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Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned

A Steam Community discussion talks of how some companies have been selling "unlicensed or stolen" Sniper Elite 3 Steam keys, saying these keys have been banned, and instructing anyone impacted by this to contact their vendor for a new key (thanks nin). They also outline how preorder customers with banned keys can still get their Target Hitler bonus DLC by contacting them once they have their key situation straightened out. There are also a couple of posts from a key reseller accusing Rebellion of scamming users, saying the keys were revoked so that customers would have to pay twice. Here's Rebellion's explanation of the situation:

To clarify, one of our PC retail distributors informed us that some of their allotted Steam keys were stolen. We believe these keys were then resold to multiple companies, with no payments going to either Valve or the retail distributor.

Steam were immediately informed and have now revoked that set of keys.

As a developer Rebellion are happy for you to purchase the game anywhere you see fit and support price competition in the PC market - we have in no way targeted any specific vendors (who may have also thought these keys were legitimate), just this one set of keys.

All we can suggest if you have been affected is to please contact your vendor and first ask for a replacement key, and then contact us for the free pre-order DLC if you are successful.

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47 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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47. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 18:06 .Drifter
 
There's one thing I've been wondering about the whole time, based on this comment:

To clarify, one of our PC retail distributors informed us that some of their allotted Steam keys were stolen. We believe these keys were then resold to multiple companies, with no payments going to either Valve or the retail distributor.

I'd like a little clarification on that one. Were the same keys sold to multiple other companies? Or were they broken into groups, and each group sold to a different company? I would think that if someone stole the keys, and sold them to multiple companies, they would sell them ALL to each company since that would net them the greatest monetary gain. The only thing is, if this had happened, and each steam key can only be used once, wouldn't there have been posts from people stating they got a key that was already redeemed? I don't remember seeing any, although I could have missed them.
Seeing as I have seen no post of that kind, I would assume the thieves went the second route: stole the keys, bundled them into groups, and then sold the groups to different companies. This would net them less money, which seems odd for a thief to do unless they were trying to keep from getting caught for as long as possible.
In either case, it's unfortunate it happened.
 
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46. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 13:04 Darkmancer
 
I forgot to include Rebellion are a bunch of scummy twa.. for the idiotic lawsuit, but in this instance they were right.  
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45. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 11:37 Hump
 
This shit developer is still around?  
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----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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44. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 11:11 Ozmodan
 
Darkmancer wrote on Jun 29, 2014, 09:20:
A smackhead nicks your phone and sells it to a phone shop for £20/$. Do you think that apple should block the phone even though the phone shop didn't know it was stolen despite being very cheap?

It wasn't the final distributors that the keys were stolen from. The keys were stolen from either Rebellion/Publisher or an entirely different distributor and it's they who still actually own the keys and can block them. It's Rebellions duty to discourage crime although it will piss people of, by blocking the keys it'll (hopefully) make the second set of distributors more careful where they trawl for keys next time.

Ah a voice of sanity finally. The conspiracy theories were getting old.
 
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43. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 09:20 Darkmancer
 
A smackhead nicks your phone and sells it to a phone shop for £20/$. Do you think that apple should block the phone even though the phone shop didn't know it was stolen despite being very cheap?

It wasn't the final distributors that the keys were stolen from. The keys were stolen from either Rebellion/Publisher or an entirely different distributor and it's they who still actually own the keys and can block them. It's Rebellions duty to discourage crime although it will piss people of, by blocking the keys it'll (hopefully) make the second set of distributors more careful where they trawl for keys next time.
 
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42. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 05:54 qsto
 
I've only had my key revoked once on Steam. It was MW2 key purchased via G2Play. Supposedly a stolen batch. They replaced my key in couple of days and I've had no problems with them or Kinguin after that. Purchased dozens of keys since then, always at least half the price of Steam. I guess stuff like this happens every now and then. Can't really comment on Rebellion or their game since I've no interest in this. Played the coop Nazi Zombie thing and it was fun while it lasted, but nothing special.  
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41. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 05:02 jdreyer
 
*imagines Helf coming home on a Saturday night after a long night of bouncing fools, and the first thing he does is log in to read Blue's News and get caught up!*

@ Helf: In CJS's defense, they said there were reports of some GMG keys being defective, not all.

It's a good point about Sniper 2, but if sales on that had slowed to a trickle anyway (it had been on deep discount several times in the past year), giving it away free is a great marketing stunt, so not entirely altruistic since the product had pretty much reached the end of its long tail.

Here's the thing, regardless of the motivation of this banning (scam vs. actually stolen):

1. By banning the keys you hurt retailers (reports are there were 60) that had purchased the keys. It's unlikely that all 60 knew they were buying stolen keys, so you are hurting at least some retailers who bought them in good conscience.

2. You are hurting players, all of whom paid cash instead of pirating your game, and all of whom bought in good conscience never suspecting that their key had been stolen. Even more than the retailers, Rebellion is really fucking itself in this regard.

3. What Rebellion is doing could be entirely illegal. Regardless of whether the keys are stolen or not, it's Rebellion's place to retrieve them. That is a job for law enforcement, assuming that it can be in fact proven that they're stolen. And in the EU, once sold, Rebellion no longer has any ownership of the keys, so canceling them is destruction of property. They could be sued or have criminal charges pressed.

Bottom line: this is a job for law enforcement, not for Rebellion to be a vigilante. They're hurting innocent people.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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40. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 04:59 Quinn
 
"Your key has been revoked because it was stolen. Buy it at a more steep price at the source, damnit!" Just sounds awfully shady to me. And again, pointing to my last comment, #2 wasn't the case at all! Unless you somehow have a source that says the keys were stolen mere seconds before the game's release, there really isn't a good explanation why the "stolen" keys weren't just blocked instead of revoked after activation.  
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"Moo," she said.
And I trembled.
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39. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 03:02 The Half Elf
 
Here's what bothers me. The link to the CJ whatever site saying that GMG keys were all revoked when they weren't.
Secondly if Rebellion was all about greed, why would they give away their latest game for free, knowing that the Steam Summer Sale was about to start?
Thirdly, does Rebellion even deal with the keys? Isn't that something a publisher would deal with?

And lastly, with all the fucking hacks going on (especially after the last Heartbleed one) is it really far fetched that a set of digital keys were stolen from a server/website/company, and turned around and sold them on the 3rd party shady company?

What Rebellion needs to do is say 'ok we had X amount of keys for X website, but were stolen/lost/whatever, and are showing up on X, Y and Z websites. Cause that way you know that 'X website isn't secure', and X Y Z are shady and shouldn't be used either.
 
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"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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38. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 29, 2014, 00:03 jdreyer
 
Krovven wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 21:12:
While Rebellion has every right to shut down unauthorized resellers from selling keys that were not purchased from Rebellion/Steam, it would have been far better PR just to accept the loss and tighten up their distribution of keys going forward.

CJS seems to think they are entitled to sell CD keys they did not obtain from the source. Newsflash, you are not. Works the same in retail. Companies don't get to go buy goods on the black market and sell them at retail when they do not have a legitimate deal in place with distributors.


Actually, in the EU, once Rebellion sell the keys to a distributor, they have lost ownership of them. If they are shutting off the keys of EU members that have bought them, even illegally, then they are essentially stealing. I hope they get arrested for this behavior.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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37. No subject Jun 28, 2014, 23:47 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Quboid wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 21:48:

Or maybe Rebellion are lying. I'm not saying they're telling the truth, I don't know. I'm just saying that, if they are telling the truth, they have to be very careful.

See, I'd believe it they put out a statement like this:
Due to an unfortunate security breach at one of the retailers who've received our codes, we've asked Steam to revoke these known stolen keys. In the interim, *if your key has been revoked please provide a copy of the revoked key and receipt, and we'll provide you with another. As this is a theft, the *insert whatever or generic peace officers* have been notified and a forensic audit has/been/requested to determine the perpetrators. We regret this turn of events, but would like people to enjoy the game. Any other questions, concerns or issues with this please contact us at *insert 3 odd email addresses dedicated to each* and we'll be happy to help you.

*they've done something similar to this already.

But that's not what they did.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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36. No subject Jun 28, 2014, 23:25 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Krovven wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 22:50:

Really? Provide some proof.

Not only does it seem absolutely asinine to spend money on printing codes to a card and shipping those physical objects around the world to legitimate re-sellers and then have them manual enter the codes, that's not my experience from friends that have worked at companies that sold their games on Steam.
It's right in the thread on the steam forums that's in the linked post. You're welcome to go digging through it I think it was somewhere around page 40 maybe earlier, where both CJS and PTG get their keys via all three methods and stated the same for GMG. It might seem asinine to spend money printing on cards, but that is one method also via xls from the publisher, or retail boxes and input codes manually into a file.

Remember that these companies buy in bulk of greater than 10k units. In turn, when you're ordering in bulk and only want base retail getting it via cards(similar to what you get in a physical copy), isn't impossible it's highly probable. Since each key would be removed from the master XLS when it's printed.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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35. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 28, 2014, 22:50 Krovven
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 21:30:
though most CDkey sellers who are legit get them as print card/XLS or boxed retail in bulk(I really wouldn't want to do the input job).

Really? Provide some proof.

Not only does it seem absolutely asinine to spend money on printing codes to a card and shipping those physical objects around the world to legitimate re-sellers and then have them manual enter the codes, that's not my experience from friends that have worked at companies that sold their games on Steam.
 
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34. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 28, 2014, 21:48 Quboid
 
Companies will name themselves if they're in a PR pit and know it's time to stop digging. Companies will either not name other companies until investigations (which don't tend to be publicised) are complete, or they will quickly deeply regret it. Wasn't there a developer of a survival game recently who accused a publisher of taking his idea to another developer, only for the other project to be shown to have pre-dated his? This is why you STFU until you know.

Here's how I imagine Rebellion imagine this going down. Please note that this is written on the assumption that Rebellion are telling the truth, which I'm not convinced about.

1 - Steam sell several batch of keys to, let's say, AlphaKeys
2 - AlphaKeys legally sells the batches to BetaKeys, CharlieKeys and DeltaKeys
3 - CharlieKeys get hacked, the keys nicked
4 - These keys are sold on, dispersed into the distribution chain that GMG use
5 - Rebellion hears about this, tracks batch to AlphaKeys
6 - Rebellion names AlphaKeys, AlphaKeys loses customers' confidence and business

IANAL but I'd guess Rebellion would face hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to AlphaKeys. Maybe more.

Or maybe Rebellion are lying. I'm not saying they're telling the truth, I don't know. I'm just saying that, if they are telling the truth, they have to be very careful.
 
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- Quboid
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33. No subject Jun 28, 2014, 21:30 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Quboid wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 21:23:
If there was a theft then Rebellion probably do know where the leak was. The point I'm trying to make is that they aren't going to name anybody publicly because they care much, much more about not getting sued than they do about us.

This isn't about Rebellion being litigious assholes, no company in the world would name the company.
Well that's very nice of them, I mean it's not like we haven't heard other companies name, names in the past when serious leaks happen right? Wait we have. And in turn, we haven't heard that when there was a security breach and an investigation that's started, they haven't let people know either right? Let's be realistic, companies can and do name, names all the time. For whatever reason, if there is an investigation they're not saying there is one. If the keys were stolen, they're not saying who it was from, they're not saying how the keys were stolen--though most CDkey sellers who are legit get them as print card/XLS or boxed retail in bulk(I really wouldn't want to do the input job).

And with that, all we've got is "they said..." but there's no actual proof that's the case. Having seen the pettiness that goes on in the retail side--especially at the cutthroat level it is today, it wouldn't surprise me in the least that another retailer went running to the publisher over keys being under what they could get them for. Especially if company X has/had an agreement for x-keys@whatever with a low-cost clause, and company Y got them at an even cheaper price which was out of bounds for the agreement for X.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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32. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 28, 2014, 21:23 Quboid
 
If there was a theft then Rebellion probably do know where the leak was. The point I'm trying to make is that they aren't going to name anybody publicly because they care much, much more about not getting sued than they do about us.

This isn't about Rebellion being litigious assholes, no company in the world would name who they suspect of the leak regardless of how sure they are.
 
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- Quboid
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31. No subject Jun 28, 2014, 21:17 Mashiki Amiketo
 
MxxCon wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 21:11:
UNNAMED RETAILER. How many more times do people have to tell you and explain to you that it is unknown what specific company got hacked and had their keys stolen?!
Rebelion will not say who it was because it is not their place.
That retailer will not say it right now because their are in the middle of investigation what exactly got hacked, how, what kind of damage happened and they are working with layers and law enforcement to figure out how and what to disclose.

That's nice, and all. So you're saying that rebellion or 505 is incompetent and doesn't know who they sold keys to? Do you really think they don't have a database listing what blocks of keys were sold to whom, at what time, and on what date. If so, then you've got no idea what goes on behind the front of retail.

Rebellion can and should, because it *is* their place. Especially if they know that keys sold from 505 were stolen, via the reseller or retail market. As a point, they haven't said that there is an investigation at all. Which is odd in itself now isn't it?

Krovven wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 21:12:
While Rebellion has every right to shut down unauthorized resellers from selling keys that were not purchased from Rebellion/Steam, it would have been far better PR just to accept the loss and tighten up their distribution of keys going forward.

CJS seems to think they are entitled to sell CD keys they did not obtain from the source. Newsflash, you are not. Works the same in retail. Companies don't get to go buy goods on the black market and sell them at retail when they do not have a legitimate deal in place with distributors.

As a point, CJS has stated that all of their keys are still working. But other companies have had theirs revoked, with that they've also said that they buy keys from two sources, either printcard(that includes xls keys), and boxed retail.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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30. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 28, 2014, 21:12 Krovven
 
While Rebellion has every right to shut down unauthorized resellers from selling keys that were not purchased from Rebellion/Steam, it would have been far better PR just to accept the loss and tighten up their distribution of keys going forward.

CJS seems to think they are entitled to sell CD keys they did not obtain from the source. Newsflash, you are not. Works the same in retail. Companies don't get to go buy goods on the black market and sell them at retail when they do not have a legitimate deal in place with distributors.

 
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29. Re: Notch's Text Adventure Jun 28, 2014, 21:11 MxxCon
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jun 28, 2014, 20:47:
So again, who were the keys stolen from? And which company was it so I know not to do business with them for their shitty security practices.
UNNAMED RETAILER. How many more times do people have to tell you and explain to you that it is unknown what specific company got hacked and had their keys stolen?!
Rebelion will not say who it was because it is not their place.
That retailer will not say it right now because their are in the middle of investigation what exactly got hacked, how, what kind of damage happened and they are working with layers and law enforcement to figure out how and what to disclose.
 
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28. Re: Stolen Sniper Elite 3 Keys Banned Jun 28, 2014, 21:07 Krovven
 
It’s rather clear that Rebellion are trying to monopolise the sales of their game, while framing legitimate retailers and claiming the keys as ‘stolen’ to try and cover their tracks.

I can only imagine that whoever wrote this also wears a tinfoil hat.

 
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