How legal it is to buy game keys and how developers feel about this?

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KillerJuan77

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#1 KillerJuan77
Member since 2007 • 3823 Posts

I've been noticing that it's becoming very popular to buy game keys online but I've been wondering how legal it is. Does anyone knows how Valve, Microsoft or EA feels about this?

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Baranga

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#2 Baranga
Member since 2005 • 14217 Posts

It's OK to buy them from official resellers, not OK from anyone else.

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KillerJuan77

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#3 KillerJuan77
Member since 2007 • 3823 Posts

It's OK to buy them from official resellers, not OK from anyone else.

Baranga

Official resellers? Does that even exist?

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mike4realz

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#4 mike4realz
Member since 2003 • 2577 Posts

[QUOTE="Baranga"]

It's OK to buy them from official resellers, not OK from anyone else.

KillerJuan77

Official resellers? Does that even exist?

yes direct2drive is one of'em
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simardbrad

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#5 simardbrad
Member since 2004 • 2355 Posts

[QUOTE="Baranga"]

It's OK to buy them from official resellers, not OK from anyone else.

KillerJuan77

Official resellers? Does that even exist?

Steam, D2D, Gamersgate, etc. They purchased licenses from the original developer. They are OFFICIALLY reselling.

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KillerJuan77

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#6 KillerJuan77
Member since 2007 • 3823 Posts

[QUOTE="KillerJuan77"]

[QUOTE="Baranga"]

It's OK to buy them from official resellers, not OK from anyone else.

simardbrad

Official resellers? Does that even exist?

Steam, D2D, Gamersgate, etc. They purchased licenses from the original developer. They are OFFICIALLY reselling.

Oh ok, I was a bit confused about the meaning of that then :S

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True_Sounds

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#7 True_Sounds
Member since 2009 • 2915 Posts

Legal or illegal, not 'how' legal lol. It's not illegal to buy from the cheapest seller. No idea if what THEY are doing is completely legal though.

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millerlight89

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#8 millerlight89
Member since 2007 • 18658 Posts
Something is either legal or illegal :? That being said, it is fine.
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Baranga

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#9 Baranga
Member since 2005 • 14217 Posts

I was actually talking about small-scale operations, not these big corporate stores.

For example, I buy many Origin and Steam keys from such a local reseller. A gaming site that maintains Valve's local servers became an authorized reseller of Counter-Strike keys. Then they signed deals with NCsoft, Funcom and others, selling keys, virtual cash and other crap like that for their MMOs. And recently they hit the jackpot and signed with EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Warner and others. They sell cheap Steam and Origin keys - I bought FEAR 3 for 30 dollars at launch and placed a Deus Ex preorder for 25.

The Steam TOS actually mentions authorized resellers.

I don't think it's OK (morally) to buy keys intended for Somalia or whatever. Not only are they cheaper, but they're also bought in bulk by unauthorized resellers. They actually purchase containers of games, open them and introduce the keys in a database. It's a legally murky area.

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NerubianWeaver

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#10 NerubianWeaver
Member since 2010 • 2046 Posts
Is Game Key District legit?
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True_Sounds

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#11 True_Sounds
Member since 2009 • 2915 Posts

Just like it's not morally ok to outsource US developer support jobs to india? It's ridiculous to think like this lol, the world doesnt run on ideals

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MyopicCanadian

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#12 MyopicCanadian
Member since 2004 • 8345 Posts
Publishers hate it because they don't want us to know how much cheaper they sell these games for in certain countries. It's actually against Steam's TOS to buy only a key and not the entire game, so I've heard of them deactivating games that people have bought keys online for. It seems like a legally murky area. I don't see how it's technically ILLEGAL, but I bet the publishers would make it illegal if they could.
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Makari

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#13 Makari
Member since 2003 • 15250 Posts
[QUOTE="MyopicCanadian"]Publishers hate it because they don't want us to know how much cheaper they sell these games for in certain countries. It's actually against Steam's TOS to buy only a key and not the entire game, so I've heard of them deactivating games that people have bought keys online for. It seems like a legally murky area. I don't see how it's technically ILLEGAL, but I bet the publishers would make it illegal if they could.

it was likely Valve - they deactivated a bunch of Steam keys when some eastern european sites were doing that, then recanted after it pissed a bunch of people off. they're perfectly in their rights to say 'the shop that sold this to you screwed you, talk to them about a refund,' but i think everybody involved knows that the shops would give the customers the finger, and the customers wouldn't care whose fault it technically is - they'd just get mad at Valve. it's 'illegal' in the sense that the third-party resellers are violating Valve's/Blizzard's/etc.'s terms and would likely lose in court if it ever managed to get there, but that's basically impossible in that there are innumerable small shops that do it and that most of them are overseas, making it massively not worth anybody's time to try pursuing it.
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Baranga

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#14 Baranga
Member since 2005 • 14217 Posts

Just like it's not morally ok to outsource US developer support jobs to india? It's ridiculous to think like this lol, the world doesnt run on ideals

True_Sounds

Actually, it's like buying from a shady street merchant. There's a difference between buying a key from an authorised distributor and buying one acquired in bulk straight from an Asian ship. It's even better when it turns out the game is localised or incompatible with other versions, as many people travelling in the CIS and indulging in 5 dollars Steam games have discovered.

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True_Sounds

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#15 True_Sounds
Member since 2009 • 2915 Posts

[QUOTE="True_Sounds"]

Just like it's not morally ok to outsource US developer support jobs to india? It's ridiculous to think like this lol, the world doesnt run on ideals

Baranga

Actually, it's like buying from a shady street merchant. There's a difference between buying a key from an authorised distributor and buying one acquired in bulk straight from an Asian ship. It's even better when it turns out the game is localised or incompatible with other versions, as many people travelling in the CIS and indulging in 5 dollars Steam games have discovered.

Saying it's risky is a different story, and wasn't what you were originally implying. Yes there is some risk involved.

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ShimmerMan

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#16 ShimmerMan
Member since 2008 • 4618 Posts

The small online stores are selling Legal keyys, so I don't see why it would be illegal. If they got those keys in illegal ways then yes it would be. But from what I know these keys are scanned from retail boxes.

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Elann2008

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#17 Elann2008
Member since 2007 • 33028 Posts

The small online stores are selling Legal keyys, so I don't see why it would be illegal. If they got those keys in illegal ways then yes it would be. But from what I know these keys are scanned from retail boxes.

ShimmerMan

This. They even send you a scanned photo of each retail box with the cd-key on it. These games are probably purchased and sold in another country besides the U.S. but that's still legal. They do sell games in other countries, you guys know that right? And those games need to be sold as well.

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rzepak

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#18 rzepak
Member since 2005 • 5758 Posts

As long as the key is for your region they have no reason to care.

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Remmib

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#19 Remmib
Member since 2010 • 2250 Posts

[QUOTE="ShimmerMan"]

The small online stores are selling Legal keyys, so I don't see why it would be illegal. If they got those keys in illegal ways then yes it would be. But from what I know these keys are scanned from retail boxes.

Elann2008

This. They even send you a scanned photo of each retail box with the cd-key on it. These games are probably purchased and sold in another country besides the U.S. but that's still legal. They do sell games in other countries, you guys know that right? And those games need to be sold as well.

Which site sends you the retail box & cd-key pic? Need to know for future use.

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True_Sounds

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#20 True_Sounds
Member since 2009 • 2915 Posts

As long as the key is for your region they have no reason to care.

rzepak

What pc games are region specific? I've never heard of this before. That sounds like very intrusive drm hehe

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DanielDust

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#21 DanielDust
Member since 2007 • 15402 Posts

[QUOTE="rzepak"]

As long as the key is for your region they have no reason to care.

True_Sounds

What pc games are region specific? I've never heard of this before. That sounds like very intrusive drm hehe

All games are like that. It's about localised copies, Steam, Origin, other places that can register your key can easily find out the key is not from your region, you wouldn't buy a Chinese game and act like it's from America, would you :P?

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Zubinen

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#22 Zubinen
Member since 2011 • 2555 Posts

Ubisoft, Warner and others. They sell cheap Steam and Origin keys - I bought FEAR 3 for 30 dollars at launch and placed a Deus Ex preorder for 25.

The Steam TOS actually mentions authorized resellers.

I don't think it's OK (morally) to buy keys intended for Somalia or whatever. Not only are they cheaper, but they're also bought in bulk by unauthorized resellers. They actually purchase containers of games, open them and introduce the keys in a database. It's a legally murky area.

Baranga
Wait a minute... What site are you talking about?
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rzepak

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#23 rzepak
Member since 2005 • 5758 Posts

[QUOTE="True_Sounds"]

[QUOTE="rzepak"]

As long as the key is for your region they have no reason to care.

DanielDust

What pc games are region specific? I've never heard of this before. That sounds like very intrusive drm hehe

All games are like that. It's about localised copies, Steam, Origin, other places that can register your key can easily find out the key is not from your region, you wouldn't buy a Chinese game and act like it's from America, would you :P?

Yea basically. For example Poland is the same region as Russia acoarding to Steam so I can buy russian keys. Hell a few times I bought a game at a normal store and when activating it said its the RU (russian) version.

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KalDurenik

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#24 KalDurenik
Member since 2004 • 3768 Posts
All i know is that some of the "cd-key" only websites are "legit" and not a scam or something. No i have no idea what websites.
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Bros89

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#25 Bros89
Member since 2004 • 624 Posts

I don't think steam really cares, a friend of mine bought a cheap version of Fallout: New Vegas.
Then when the steam deals were up he wanted to buy the cheap DLC, only to find out he couldn't (because his game was a russian version).
He send an e-mail to valve explaining the sh*t and valve just changed his game to a european version so he could buy the DLC.

I only buy cheap Cd-keys and steam deals.

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True_Sounds

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#26 True_Sounds
Member since 2009 • 2915 Posts

[QUOTE="True_Sounds"]

[QUOTE="rzepak"]

As long as the key is for your region they have no reason to care.

DanielDust

What pc games are region specific? I've never heard of this before. That sounds like very intrusive drm hehe

All games are like that. It's about localised copies, Steam, Origin, other places that can register your key can easily find out the key is not from your region, you wouldn't buy a Chinese game and act like it's from America, would you :P?

So if a Russian signs into my steam account, he still has to buy games in canadian dollars? Weird.