Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - Mobile - PDA - RSS Headlines  RSS Headlines   Twitter  Twitter
Customize
User Settings
Styles:
LAN Parties
Upcoming one-time events:

Regularly scheduled events

Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys

Steam users who purchased keys for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 through what turn out to be grey market sources have found themselves banned from playing the game. Apparently users have been able to buy discounted keys from sources that buy them in bulk for cyber cafes, foreign sales, and similar setups, only to find this is a no-no. A post to the Steam Users' Forums by Valve's BurtonJ says: "If you purchased just a cd key for the game then you purchased from an illegitimate seller and the game has been revoked." In a later post he clarifies: "I am sorry but you all did not purchase from a legitimate retailer. It is recommended that you contact the seller to request a refund. In the future, you should only buy unopened retail boxed copies from legitimate retailers or purchase via legitimate digital download services such as Steam and Direct2Drive." We saw a note about this yesterday with no working links to evidence of this, but found the sources today courtesy of a post on Voodoo Extreme.

View
122 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ] Older >

122. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 27, 2009, 17:10 Nick W
 
If I lose my car keys, I don't have to buy a new car. I just get new keys. Even if I'm leasing the car, I can still do this. Why should software be any different?

Because you can't make infinite copies of your car for the price of electricity?
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
121. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 25, 2009, 08:55 Verno
 
I think a lot of you just have antagonistic feelings toward the "evil corporate publishers" and don't see the big picture. I have been told I take an anti-consumer stance for calling things like I see them, which is pretty telling. No, the consumer is not always right, in this case they are cheap-asses with no care for the industry.

Consumers aren't supposed to see the big picture. They are supposed to buy products. You don't get this because you ARE anti-consumer. People seeking the best price for their goods is nothing new to the business world, hell not even to gaming. The only reason they can get away with this is because they are both the vendor and manufacturer of the "good" in question.

Not going to argue it anymore, believe what you will. As the whole PC gaming industry falls around us and morphs into Peggls and WoW and as the consoles gear more and more towards the everyman you guys support the cheap-ass non-contributers out there and that just baffles me.

What an immature and spiteful attitude. If the market will only support $20 games then that doesn't make "everyone a cheapass", it means that is what the market will bear. If the whole things turns into "Peggls and WoW" then that is what the majority of the market wanted.

But again, we're talking about a situation with no limit on sales and no shipping / transportation costs. If 10 people bought their keys this way, then Valve would probably not bother, but where's the cutoff? Is it 1,000 people doing it this way? 100,000? There's a point at which the money they lose on each sale by having people purchase the heavily discounted Asian version over the US version outweighs the desire to not blame consumers

All of which I addressed in my earlier post if you bothered to read it instead of rushing to call it "garbage". There are easy protection methods Valve can use in this example. The fact remains Valve makes a fair bit of money from people "importing" games that otherwise wouldn't purchase the title at all. I know firsthand I've gifted copies of US games to some friends in the AU that would otherwise never buy a copy because the game is 2-3x as expensive.

Is Valve also going to disable gifting? After all people are skirting regional pricing by doing so. Somehow I doubt it.
 
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Everquest Next Alpha, Diablo 3, Bravely Default
Watching: Evidence, Longmire, Chained
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
120. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 22:52 Tumbler
 
Verno also made a good point, if this is such an issue, why didn't they region lock the CD keys to begin with? Why allow a US steam account to register an asian market copy?

I'd be curious to know more about this issue because it seems like a no brainer. With a digital product like this if you're going to enforce a region locking it's obvious you'd need to enforce it by checking where codes are being used...

It's a bit like accidentally allowing non legit codes to play online...why would you ever not check those codes? (refering to the first MW game...they were all upset because when they checked the codes for people online they discovered half were not legit...well if they were not legit why were they able to play online!?

Seems like the appropriate solution in this case as to stop selling to rellers doing this, say "my mistake, I won't do that again." and move on. In the end you were paid for the codes so why do you have to be so petty in all this?
 
99gamers.com-Game trading site, PC digital trading!
Kickstarter "Game Developer"!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
119. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 22:09 everyone
 
Yeah, but once you have to pay customs and shipping, it's unlikely that you can make enough of a profit while at the same time undercutting the US price. And again, if it's a few scattered people trying to import a game that's only sold in Japan, then I'll agree with you that I don't see a problem at all

Gogamer is obviously able to sell games cheaper by importing them. Their import copies are almost always marked less than the US version.
Regardless though, all the costs you mention are irrelevant from the game publishers point of view. All of those costs are incurred by the importer, in this case gogamer. The game publisher is still only making the wholesale amount of the game in the foreign market.
So, would you support a publisher claiming import copies sold by gogamer are illegitimate?

That's been my whole point all along - the party that is actually (and legally) in the wrong is the reseller, who very likely violated an agreement to not resell those keys in the US (whether explicitly, or as part of some giant EULA that of course probably hasn't been tested in court). Customers who bought them (while I do personally think they got what they deserved) should certainly demand either a refund or a new key that's actually legitimate in the US from that reseller, and if the reseller loses money on the whole deal, that's too bad for them.

I don't think there would be any debate if they would have gone after their resellers for violating a resale agreement. The problem is that they instead went after end-users.
Verno also made a good point, if this is such an issue, why didn't they region lock the CD keys to begin with? Why allow a US steam account to register an asian market copy?

 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
118. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:43 Gdiguy
 
Gogamer sells import copies of many titles. Which is why the comparison was made in the first place.

Yeah, but once you have to pay customs and shipping, it's unlikely that you can make enough of a profit while at the same time undercutting the US price. And again, if it's a few scattered people trying to import a game that's only sold in Japan, then I'll agree with you that I don't see a problem at all

The other issue that hasn't been addressed at all. How do you justify Activision being paid for these CD keys and then disabling them afterwards. Do you think it is fair for them to keep that money without delivering anything in return?

I don't see what Activision did wrong here; they sold, let's say, 100 keys to a cybercafe in China for a reduced rate, with the understanding that those keys would be used in those cybercafes and not resold to US customers. If the company then resold them to US customers, Activision has no idea that they were resold improperly until 99 people from the US register their copy of the game. Furthermore, what do you want them to return - the pro-rated percent of the sale that Activision actually got (minus markup, taxes, distributor cuts, etc etc)? The entire sale, so that they actually lose money?

That's been my whole point all along - the party that is actually (and legally) in the wrong is the reseller, who very likely violated an agreement to not resell those keys in the US (whether explicitly, or as part of some giant EULA that of course probably hasn't been tested in court). Customers who bought them (while I do personally think they got what they deserved) should certainly demand either a refund or a new key that's actually legitimate in the US from that reseller, and if the reseller loses money on the whole deal, that's too bad for them.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
117. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:19 everyone
 
The problem is, consumers stopped supporting it before this nonsense.

I know that on the internet it's the popular and cool opinion to say that piracy is all just people trying out games before they go out and buy the ones they want, but we've all heard the story about how Tribes had more people playing multiplayer at once than had actually bought the game, and having been in college fairly recently, I tend to believe that's more the norm than the outlier.

That's from the company side; from the consumer side, PC gaming is more frustrating and more expensive, which doesn't seem worth it to a lot of people (especially now that people are buying themselves giant HDTVs for their living room)

Which brings it full circle - if you want to know why companies don't give a shit about PC gaming anymore, it's because if customers don't pirate the game outright, they go to extreme lengths (which I would consider buying foreign versions of the game) to pay as absolutely little as possible for it. Why would you want to devote yourself to a market like that?

The piracy debate at this point is nothing but a red herring. Pirating exist, it isn't going to stop. End of story. If publishers truly want to succeed in the PC gaming market, they are going to have to stop focusing on mythical lost sales. And start focusing on the people that do buy their product. Instead they seem insistent to drive away as many customers as possible at almost every turn.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
116. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:17 everyone
 
I think a lot of you just have antagonistic feelings toward the "evil corporate publishers" and don't see the big picture. I have been told I take an anti-consumer stance for calling things like I see them, which is pretty telling. No, the consumer is not always right, in this case they are cheap-asses with no care for the industry.

Not going to argue it anymore, believe what you will. As the whole PC gaming industry falls around us and morphs into Peggls and WoW and as the consoles gear more and more towards the everyman you guys support the cheap-ass non-contributers out there and that just baffles me.

While some people may feel that way. I think more people, including myself. Would like to see developers and publishers succeed, but not at the expense of consumers. If they can't make it with fair business practices, than I guess they may as well leave the PC gaming market. Some other company will be happy to take their place.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
115. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:03 everyone
 
First of all, your claim that people would be defending them if they banned a company selling US keys cheap is garbage, and it adds nothing to the conversation to make baseless bullshit insults at people.

Gogamer sells import copies of many titles. Which is why the comparison was made in the first place.

Further, how far does that extend? If it's a little stand in the mall selling knock-off SNES's with game roms, yeah, Nintendo is going to shut them down but not go after people that purchased them. But again, we're talking about a situation with no limit on sales and no shipping / transportation costs. If 10 people bought their keys this way, then Valve would probably not bother, but where's the cutoff? Is it 1,000 people doing it this way? 100,000? There's a point at which the money they lose on each sale by having people purchase the heavily discounted Asian version over the US version outweighs the desire to not blame consumers.

Strange how you failed to make the much more logical comparison of Nintendo trying to shut down a stand at the mall selling imported games.

It's quite an assumption to make when you claim they are losing money when someone buys an import copy. There is no reason to believe that those people who are apparently so cheap as to buy a "grey market" cd key, would ever pay for a full price copy. Personally, I'll often only buy certain games at a reduced price. I doubt I'm unique in this regard.
Therefore, it isn't that far of a stretch to imagine limiting import sales would cause a publisher to make less rather than more money.

The other issue that hasn't been addressed at all. How do you justify Activision being paid for these CD keys and then disabling them afterwards. Do you think it is fair for them to keep that money without delivering anything in return?

This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 21:24.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
114. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 20:25 StingingVelvet
 
I think a lot of you just have antagonistic feelings toward the "evil corporate publishers" and don't see the big picture. I have been told I take an anti-consumer stance for calling things like I see them, which is pretty telling. No, the consumer is not always right, in this case they are cheap-asses with no care for the industry.

Not going to argue it anymore, believe what you will. As the whole PC gaming industry falls around us and morphs into Peggls and WoW and as the consoles gear more and more towards the everyman you guys support the cheap-ass non-contributers out there and that just baffles me.
 
Avatar 54622
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
113. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 17:45 sfhand
 
Here we go again. Somehow it's the consumer's fault that marketing types decided to create regional market prices in these days of a global economy. See, as a consumer you're supposed to understand that the schmoes over there get your job because they'll work cheaper than you, it's the global economy at work. But when you, as a consumer, try to take advantage of the fact that it's a global economy they create "regional markets" to keep you paying higher prices in the global economy.

Who would devote themselves to a market like that? A better question is who would treat their customers like that?

This isn't about piracy, it's about the price paying customers pay. The people who pirate will do so regardless of pricing schemes.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
112. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 15:53 Gdiguy
 

Doesn't look good at this point...I wonder how much farther things need to go before consumers stop supporting this nonsense.

The problem is, consumers stopped supporting it before this nonsense.

I know that on the internet it's the popular and cool opinion to say that piracy is all just people trying out games before they go out and buy the ones they want, but we've all heard the story about how Tribes had more people playing multiplayer at once than had actually bought the game, and having been in college fairly recently, I tend to believe that's more the norm than the outlier.

That's from the company side; from the consumer side, PC gaming is more frustrating and more expensive, which doesn't seem worth it to a lot of people (especially now that people are buying themselves giant HDTVs for their living room)

Which brings it full circle - if you want to know why companies don't give a shit about PC gaming anymore, it's because if customers don't pirate the game outright, they go to extreme lengths (which I would consider buying foreign versions of the game) to pay as absolutely little as possible for it. Why would you want to devote yourself to a market like that?
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
111. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 15:43 Gdiguy
 
You do not blame or punish the consumer for resale, you punish the resellers. It's like this in every major market in the world. Banning GoGamer isn't completely different by the way, you just have no response to it. If Steam decided that GoGamer wasn't allowed anymore, I'm sure we'd see you here finding a way to defend that decision too. The bottom line is that you are anti-consumer, every post in this thread by you is about blaming the consumer and forcing the consumer to assume responsibility. Where is the responsibility on Valve's part for allowing keys to be used outside of their supposedly intended regions? Which coincidentally they have no protection in place to protect these supposed restrictions?

First of all, your claim that people would be defending them if they banned a company selling US keys cheap is garbage, and it adds nothing to the conversation to make baseless bullshit insults at people.

Further, how far does that extend? If it's a little stand in the mall selling knock-off SNES's with game roms, yeah, Nintendo is going to shut them down but not go after people that purchased them. But again, we're talking about a situation with no limit on sales and no shipping / transportation costs. If 10 people bought their keys this way, then Valve would probably not bother, but where's the cutoff? Is it 1,000 people doing it this way? 100,000? There's a point at which the money they lose on each sale by having people purchase the heavily discounted Asian version over the US version outweighs the desire to not blame consumers.

The other part to that, it used to be that importing games was naturally limited by language barriers - there's a limited number of people that are going to want to play a Chinese language version of a game in the US, regardless what price it's sold for. If it's the exact same product, there's no reason not to buy it from an international source
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
110. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 14:55 Tumbler
 
This is what I've seen happen so far:

1. Disc Checks - This was ok in my book.
2. CD Keys - a specific code that made it possible to distinguish legit from fake software. Ok in my book.
3. Intrusive Disc check/drm - Programs started trying to dig into the OS so that the disk check software couldn't be tricked into thinking a legit disk was in the drive.
4. Online Activation - HL2 was the first major title to ship a product that was unplayable out of the box. Valve's/Steam's ability to activate the game as much as you wanted while it was tied to a specific account was acceptable but the loss of resale right without valve's permission was a pretty big change. Not ok. Around this time I recall reading comments from well known developers that "pc gaming was dead as we know it" - people scoffed, alarmism they said.
5. Online Activation limits - Other companies wanting to also ship software that is worthless without a code that unlocks it decided that it since they weren't going to establish accounts to permanently assign keys to that there would need to be limits on installs because people would just sell the game after they activated it and someone else could activate it and so on. This was definitely not ok.
6. Activation codes being that were legally purchased get revoked. Codes should be legit but because the company has control over the continued use of the codes they choose to revoke certain codes. (foreign sales, discount dealers competing with major retail partners)

7....?

Doesn't look good at this point...I wonder how much farther things need to go before consumers stop supporting this nonsense. It's not hard to understand why pc gaming is the isle that has almost no security, no locked boxes, little to no shelf space in boutique outfits like eb games, etc, and in the few stores that do carry a decent pc game selection it's overwhelmingly older discounted titles with a handful of newer titles that cost $50. Yet the new titles coming to a more consumer friendly platform like the consoles are overloaded with new titles, they can't afford to carry more than a handful of older games by comparison.

I know it's long been the assumption that PC games are more consumer friendly based on the fact that you can mod them, you have more control options, more graphical options and more control on the platform but it's plain as day that the value of this product is being systematically destroyed. It could be intentional to force people onto consoles where software earns more money, but it's probably a sign that this industry is turning on itself because there are not enough new customers coming into the pool.

And that is the real problem. You're either growing or you're dieing...and pc gaming isn't growing...

So how do you make people want to buy PC's and play games on them?
 
99gamers.com-Game trading site, PC digital trading!
Kickstarter "Game Developer"!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
109. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 10:41 everyone
 
I'll just throw out that I think game publishers/developers consistent anti-consumer practices could eventually backfire. Whenever any new innovation comes about in the gaming industry, such as digital distribution or DLC, it has been used 90% of the time to provide the consumer less value for their money instead of more. Gee, please buy the Sims 3 for $50.00 and then buy $300.00 of virtual items that should have been included in the original game.

The music industry did the same thing for years, even going so far as to price fix CDs. In large part because of this behavior, they now have absolutely no customer loyalty. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that no customer loyalty + easily pirated material = falling revenue.

As evidenced by this thread, it hasn't gotten that far yet for the gaming industry. Their still seems to be plenty of people that find their practices acceptable. But eventually that may change the more these companies take their paying customers for granted.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
108. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 09:28 Verno
 
It's pretty simple, but you refuse to see it. Banning gogamer? It's completely different, gogamer is not violating the license agreement and selling unauthorized software people! These stores do not have the right to sell these keys to these markets but they do it anyway, it is pretty clear cut. The people who use these shops know this, but they do it anyway to save a few bucks, so I feel no pity for them.

You do not blame or punish the consumer for resale, you punish the resellers. It's like this in every major market in the world. Banning GoGamer isn't completely different by the way, you just have no response to it. If Steam decided that GoGamer wasn't allowed anymore, I'm sure we'd see you here finding a way to defend that decision too. The bottom line is that you are anti-consumer, every post in this thread by you is about blaming the consumer and forcing the consumer to assume responsibility. Where is the responsibility on Valve's part for allowing keys to be used outside of their supposedly intended regions? Which coincidentally they have no protection in place to protect these supposed restrictions?

This isn't like some guy purchasing speakers from dude in the white back in a parking lot somewhere. It's quite easy for people to obtain very legitimate websites and buying cheap goods in the gaming market is nothing new thanks to Ebay. I notice you lacked an answer on ebay too by the way. A generic clause in a EULA or ToS doesn't make this defensible. Pretty much every user agreement has a clause of the company being able to do what the fuck ever they want, it doesn't mean it will stand up in court.
 
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Everquest Next Alpha, Diablo 3, Bravely Default
Watching: Evidence, Longmire, Chained
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
107. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 01:14 sfhand
 
Kosumo, I read the links, I reference Valve because they are the ones who run steam and they have done this before after the Orange Box release.

I'll never buy another premium priced product from anyone, not just Valve, who thinks I should pay more for a game because of where I live.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
106. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 00:32 everyone
 
They could have simple region restrictions, they could have reselling restrictions, they could have selling only the key restrictions, they could have endless other things. I know for a fact they do not want this, they do not want regional pricing to be circumbvented, so it makes complete sense they would put that in their seller agreements.

More to the point it is in the Steam ToS that you cannot buy keys from resellers, so that covers the end-user part of it.

Again though, if they simply bought off the shelf copies there would be no kind of agreement. Unless in asia they make you sign something when you buy software, which seems improbable.

I'm sure it says in the steam TOS that they can disable your software or ban you for any reason they want. Another reason why I refuse to give them control over my software library.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
105. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 00:21 StingingVelvet
 
I doubt any license agreements were broken. If they were, Activision would be suing the original purchaser of these licenses and not going after the end-users.
Most likely, they have no cause against the original purchasers, so they are falling back on some clause in the steam TOS to disable the copies.

As I pointed out earlier, what kind of restrictions could be in place if these resellers simply bought 500 boxed copies in asia and resold them?

They could have simple region restrictions, they could have reselling restrictions, they could have selling only the key restrictions, they could have endless other things. I know for a fact they do not want this, they do not want regional pricing to be circumbvented, so it makes complete sense they would put that in their seller agreements.

More to the point it is in the Steam ToS that you cannot buy keys from resellers, so that covers the end-user part of it.
 
Avatar 54622
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
104. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 00:03 everyone
 
It's pretty simple, but you refuse to see it. Banning gogamer? It's completely different, gogamer is not violating the license agreement and selling unauthorized software people! These stores do not have the right to sell these keys to these markets but they do it anyway, it is pretty clear cut. The people who use these shops know this, but they do it anyway to save a few bucks, so I feel no pity for them.

I doubt any license agreements were broken. If they were, Activision would be suing the original purchaser of these licenses and not going after the end-users.
Most likely, they have no cause against the original purchasers, so they are falling back on some clause in the steam TOS to disable the copies.

As I pointed out earlier, what kind of restrictions could be in place if these resellers simply bought 500 boxed copies in asia and resold them?
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
103. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 23, 2009, 23:12 StingingVelvet
 
The anti-publisher and pro-consumer rants in this thread just reek of anti-capitalist and bitter rage. There is no logic, only anger and a perceived wronging of the little guy when no such things exists.

It's pretty simple, but you refuse to see it. Banning gogamer? It's completely different, gogamer is not violating the license agreement and selling unauthorized software people! These stores do not have the right to sell these keys to these markets but they do it anyway, it is pretty clear cut. The people who use these shops know this, but they do it anyway to save a few bucks, so I feel no pity for them.

I mean someone down there is actually arguing that these games should cost the same in China and the US, despite the massive income differences... really? How do you justify that to yourself?

Whatever, keep living the dream guys... keep raging at THE MAN, he is surely keeping you down.
 
Avatar 54622
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
122 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ] Older >


footer

.. .. ..

Blue's News logo