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Ooblets' Epic switch under fire, dev accused of anti-semitism

Published: 09:04, 05 August 2019
Updated: 09:24, 05 August 2019
Glumberland
Ooblets

Glumberland, the developer of the whimsical sim game Ooblets, have found themselves under fire after they signed an exclusivity deal with Epic Games, but it turns out that the accusations chucked at them were based on falsified evidence.

First things first though - Ooblets was heading for a Steam and Xbox One release when Epic came in with the offer, but it all exploded once Glumberland posted their lengthy explanation.

To be perfectly frank, I can't say Glumberland's post sounded in any way "hateful", but the truth is in the eye of the beholder here, and many insist it is just that, with a strong dose of condescension.

"This is exactly what Marx warned us about", they said, "Just imagine if other companies got it in their head to offer funding in exchange for exclusives. What'd be next? Game consoles paying for games to be exclusive on their consoles? Netflix paying for exclusive shows? Newspapers paying for exclusive articles? It'd be some sort of late capitalist dystopia".

Ooblets' developer said they know that they can count on their fans "to download a free thing and create a user account", as Epic offered them a minimum guarantee on sales, which is a rare sense of security for a studio their size.

Not long afterwards, however, images surfaced where Ooblets designer Ben Wasser uses the company's Discord server to disparage "entitled gamers" acting like babies.

Ironically, the following sentence was attributed to him: "Honestly, I'm tempted to say that now we have funding secured, gamers would be better off in gas chambers, but that's probably insensitive". It was soon redacted to "Gamers would be better off in gas chambers", which was all the more painful considering Wasser's heritage.

Unfortunately, it turned out that these screenshots were faked, and the same goes for a video that showed Wasser saying the above and deleting the message on their Discord server.

Nevertheless, we're talking about a two-person team here and the backlash was swift and ruthless, even if it was fueled by dishonesty and cheap tricks like quote mining. 

Glumberland Ooblets
Ooblets

Many users specifically went to the game's Twitter feed to criticise the dev's decision without prior knowledge of Ooblets, a portion of them resorting to the old "I'll pirate it" excuse for their own lack of scruples.

Ironically, what Wasser was saying about entitled gamers indeed turned out to be true, because fabricating evidence to expose Epic's anti-consumer practices does not make it pro-consumer, or ethical for that matter. Additionally, it cast a nasty shadow over the people with genuine grievances over the switch. 

Glumberland Ooblets
Ooblets

We understand those, mind you, as it's not nice having a game snatched from underneath your nose, but this has to be said - being a consumer does not only include rights, it also includes responsibilities.

Preordering a game does not get you a seat on the board of directors to decide where the company goes next, nor is it in good faith to superimpose consumer rights over someone's livelihood, especially not while slandering and insulting that person.

Expecting a person who's just been accused by half the world of wanting to "gas" gamers in spite of their Jewish descent to maintain their cool and not tell these people that yes - they're entitled crybabies, pretty much sums the whole thing up. How about we lie to expose Epic's lies? Whatever genius thought that up. 

If we're to talk actual consumer rights - here they are. Had there been enough players to vote with their wallets, Ooblets would've been dead in the water, but there weren't, and that narrative obviously didn't fit someone's emotional truth.

Glumberland Ooblets
Ooblets

You can find Ooblets' exclusivity announcement on the game's official website .

Ooblets, a super-cute life simulation by Glumberland

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A man with an axe running through a forest in SCUM

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