Indeed. There's a big difference between constructive criticism and hurling insults. And there's an even bigger difference between hurling insults and sending death threats. And while I'm not in the industry myself, I have heard of rare occasions where threats of physical violence have been... well, attempted to be carried out. The perpetrator apparently underestimated the strength of the window he tried throwing a brick through.
Like I said, harassing anyone or threatening anyone is ridiculous. Personal attacks are absurd and not necessary. However, if you look at some comments, they simply make the statement that all critique of game developers is some sort of terrible act. It isn't.
The thing is that there is a spectrum, and distinct points on that spectrum. A developer should listen to constructive criticism, in aggregate if not to individual people, and if they disagree with a prevailing opinion, give a respectful response explaining why they disagree. A death threat, on the other hand... is something that really should be actionable. Yeah, maybe it's become part of the culture that we throw them around like candy... but maybe it shouldn't be, and coming down hard on a few particularly particularly bad examples (threatening to own someone's wife and/or murder their kids? Really?) may turn things around.
On a couple of side points that have come up:
First, like there's a distinction between constructive criticism and insults, I think there's also a distinction between disagreeing with criticism and whiteknighting. Partially it comes from observing someone over a period - if someone agrees with some criticism and not others, for instance, they're clearly not a whiteknight, while someone who switches stance every time the company does probably is. More importantly, though, is the level at which they respond. To give a black and white example (of course, few things are), someone who disagrees with a criticism by saying they like the way things are and gives well-thought-out reasons why they like things currently and why they think any proposed suggestions to address the criticism would be harmful is expressing a valid opinion. A response to criticism that boils down to "it's their game and they can do what they like with it"... sorry. That's whiteknighting. It might be true, but people have a right to voice their opinions in a constructive and respectful fashion without being given the "if you don't like it, you can always leave" treatment.
Second, I'm amused by the mentioning of the term 'noob', since while it has a common root word, it doesn't strictly refer to someone who's new to the game. Strictly speaking, the defining feature of being a noob is someone who refuses to learn, however much better players may try to teach them. Now, that in itself is something of a subjective definition, since there have probably been thousands of times where two or more players each think they're the best and the others are noobs that would be better off following their instructions, but most gamers (most) are happy to help a genuinely new player along, even while deriding a technically more experienced player as a noob.
It's also somewhat higher stakes than in most hobbies, since in most hobbies one person's inexperience doesn't impact on the enjoyment and rewards others get in the hobby. To use sewing as an analogy, a 'noob' isn't just someone who's new - it's someone who always managed to mangle the fabric with the sewing machine however many times you've tried to teach them how to avoid doing so, and yet keeps hogging the machine and insisting that everyone else should give them their patterns so they can show off their "awesome" sewing skills.