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Sniper Elite 3 customers left in lurch by digital key heist

Sniper Elite 3 customers left in lurch by digital key heist

The DLC initially only offered as a pre-order bonus is now being offered to all those affected by this incident.

Several gamers buying copies of Sniper Elite 3 from digital outlets other than Steam have found themselves without a copy of the game after Steam revoked the access codes.

The title’s developer Rebellion and digital distribution platform Steam discovered that a batch of activation keys had been stolen and re-sold to other vendors. Steam responded by registering the batch as invalid.

Steam is not offering refunds on the stolen keys and affected players are being told to contact the merchant that they bought the copy with and ask for a refund or replacement key from them instead. In a forum thread, Rebellion stated that it did not hold the vendors selling the stolen keys responsible.

‘One of our PC retail distributors informed us that some of their allotted Steam keys were stolen,’ said a Rebellion spokesperson. ‘We believe these keys were then resold to multiple companies, with no payments going to either Valve or the retail distributor.’

Several responders to the forum post are crying conspiracy and accuse Rebellion of trying to squeeze more money out of its customers, protesting that because they’ve never had a problem with key re-sellers in the past there should not be a problem now. Many of the codes affected were also pre-order codes that registered and pre-installed a copy of the game ahead of its launch.

In an effort to placate the understandably angry customers that have been affected, the ‘Target Hitler’ downloadable content is being offered for free, an extra that was previously only available for pre-ordered copies of the game. This offer will be available until July 4.

Sniper Elite 3 launched at the end of last week in Europe and launches on July 1 in the US. It has been developed for the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.

17 Comments

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GeorgeK 30th June 2014, 10:33 Quote
I would love to believe that this was the entire truth (it may well be as there are some third party retailers that haven't been hit by this) but it does stink a little of "we want you to pay £40 for this game and are annoyed that you've only paid £20 so we'll cancel your key hoping you'll buy a full-price replacement and to soften the blow we'll give you a £6 DLC for free"
GiantKiwi 30th June 2014, 10:41 Quote
That GeorgeK, unfortunately is exactly what it is, but Rebellion are trying to save face by saying that they were stolen. Stolen and then sold to 20+ Distributors and 60+ Retailers worldwide, Sure, Rebellion, we totally believe that. Not.
rollo 30th June 2014, 10:55 Quote
I always wondered how some sites were so cheap for certain things. Even on the big 2 cd key sellers the prices for brand new pre launch games are rarely half the steam price.

Most will get a refund I'd imagine or a new key.
GiantKiwi 30th June 2014, 11:20 Quote
Everyone will be getting refunds, but no one will get a replacement key as there are none to replace them with.
GeorgeK 30th June 2014, 11:24 Quote
The only site that I've come across (NB - I've not looked that hard) that seems to be unaffected is CJs CD Keys... They must not source their keys in the same way that the rest do... They must be making a killing on people buying replacement keys as theirs are only £20.50 compared to £39.99 on Steam...
Shirty 30th June 2014, 12:08 Quote
I'd be interested to know what kind of numbers we're talking about here. For this to be worth the inevitable PR hit that Rebellion will take (and would have known they would take) from the doubters, the potential lost revenues must have been substantial.

Bear in mind that a good proportion of those affected by this will almost certainly take a trip to their favourite torrent index and help themselves to a free copy, so whilst they might feel better knowing that some "lost" potential revenue will have been recouped, they are probably going to lose a substantial chunk more to piracy.

Also, t'Internet loves a good run on a company when it falls out of favour, so I suspect a lot of others will pirate the game now just because they can. Even if they don't play it.
azazel1024 30th June 2014, 14:49 Quote
Maybe I am lost on this one...would no one bother contacting their credit card company to do a charge back? Seems like you shouldn't have any issues there.
Impatience 30th June 2014, 14:52 Quote
That would assume you buy all your games through a credit card.. Or even that you have a credit card!
GeorgeK 30th June 2014, 14:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel1024
Maybe I am lost on this one...would no one bother contacting their credit card company to do a charge back? Seems like you shouldn't have any issues there.

Banks aren't legally obliged to pay up with transactions less than £100 (you can't take them to court for example if they don't stump up the money but above £100, and on a credit card, you can apply Section 75 in the UK which is legally binding). I know that some retailers are offering refunds but they don't have to I believe...
Blademrk 30th June 2014, 15:37 Quote
I find it hard to believe that 1 batch of "stolen keys" were distributed to that many retailers.
Corky42 30th June 2014, 17:11 Quote
Kinda raises the question of how they were stolen, or from whom.
PaulC2K 30th June 2014, 23:45 Quote
This implies that someone stole legit keys, and then multiple retailers all agreed to purchase these codes from the same source/thief.

For so many retailers to be accused of purchasing keys from an unofficial source, and these keys were 'stolen' and purchased by unsuspecting customers, and its only now that they've realised and not shortly after they were stolen?? 7,000 keys and >50 retailers.

This is a "we dont like you buying keys intended for a different region, so they're stolen" move.
GeorgeK 1st July 2014, 08:42 Quote
I was thinking more about this yesterday. It could be that a large number of keys was 'sold' to a distributor who then sold them on to GMG, CD Keys etc but then didn't pay the developer and / or Steam and so the keys they bought were then revoked... Unlikely I imagine but could be possible...
DeckerdBR 1st July 2014, 11:31 Quote
Rebellion are just a nasty developer, given they are also trying to re-sue sins of a solar empire developer Ironclad over the use of the world Rebellion from their latest sins game:
http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/06/30/sins-of-a-solar-empire-studio-speaks-out-against-new-rebellion-legal-action/

I hope this new key issue and their current litigation back fire and harms them permanently. given they make such trashy games anyway, it would be no loss if they went out of business :)
DLDeadbolt 1st July 2014, 11:53 Quote
After the crap that was Sniper Elite 1, I'd steered clear of the sequals. CHecking reviews of SE2, seems they didnt fix many of the problems from 1 and added a bunch more. They promised to learn from their mistakes with the previous 2 and do better with 3, but it's a shoddy, broken PoS with only 8 or 9 missions.

I'd definitely call this a BS move by Rebellion. I'd bet if all the affected stores asked for a copy of the police report, they never produce one.
Anfield 1st July 2014, 12:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
I always wondered how some sites were so cheap for certain things. Even on the big 2 cd key sellers the prices for brand new pre launch games are rarely half the steam price.

They where not much cheaper than the physical versions, the pc version of Sniper Elite 3 can be had on amazon for £25 and the xbox 360 version is £24 on amazon.
Jim 2nd July 2014, 13:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Banks aren't legally obliged to pay up with transactions less than £100 (you can't take them to court for example if they don't stump up the money but above £100, and on a credit card, you can apply Section 75 in the UK which is legally binding). I know that some retailers are offering refunds but they don't have to I believe...

That's true, but card companies do go further, i.e. Visa Chargeback, which applies on both debit cards and credit cards and for transactions below £100.

Effectively it's a voluntary extension of Section 75, and is barely any different in practise.
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