Rebellion bans “illegal” Sniper Elite 3 keys on Steam

As you may know Rebellion has banned more than 7000 Steam keys for Sniper Elite 3. The studio said the keys were stolen, distributed to resellers and then sold without payments going to them or Steam.

However, according to distributor CJS CD Keys, the original message suggested that after receiving a refund, impacted gamers should re-buy the game on Steam at full price. CJS CD Keys claims that Rebellion revoked the keys not because they were stolen, but because it wants to maximize profits by forcing people away from discount resellers and make them buy it on Steam.

“While many game developers (and Steam themselves) will legitimately try to encourage users to stay away from re-sellers and buy directly on Steam at the full retail price, what Rebellion has done today is absolutely immoral,” … “They have banned legitimately purchased keys, legally owned by multiple online retailers and gamers worldwide, and covered their tracks by claiming that the keys were ‘stolen’.” – CJS CD Keys

Rebellion also posted a list of “licensed partners”, which is the full list of companies that get their keys directly from them for digital sale and are thus safe to buy from. 

CJS pointed out that Steam key resellers generally don’t buy directly from developers, they buy boxed copies from authorized distributors and then resell the included keys; scan the keys on their behalf, saving the cost of shipping.

Rebellion offered a free copy of the Target Hitler DLC to make up for the hassle. The free “Target Hitler” DLC offer is good until July 4.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I’ve bought several games from G2Play that ended up being already used or “stolen”. Nothing surprises me about CD Key shops, though I’ve gotten some solid deals before. I live in the US but I live FAR below the poverty line and I depend on those kinds of sites. Poor people exist EVERYWHERE!

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  2. Alenonimo

    They’re also suing ironclad because the game Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion uses “Rebellion” in the name.

    Don’t buy anything from them. They’re gone crazy.

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  3. MeisterGlanz

    “CJS pointed out that Steam key resellers generally don’t buy directly from developers,…”

    And that’s the problem right there. Retail keys are not meant to be sold online, what these key shops do is against the distribution agreement the authorized distributors have with the publishers/developers of the software.

    The result of this is that cheap russian keys flood the market and reduce the profits of the developers. Which means in the end it comes to either ban keys and hope people stop buying from these shops or stop making games at all.

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    1. Gnoupi

      That’s exactly the point. There are (much) cheaper retail versions being sold in different countries, like russia, because it wouldn’t sell well at the normal price. For economical reasons, first, adapting to the level of life, but also because as a consequence of the first, a lot of those countries have a much higher piracy rate than others. So selling games cheaper allows developers to get at least some money from those countries.

      Those cd-key sites are cheating on this system, simply. They try to sell worldwide with those prices, and earn from that.

      And people who defend those practices call that it’s unfair for them, because they have to pay more. But it’s protesting against this system which is unfair to people living in countries where the buying power is lower. If you want everyone to pay the same price, it’s going to be the higher one. Because devs have to eat too.

      The lower price is an adaptation, a courtesy to the places with a lower buying power.

      All in all, the point is (most of the time) for everyone to pay the same “amount” of their earnings on games, relative to their buying power.

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