer to consult with I forgot about. I would presume that his lawyer either didn’t tell him everything he should know, or only what would be necessary to ‘win’.

    Then again, in his opening he tries to claim that downloading ROMs while owning a real copy is legal, which its not in the US. So there’s no telling how much is (or isn’t) backed by legal advice.

    That and him using the other usual arguments that he and everybody else uses, suggests he’s speaking mostly from a personal standpoint

  • RichardGristle

    Sterling is a goddamn clown, but I definitely agree with the sentiment of this article.

  • AuraMaster DX (austin9568)

    Jesus Christ, he asexually reproduced

  • Madbrainbox

    Yeah.This would’ve set a dangerous precedent.

  • “Jim had a secure base and the money to fight such a lawsuit, but many don’t, which leads to out of court settlements all the time. Paying up can be cheaper then the alternative and is a fundamental problem with lawsuits in the United States.”

    I would add that it happens in many more countries than just the US, but this is absolutely a problem that not many seem interested in fixing. And credit where it’s due, Sterling was in the right for this case, as much as I think he’s a total fuckwit.

  • Ehh, give ’em out of context comments about him here, and see what he does next, I guess.

  • DizzyGear

    How fat and ugly does one have to be to do a fat girl angle shot and still look hideously fat.

  • Lisette Baxter

    Shame on all of you. I don’t care if you ridicule Jim all you like-he’s a public figure and knows that goes with the territory of being a game critic with controversial opinions. His wife is NOT a public figure and has done NOTHING to you. Going after someone’s family is a low blow. I’m sure if someone called your mother/sister/SO a fat whore you’d be less than thrilled. And calling someone ‘it’ because you don’t find them fuckable is dehumanizing and mean-spirited. Interesting that folks who fat-shame never post pictures of their own perfect physiques on the internet. You don’t have to like Jim. You can think his wife isnt attractive & vocalise it in private at home. But don’t give someone who has done NOTHING to you shit because you dislike their spouse. It’s cowardly and a cheap shot.

  • Tin o Beans

    I can’t believe anybody here would shill for this fat cunt.

    You’ve lost me.

  • DizzyGear

    The term fat shaming is the most retarded thing ever. Being fat is a choice. If you don’t want to be fat then eat less and move more. Simple as that.
    If its normal to shame smokers for their unhealthy lifestyle than land whales are fair game too.

    Also the blue haired mountain troll was talking plenty of shit about gamergate supporters on twatter.

  • OldPalpy

    If that were true then his reviews would just be nothing but satire and made up information, I’d say that Yahtzee is like RedLetterMedia in that they both dish out critiques and humor while not using review scores. I sure as hell don’t remember Jim being a posterboy pre-Yahtzee which would have had to be have been before 2007, Jim only took off years later for that when he became popular for feels infested reviews and the farce of acting like he was against anti-consumer BS.

  • Donwel

    “Then again, in his opening he tries to claim that downloading ROMs while owning a real copy is legal, which its not in the US. So there’s no telling how much is (or isn’t) backed by legal advice.”
    Jumbo is from the UK isn’t he? If I remember right it is legal over here to keep a backup copy of shit that you’ve paid for, or at least it used to be.

  • Ruto-hime

    I watched one random video from him a long time ago, and came to the conclusion that I find him unsympathetic. There is nothing else I know about this dude, besides that TB likes him I guess.

    Despite that I agree as well on the notion that this lawsuit was bullshit. I’m glad that it failed.

  • OSad

    He’s moved into and lived in the US for a while now.

  • Donwel

    I see. I would have thought he would have made an effort to learn what the laws are then. Obviously not.

  • John Smith.

    Can I least call him a Nazi and punch him in the face?

  • Wanderer

    Reminder that Jim Sterling is also a literal cuckold who allows his wife to fuck other men.

  • FrankieL

    It’s not about supporting Jim. At all. It’s about what the result of the lawsuit would have meant for media critiquing and coverage as a whole. If you look past your personal opinions of Jim and actually look at the consequences of this case, you’d understand that, even if you don’t like Jim, this was an important win for any media outlet that reviews content.

  • Chris Mendivil

    I salute anyone who stands up for free speach. It’s the greatest defense we have against all kinds of horrible dumb bull crap. Good job, sir.

  • Snorlaxation

    I understand (sort of) why Jim has lots of hate, but everyone should be on his side with this.The ramifications if he’d lost would’ve been horribly damaging for all sorts of communities.

  • G. H.

    If you attempted such a thing your fist, then arm, the whole body would be sucked in and them assimilated into The Sterling. For your on sake just walk away.

  • Neojames82

    Was going to mention this too but you are very correct. And he isn’t ashamed of it either…what a fucking tool. Guess he feels that no woman is ever going want to touch his lip dick so he’ll let his super ugly wife get sticked by other guys.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    Yeah, he is, and yep, keeping a personal backup or conversion is legal in the UK. I’m not sure about downloading though.

    Its not in the US, with a few exceptions. You have to do it yourself, and without breaking any DRM. Even ripping music or movies is technically illegal.

    Even then, people here still believe the misconception that downloading ROMs when you own the original is legal here, and it gets spread around, so I wouldn’t blame his misunderstanding on just being from the UK.

  • UnpluggedBeta

    Wow, fuck lawyers and shit. These kind of lawsuits should invite jailtime.

  • King of Zeroes

    Fuck Jim Sterling, but yeah, this is a good thing. Nobody should be able to sue critics into silence.

  • King of Zeroes

    No.

    No we are not.

  • dayumson

    Digital Homicide is the only thing that could make my have sympathy for Jim Sterling.

  • SiliconNooB

    SJWs not welcome – fuck off back to Tumblr!