Sniper Elite 3 Steam Keys Bought in Good Faith Revoked as Result of Scam

Rebellion is offering those affected by the issue the game’s Target Hitler DLC for free.

Valve has revoked an unknown number of Steam keys for the recently released Sniper Elite III after developer and publisher Rebellion said they were stolen from one of its retail distributors.

We still don’t know how many buyers were affected, but at the time of writing the Steam discussion thread where Rebellion made the announcement is almost 700 comments long.

Many of the comments are from understandably angry customers, who didn’t know they were buying stolen keys. As Rebellion explained it to one of these angry buyers on its Facebook page, Rebellion asked Steam to revoke a batch of keys that was stolen from one of its distributors of the retail, hard copy version of the game. Rebellion believes these keys were sold to third-party key resellers like Instant Gaming.

However, a post to Instant Gaming’s Facebook page claims that it bought the revoked Sniper Elite III Steam keys legitimately.

“The resellers are NOT the problem,” Rebellion said on Facebook. “Those stores affected are NOT shady…The keys supplied to them were not as they seem - they were unlicensed, and unpaid for. This was reported to Valve and they revoked the keys.”

Rebellion is offering Sniper Elite III’s Target Hitler DLC for free to all those affected by this issue. To be eligible for that, you’ll have to contact Rebellion by Friday, July 4 by following the instructions here.

As for the price of the game itself, Rebellion is encouraging customers to contact the sellers in question and seek a refund immediately.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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emanuelmaiberg

Emanuel Maiberg

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.
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162 comments
LoganDaDestroya
LoganDaDestroya

The affected gamers should direct their refund requests to those they bought the keys from, NOT Rebellion or Steam. 


It's like having something stolen from you, that guy selling it off, you finding it, taking it back, and then the guy who bought it asking YOU for the refund.

rad8045
rad8045

so you guys are not going to bother with a review hey ?

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

It seems to me that it is indeed upto the steam key resellers to provide refund to their customers, not Rebellion. If they acquire stolen steam keys it doesn't say much about how they source their keys.

dannydopamine8
dannydopamine8

Who cares, just pirate it anyways that'll teach em

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

Rebellion is lying. Someone made the mistake of selling the keys to unintended retailers and are now covering their buts by fabricated this story.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Kiaininja Why?  Explain why they would do that.  Because there really is no motive for Rebellion to do it.

blackpuddytat
blackpuddytat

@Kiaininja Because the most paranoid thing that comes to mind is always the most likely scenario. O.o

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Well... sorry for those affected. But now maybe new time they'll get them throught trustworthy sources.

SerOlmy
SerOlmy

I really don't have any sympathy for people buying dirt cheap keys from shady third party vendors.  Half of these "dealers" are in Russia/China and getting keys through various black markets and other illegitimate ways.  That is why they can sell them way below retail price.  If you didn't buy your key from a reputable source and then get it revoked you shouldn't come crying to the internet, because you got what you paid for. 

As to the quote about the resellers not being the problem, I call BS. If the resellers were legitimate they would be getting their keys from the developer/publisher not some back ally where they can be ripped off by hackers.  What kind of legitimate company operates like that?

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@SerOlmy Well to be fair, every place COULD sell their games way below retail, and still make a profit.  Just that the mainstream places don't do this, because they don't have to do so to attract customers.  It's not like these online retailers are paying anything close to even $50 for their CD keys,  Steam included.

Majkic666
Majkic666

@nl_skipper @SerOlmy steam doesn't pay for the keys they just get a share of the selling price.

Beside there is a difference between buying on trusted vendors or buying it from the grey market where the sellers cant be trusted

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Well , should be easy enough to determine which of these discount sites are actually legit, and which are scams.  If they give you a refund, no hassle, they were probably duped themselves.  If they refuse to refund you, or just give you credit for their own store... they're much less trustworthy.


Most of them actually seem to be on the up-and-up though, but I wouldn't buy from them anyway, except GreenManGaming, they seem to have earned a solid reputation.

dani3po
dani3po

Anyone with half a brain buy his keys from sites that are not Steam. Personally, I have used many of these pages (GMG, Kinguin, G2Arena) and have never had any problems.

shadow580
shadow580

@Warlord_Irochi @dani3po And how many customers is that? A couple hundred out of hundreds of thousands? You would be wise to buy your games from sites other than steam if you can. That doesn't mean you should hop onto google and pick the cheapest site from the bunch. Use your brain!


Look at some of the steam comments. One guy paid 17.99 pounds for this game and it's brand new! This guy did not use his brain.

RagingR2
RagingR2

@shadow580 To be fair, even at reputable sellers (including Steam itself) new or recent games are regularly offered for even less than $17,99, so I don't really know how you expect the average person to judge the reliability of a seller, based solely on the selling price of a game anymore.

Also, numerous keys were blocked from reputable sellers too, including high street game shops like 'GAME' in England. Not only do people not have any way of knowing they were buying a stolen game there, it also makes the story about stolen keys a little less credible. So supposedly, GAME bought stolen goods? Sorry, I just don't 'buy' it -- no pun intended.

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

lol V2 was given out for free a few weeks ago xD Just play that one as SE3 seems to be very similar to that :D Also never buy from other sites rather than from steam because we are talking about digital content here so of course it could get revoked.

B_O_L_T
B_O_L_T

Keys from third party sites are perfectly legitimate, sold on by Rebellions distributors intended for sale in Eastern Europe, or Asia and purchased by agents working for key resellers. The developers sell keys cheaper in these markets in order to remain competitive there; software publishers do not set the same price for the entire globe, they would be forced out of certain markets for over pricing their products.The keys are not stolen, duped, purchased with stolen credit card data, or any of the other nonsense espoused by folks. Folks, who do not understand global economics who are determined there just has to be something shady, as they could not possibly get the same saving down at their local Walmart.

Rebellion clearly did not realise how popular third party key resellers are within the international gaming community and are now calling the keys illegitimate as they were sold outside the markets they expected.


MXVIII
MXVIII

@B_O_L_T None of what you are saying makes any sense. How did they get the keys legitimately if, they did not get them from the publisher? If the game is not being sold in those markets, then how did they bring them in to that market legitimately? Did they Buy copies of the game from other more expensive markets? How then can they make a profit, by selling them for cheaper?

BamaGoatt
BamaGoatt

@B_O_L_T the way I read this it sounds to me the keys came in physical copies that got stolen and resold. 

SerOlmy
SerOlmy

@BamaGoatt @B_O_L_T No, they got hacked and someone siphoned off a bunch of keys and resold them to a "legitimate" (lol) third party seller.  I put that in quotes with a hearty belly laugh because any "legitimate" retailer wouldn't buy stolen keys in some internet back ally then turn around and sell them on their storefront.

greaterdivinity
greaterdivinity

@B_O_L_T Keys sold from official third party distributors such as Green Man Gaming, Steam, Amazon etc. are all legit. However, games sold by unofficial CD key resellers are not always legit, as they do not acquire all their keys directly from the developers/publishers, so there's the chance they are acquiring stolen keys.

Rebellion knows full well the difference between an official third party distributor and an unofficial key reseller.

balders74
balders74

I bought mine from a legit seller SimplyCDkeys but they have given me a full refund (plus an extra £4) and apologized.  They have also notified steam of the situation, when I logged into steam I had the choice to delete the pre-install or purchase the game.  I chose the delete option as it had gone from £30 to £40 due to passing release day - I'll wait till next steam sales and get it for £5.   I think a lot of the other legit retailers like Green-man Gaming etc all got stung (but not sure exactly which companies where effected)

Gamer3344
Gamer3344

This is what you get when you want to buy everything for half the price.

greaterdivinity
greaterdivinity

@Gamer3344 No, this is what you get if you buy from shady CD key resellers. This is not an issue if you stick to official digital storefronts like Steam, Amazon, Green Man Gaming etc.

Never had a problem, and saved thousands of dollars on games I've purchased due to the insane sales on PC, so I'm cool with it.

dani3po
dani3po

@Gamer3344 Yes, you get a refund, a free DLC and saving thousands of dollars over your whole life as a gamer.

kave1793
kave1793

I've seen on a few websites saying this was a scam and that this was all orchestrated by Rebellion.

But none of us will probably know whether they were actually stolen or if it was a scam.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@kave1793 How can it be a scam?


Retailer buys keys from developer

Retailer sells keys to reseller

Reseller sells keys to people


The developer has already gotten their money here, why would they care about the resold keys unless they were actually stolen.  How can they gain any money in this scam if the keys weren't actually stolen?  The customers will seek refunds from the reseller, the reseller will seek refunds from the retailer they got the keys from, and the retailer will seek refunds from the developer.


So how does the developer end up ahead in this scam?

pongley
pongley

@Thanatos2k Actually they didn't get their money here.
"...a batch of keys that was stolen from one of its distributors of the retail, hard copy version of the game"

greaterdivinity
greaterdivinity

@kave1793 Those websites being the shady key resellers who are looking to shift the blame to Rebellion when it was in fact their shady business practices that left them in such a situation.

Rebellion has nothing to gain from this. 700 keys sold at a reduced price is nothing in terms of revenue for them, it's not worth the hassle of having to deal with this whole affair.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@pongley @Thanatos2k Yes, a retailer who has hard copies PAYS the developer for them.  Then they sell them to people for a little more and make a profit.


All hard copies you see in a store have already paid the developer.  If you buy it you're just making money for the store.

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

And that's why you shouldn't pay for products that you can't own children.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Bellum_Sacrum Possession of stolen property is a crime even if it's a physical object.  When the cops show up you don't get to keep the goods no matter where you bought em from.

greaterdivinity
greaterdivinity

@Bellum_Sacrum I don't know about you, I own all the games I've purchased digitially.

This is why you don't purchase from shady websites that aren't selling keys legitimately purchased from the developer/publisher, but are instead sometimes purchased from people who steal keys in bulk.

There's nothing wrong with digital, it's fine, brah. Remember, physical media and degrade and break over time, too.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@Bellum_Sacrum 

Pretty sure if you bought a stolen boxed copy the police would confiscate it too.

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

Valve and Rebellion have every right to do this. Yet, I've seen so many people bitch and whine about their key being revoked. It's not their fault, it's the vendors fault for not checking where they keys came from.


Next time think about where you buy instead of going for the cheapest of the cheapest.

If I can get a liver transplant in a hospital or from some shady looking guy in an alley for half the price, I know where I'm going to go ...

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

There seems to be some rumours that GMG had sold deactivated keys, but as far as I can tell there's no evidence for that. GreenManGaming is a well-respected official seller, and I haven't heard of any reports of GMG customers having their Sniper Elite 3 keys revoked. GMG has released no statement on the matter, their forums are clear of any complaints, and a moderator from GMG has posted on the steam forums to verify that GMG has sold no deactivated keys. The rumour that GMG sold some of the deactivated keys is being spread around from sources like CJS with no evidence to back it up.


This whole thing seems pretty fishy and neither side has given any proof of their claims.

tre_zen
tre_zen

@liquidbutter Leads me to question even further the statements from CJS that Rebellion are behind the whole thing, not that I believed them for one second anyway

roler42
roler42

@tre_zen @liquidbutter The fishiest part is that CJS is crying "monopoly" over this and that Rebellion is trying to force people to buy from steam only