Blackwell Deception Giveaway Goes Bad, 30,000 Steam Keys Stolen

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Blackwell Deception Giveaway Goes Bad, 30,000 Steam Keys Stolen

Blackwell Deception screen

The Blackwell Deception Halloween giveaway is a sad lesson in why we can't have nice things.

Wadjet Eye Games did a real solid for adventure fans on Halloween, making Blackwell Deception, the most recent game in the Blackwell series, free for everyone until midnight on November 1. But the promotion ended early, leaving many who found out about it later in the day with no game and no explanation as to why.

It turns out that, as is so often the case, no good deed goes unpunished. Wadjet Eye founder Dave Gilbert told Red Door Blue Key that things went off the rails very quickly when he discovered late Wednesday evening that the Steam keys being generated for the giveaway actually contained the company's entire catalog of games. Gilbert eventually found an option in Steamworks that retroactively removes games from Steam keys, but a few hours later he learned that the offer was so popular it overloaded the servers at sales provider BMT.

"I looked into it and discovered why. People were ordering multiple copies of the game - hundreds at a time. And collecting Steam keys for reselling later," Gilbert said. "This is something I didn't anticipate happening, so I removed the Steam keys from the giveaway and placed the game on a few other websites to use as mirrors. BMT made the game live again, and I hoped that was the end of it."

Alas, it was not. The removal of Steam keys led to "a large number of angry emails and tweets" from people outraged that they couldn't get their free game on Steam, so Gilbert and BMT got together and set up a "one code per IP" system, returning Steam keys to the giveaway. Naturally, that brought the resellers back, who "easily masked their IPs and began chewing through the Steam codes again."

At that point - and remember, Gilbert had been doing all of this for a freebie - he gave up and canceled the whole thing. "I had been monitoring the giveaway and dealing with the Steam issues and download problems for 36 straight hours and I was exhausted," he said. "There was only so much work I was willing to do for a free giveaway, and I had reached my limit. I told BMT to cancel everything and put the regular sales page back up. I finally collapsed to get some much needed sleep!"

But even that wasn't the end of it. Gilbert discovered upon waking the next morning that BMT had removed the link to the Steam key generator, but not the generator itself. A working link to generator made its way online and 30,000 Steam keys were swiped before he woke up. He's now trying to get those keys disabled.

Source: Red Door Blue Key

Permalink

Woah, that's harsh. Also, I'm quite surprised this happened. I didn't even realize there were Steam keys involved, I just downloaded the setup. So, you could either get it via the setup or for Steam? But the setup appears to be DRM-free anyway.

Since so many people are angry about the new Humble OAuth method for redeeming games over at reddit.com/r/gamedeals , I have posted a link to this in the hope that some people might consider the human side of game reselling and other customer actions that ultimately impact on developers.

This just makes BMT look really incompetent.

Wow... I hope there is a way to at least block those 30000 keys that were grabbed after it should have been possible. People buying from resellers will then probably receive incorrect keys but this is the way it goes when you buy from resellers (who are normally pretty quick to compensate customers to not ruin their already shady reputation).

Ugh, that really sucks for them. It'd be nice if they were rewarded for the gesture rather than being jumped on straight away.

cde:
Since so many people are angry about the new Humble OAuth method for redeeming games over at reddit.com/r/gamedeals , I have posted a link to this in the hope that some people might consider the human side of game reselling and other customer actions that ultimately impact on developers.

Could anyone please explain what the whole OAuth thing is? I haven't had to use it so I don't really know anything about it, so I'd be interested in knowing what it is and why people are upset about it.

vun:

cde:
Since so many people are angry about the new Humble OAuth method for redeeming games over at reddit.com/r/gamedeals , I have posted a link to this in the hope that some people might consider the human side of game reselling and other customer actions that ultimately impact on developers.

Could anyone please explain what the whole OAuth thing is? I haven't had to use it so I don't really know anything about it, so I'd be interested in knowing what it is and why people are upset about it.

Basically it's set up so that you don't get Steam keys anymore. Instead the game is posted directly to your account somehow. This means that you can't give away the Steam keys. Which is annoying when the bundles contain games you've already got.

30,000? Even after the offical link had been removed? Christ thats a lot of greedy people. Here's hoping Wadjet Eye Games can get those removed.

I have to ask. Did anyone NOT see something like this coming? Maybe it is because I do not trust consumers at all but I am no surprised that this happened. Seriously put some hard limits on this thing like up to 5 copies or something like that.

Whoah, what steam key generator? I all got was a DRM free installer. I'd have honestly rather had the steam key, since I'll probably lose that installer before I ever get around to playing the game 0.o

The next thing to do is watch Steam Trades - Here is where you're going to find a lot of those stolen keys being offered. Why they would show up on ST is because people will do these sort of things to get a game they want for a trade, and given the niche that is Blackwell Deception, it will be easy to trade them off once since it's not a well-known series and likely would not get that many downloads. Now, compare that to Portal's free download day; it was too famous and downloaded by almost everyone who didn't own it during its free day, and as a result, its value was too low to be effectively used in trades after the free download was over.

kiri2tsubasa:
I have to ask. Did anyone NOT see something like this coming? Maybe it is because I do not trust consumers at all but I am no surprised that this happened. Seriously put some hard limits on this thing like up to 5 copies or something like that.

Actually, things seemed to go quite smoothly a couple of years ago when they gave away The Shiva. Of course, that wasn't Steam keys - and even HumbleBundle gave up on letting people have those for less than a dollar.

Dr.Awkward:
The next thing to do is watch Steam Trades - Here is where you're going to find a lot of those stolen keys being offered.

I thought Steam Trades only worked with Steam Inventory items - and you can't use a key to put something in your Steam Inventory. Can you?

Jorpho:

Dr.Awkward:
The next thing to do is watch Steam Trades - Here is where you're going to find a lot of those stolen keys being offered.

I thought Steam Trades only worked with Steam Inventory items - and you can't use a key to put something in your Steam Inventory. Can you?

Traders can offer keys. I've traded with someone else over a game for a key they got for a game they already owned, and Steam accepted that key. It's not recommended, but if the person is honest enough about it you can get a good deal.

One of my steam groups posted an announcement yesterday around 6ish that they had a free code for the game, I clicked the link and it gave me a product key and it activated properly on steam. I really hope it wasn't an illegal key, I haven't played the game yet so I am not going to be angry if it gets taken away, especially if it was stolen. Is the issue here with people who got multiple copies of the key or with the giving out of the key itself? I just copied the code into steam and it gave me the game, I don't want to be a part of some major scam that hurt a nice dev.

Dr.Awkward:

Traders can offer keys. I've traded with someone else over a game for a key they got for a game they already owned, and Steam accepted that key. It's not recommended, but if the person is honest enough about it you can get a good deal.

I had a guy friend me on steam just to offer me game codes for my TF2 items, I don't play TF2 anymore because I don't like what Valve did to it so I traded a few items for some codes. I opened a trade window with him and put up my offer and he gave me the codes before I sent the trade so he was very trusting. He had a lot of codes for games, some for Origin and some for Steam, I hope I didn't end up trading some silly hats for some stolen game codes. My unnatural greediness prevents me from trading away my more unique TF2 items even though I have no intention of ever playing the game again.

I heard about this the other night and it is really unfortunate that a mistake in the key codes resulted in their entire catalog being granted instead of just the one game that they had planned and then unsavory resellers exploited the system further. I hope the company can come back from this ordeal.

Dr.Awkward:

Jorpho:

Dr.Awkward:
The next thing to do is watch Steam Trades - Here is where you're going to find a lot of those stolen keys being offered.

I thought Steam Trades only worked with Steam Inventory items - and you can't use a key to put something in your Steam Inventory. Can you?

Traders can offer keys. I've traded with someone else over a game for a key they got for a game they already owned, and Steam accepted that key. It's not recommended, but if the person is honest enough about it you can get a good deal.

Wow. This seems like a really terrible idea. Why hasn't Valve put a stop to this? It seems wide open to exploitation by scammers, especially considering that bundle deals are probably a primary source of keys - and you're not supposed to be giving those keys away anyway. The other source for keys would be GamersGate/GameFly/GreenManGaming/etc, and isn't allowing the trading of their keys just encouraging people not to buy off Steam directly? This makes little sense from both a business and a customer-satisfaction perspective.

Jorpho:

Dr.Awkward:

Jorpho:

I thought Steam Trades only worked with Steam Inventory items - and you can't use a key to put something in your Steam Inventory. Can you?

Traders can offer keys. I've traded with someone else over a game for a key they got for a game they already owned, and Steam accepted that key. It's not recommended, but if the person is honest enough about it you can get a good deal.

Wow. This seems like a really terrible idea. Why hasn't Valve put a stop to this? It seems wide open to exploitation by scammers, especially considering that bundle deals are probably a primary source of keys - and you're not supposed to be giving those keys away anyway. The other source for keys would be GamersGate/GameFly/GreenManGaming/etc, and isn't allowing the trading of their keys just encouraging people not to buy off Steam directly? This makes little sense from both a business and a customer-satisfaction perspective.

Actually, it would be a worse decision to not honor CD/Steam keys than to honor them - Without these keys, it would be much harder for deals to be made between companies - Nvidia and AMD would have a hard time offering free games with a purchase of their graphics cards, as it might mean having to take more space with a boxed copy of the game, or it would be more hassle on the consumer by waiting on their freebie to go through a voucher system. Additionally, not honoring these keys also lose out to giving the possibility of extra rewards to fans who owned a boxed copy of the older game. For example, if you own a boxed copy of Half-Life, by typing in the CD key into Steam you won't just get Half-Life, but all goldsrc games that were sponsored by Valve for free. And then there's piracy - If you've got a legitimate CD key to an older game whose CD is damaged beyond repair, but is on Steam, would you pirate another copy, or get a new, legitimate copy that you can have guilt-free access to?

This makes me very, very sad.

Dave Gilbert is one of the nicest people I've interacted with and he's been stellar every time I've had questions about his games. He even gave me Steam keys for all his games when I mentioned that I had them on Gamersgate when I bought the disc version of Deception at release. Not to mention all the stuff he did for me when I bungled up my order of Resonance and he fixed it so I'd get the boxed version. Guy is a genuine good person and it's terrible to read that this happened to him.

I now also feel a bit crappy as I by coincidence wrote him about a new download link to The Shivah just last night. I had no idea this shit was going on and I'd rather not that I add to that pile. I'd rather just buy The Shivah again than bring him more hassle right now.

Edit: just got a reply and they sorted it out in a moment. Basically got a new copy of the game as the storefront they'd been using in 2011 was closed. They are really nice people.

kailus13:

vun:

cde:
Since so many people are angry about the new Humble OAuth method for redeeming games over at reddit.com/r/gamedeals , I have posted a link to this in the hope that some people might consider the human side of game reselling and other customer actions that ultimately impact on developers.

Could anyone please explain what the whole OAuth thing is? I haven't had to use it so I don't really know anything about it, so I'd be interested in knowing what it is and why people are upset about it.

Basically it's set up so that you don't get Steam keys anymore. Instead the game is posted directly to your account somehow. This means that you can't give away the Steam keys. Which is annoying when the bundles contain games you've already got.

30,000? Even after the offical link had been removed? Christ thats a lot of greedy people. Here's hoping Wadjet Eye Games can get those removed.

Ah yeah, I can see how that can be annoying, although the keys are for personal use only so I'm not sure if you're technically allowed to give them away anyway. Although I'd still prefer the old way of doing things.

if you like adventure games, and haven't played primordia (from wadjet eye games)you definitely should

Wadjet Eye is a studio that doesn't deserve this. Let us pray to Man for their joint to rust and their sockets to fry. Go and buy Primordia, it's worth your money.

Dr.Awkward:
Actually, it would be a worse decision to not honor CD/Steam keys than to honor them

I wasn't talking about honoring them or not; I meant allowing the keys to be used in trades. If Valve required you to use the keys to generate a Steam inventory item that you could then trade, at least that would make some kind of sense.

Additionally, not honoring these keys also lose out to giving the possibility of extra rewards to fans who owned a boxed copy of the older game.

I don't think this happens very often.

And then there's piracy - If you've got a legitimate CD key to an older game whose CD is damaged beyond repair, but is on Steam, would you pirate another copy, or get a new, legitimate copy that you can have guilt-free access to?

The number of games which have CD keys that can also be activated on Steam is very limited and probably won't get much longer.

A zillion shitty publishers and developers out there and they had to do this to Wadjet Eye instead. Pricks.

Really sad when genuine generosity is abused so badly like this. Those resellers can go jump of a cliff.

while I am disappointed that I waited to get a download and missed out, at the same time they've got on their plate to handle and it's really okay if they can't do this again (although not in the sense that it was okay for people to fuck it up for everybody else)

You know, I understand that it's a responsibility of these people to stay on top of this kind of shit and prevent it from happening, but SO many people are eager to point the finger at them and be all 'THEY ENABLED THE BAD THING' while not passing ANY judgement on the thousands of shitbags that actually exploited the thing.

Of course one could easily suggest that I'm biased since I had no input on the whole thing but you know what? I probably would have gotten myself a key and told some friends about it and that would have been the end of it. I wouldn't have gotten keys for reselling or something of the like.

"This is why we can't have nice things" has never been more appropriate.

The funny thing is, because I'm somewhat technologically-minded, when I got my free Steam key I though, "huh, all you need to do is just click the buy button - that would be really easy to exploit."
I didn't actually act on that observation, but the thought did occur to me. I guess some people are just selfish douchebags.

I did notice the server was quite unresponsive when I visited the site, though. Go figure, if there were people generating 100s of codes a second.

*facepalm*

Thank you, Internet, for once again giving people a reason not to be generous.

And people wonder why the game industry doesn't get a very good rep.

It is too bad that this had to happen to Wadjet Eye. It's a small, out-of-the-living-room company that publishes some really great games and is really good as far as supporting and interacting with its customers. I suppose that's not something a lot of people consider when they're pulling shit like this, but it causes a lot of stress and headaches to people who really do not deserve it.

OT: Re OAuth and Humble: I don't see the problem. They have been very explicit from the beginning that giving away surplus keys was Not OK and a way to block it was inevitable. And seriously, how cheap do you have to be to gripe that you aren't getting to give as much away as you can for your average $6 cost? It's not like anyone is making a bundle (hah!) off those bundles. If you think a friend would like a game, buy them a bundle, or find another way, but expecting to be able to trade away a $15 game you paid a buck for in a charity promotion is... I don't even know. Selfish?

For resale? By the thousands? Seriously?

Don't those stupid traders know that even a tiny amount of over saturation makes any game for trade useless?

-frozen synapse
-dont starve
-portal
-Civ V
-XCOM
-Bioshock Infinite items
-Hitman Absolution items
-ROME II
-metro 2033

Didn't these fiascos teach the steam economy anything? Don't even try to make money off something given away for free or what everyone is buying. Because everyone will have it and it won't move.

Those copies will be sitting in their inventory. Unable to move. Useless in every sense of the word and taking up space for unusuals and stranges.

I swear, if this keeps up the steam economy will collapse under people's own stupidity. Its already happening with key price inflation ruining the trade thanks to people trolling key price sites with fake information to inflate their own pockets.

Now people are hoarding keys, and hoarding currency is never good for any economy.

The player run steam economy will crash, but the only question is how long until the opportunistic vultures looking for free money without actual work break it.

This makes me think that people don't even understand the idea of supply and demand.

it amazes me people blaming the company for allowing it to happen and not the people who robbed them blind. easier to blame the victim than accept responsibility for being a thief i guess

Some of these dirtbags are going to get value out of these codes and they'll continue being dirtbags and exploiting free games and giveaways like this because they got something of value from exploiting. Those dirtbags who get stuck with 100s maybe 1000s of codes are hurt by this kind of behaviour so they'll keep doing it on the off chance they will get something of value back from exploiting. I wish there was some way to punish these exploiters.

No one can ever have anything nice without someone shitting all over everything.

So I have two thoughts on this.

First, obviously this is terrible and the people who abused this should feel ashamed of themselves, it is not an OK thing to do.

Secondly, Wadjet Eye has primarily themselves or their partners to blame. While most people are decent and wouldn't abuse a giveaway like this when millions of people know about your giveaway it only takes a small percentage of bad actors to completely ruin it.

Because Wadjet Eye was not properly prepared for the giveaway instead of being a great promotion that would have allowed a lot of people to experience their game, Wadjet Eye to get a lot of good word of mouth, now you have a lot of disappointed people and Wadjet Eye has only damaged their reputation among those who ended up not getting the free game.

This of course is always one of the risks of small developers, they don't always have the experience or manpower to really make sure these types of promotions go off smoothly without a hitch, which hurts them more than anyone.

Just to reiterate, the people who abused this situation showed a complete lack of ethics, they should feel ashamed of themselves though most surely don't care, but there are always people out there ready to take advantage. It is the responsibility of the company putting on the promotion to make sure things like this don't happen.

Ultratwinkie:
For resale? By the thousands? Seriously?

Don't those stupid traders know that even a tiny amount of over saturation makes any game for trade useless?

-frozen synapse
-dont starve
-portal
-Civ V
-XCOM
-Bioshock Infinite items
-Hitman Absolution items
-ROME II
-metro 2033

Didn't these fiascos teach the steam economy anything? Don't even try to make money off something given away for free or what everyone is buying. Because everyone will have it and it won't move.

Those copies will be sitting in their inventory. Unable to move. Useless in every sense of the word and taking up space for unusuals and stranges.

I swear, if this keeps up the steam economy will collapse under people's own stupidity. Its already happening with key price inflation ruining the trade thanks to people trolling key price sites with fake information to inflate their own pockets.

Now people are hoarding keys, and hoarding currency is never good for any economy.

The player run steam economy will crash, but the only question is how long until the opportunistic vultures looking for free money without actual work break it.

This makes me think that people don't even understand the idea of supply and demand.

To be fair to Valve they at least realise that this is a problem and have gotten staff to help manage the ecomany, http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.378852-Valve-Hires-In-House-Economist
Too bad they con't hire people that can manage stupidity and greed.

porous_shield:
Some of these dirtbags are going to get value out of these codes and they'll continue being dirtbags and exploiting free games and giveaways like this because they got something of value from exploiting. Those dirtbags who get stuck with 100s maybe 1000s of codes are hurt by this kind of behaviour so they'll keep doing it on the off chance they will get something of value back from exploiting. I wish there was some way to punish these exploiters.

No one can ever have anything nice without someone shitting all over everything.

Oh no, they won't.

People tried with Metro 2033. That didn't work. They couldn't move.

People tried with Don't Starve. Same thing.

Frozen Synapse.

Anything preorder to any big name franchise.

XCOM after the bureau preorder.

Frozen Synapse after any summer sale.

DOTA 2.

I think dirt 2 had the same issue, as well as any game code given away with graphics card purchases.

List goes on, these people never win. It will only take up space and get them labelled a bad trader for trying to sell it beyond a single refined at most. A bad steam rep will sink any trader. Its like a religion but with actual physical consequence in the here and now. Don't worry, these traders will get singled out and their trader career ended. No one tries to sell something given away for free and get away with it. They tend to be on the ball.

Even if they did sell to an ignorant steam user, that's scamming and valve steps in and fixes it.

Besides, all the people trying to make a quick buck forget the real money is in unusual hats. Not games. They probably didn't even think it through either.

The key inflation and lack of idling has pretty much destroyed these scammer's plans. they'd have to find at least 6 people to scam to get a single key, and that's not much.

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