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Folks exploited indie game giveaway for 30,000 extra Steam keys, dev says

Friday, 1st November 2013 18:48 GMT By Phil Owen

Yesterday, we told you that Wadjet Eye was giving away copies of their adventure title The Blackwell Deception, and today the dev has said some unscrupulous folks exploited the purchase mechanism on the seller’s website to generate thousands of extra codes for themselves.

There were a couple problems. First, the Steam keys the site was generating were for the entire collection of Blackwell games rather than just The Blackwell Deception. That was dealt with quickly. Then came the real drama. Here’s the story as told by the developer to Red Door Blue Key.

“A few hours later, I learned that the offer was so popular that it shut down BMT’s servers. BMT being the sales provider I use to handle the sales and distribution of our games. 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. 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. Sadly, no. It almost instantly led to a large number of angry emails and tweets – people like playing on Steam! – so in the end I decided to see if I could do something about it. I asked BMT if we could create some kind of “1 code per IP” system, to prevent exploiting. They said it was possible, and created a Steam key generator page that could detect your IP.

This didn’t deter the resellers, however. They easily masked their IPs and began chewing through the Steamcodes again. At that point I threw up my hands and decided to cancel the free giveaway altogether. I had been monitoring the giveaway and dealing with the Steam issues and download problems for 36 straight hours and I was exhausted. 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!

The next morning I woke up to discover something terrifying. BMT did remove the link to the Steam key generator, but they hadn’t removed the generator itself. It was still being exploited. The link to the generator had propagated its way onto the internet, and the resellers had been hard at work. 30,000 keys were nabbed overnight while I was sleeping.”

He says Steam has since invalidated all the keys generated after midnight (UTC, I’m guessing) and pulled the game from the accounts of folks who had redeemed any of those keys (I did not know that was a thing). Nobody was banned.

And the moral of this story is…

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9 Comments

  1. DeVitowned

    Give an inch, take a mile as they say.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. absolutezero

    Its the same reason that Humble started using linked Steam accounts rather than handing out codes.

    Its just cheap people keep them until they can start trading them for stupid shit like hats.

    I blame Valve.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    @2 Do you even remotely realise how stupid you look with your ongoing harassment? You’ve created an account solely to insult someone on the Internet. You come out of your behaviour looking like a complete tool with no life.

    @3 Nobody is responsible for a person’s behaviour other than the person themself. While this undeniably could have been managed better by the developer, it’s the people doing it who are solely to blame for this.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. DSB

    Man, poor Dave Gilbert. Wadjet Eye is only him and his wife. And their dog. Seems like a lot of work even without something like this.

    @3 Rock and hard place no? Personally I really do prefer as little authentication as humanly possible, and I liked Humbles fast and loose approach, not even requiring a real account.

    But alas, if it really hurts the devs, there’s no other way.

    @5 I’ll have you know that Michaels penis is absolutely lovely. He sent me pix on Gmail once. Tru story.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    If mental maturity is any indication of physical maturity, it likely dwarves your own.

    Oooh, low blow.

    I’m not offended by your penis jokes. I’m offended by the fact that you act like a child and pick out people to bully for entertainment. Everyone who sees your post is likely wondering what kind of sad life you must be living to actually find this much time to invest into harassing and mocking someone.

    It’s pathetic.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @9 “^ said the man with an incher between his flabby thighs.”

    I’m 5’10″ and 165lbs. I’m about as flabby as a twig, mate. If you’re going to try and insult me, it tends to work far better if you choose something that is relevant and actually true,. Otherwise it just makes you look like you’re overcompensating for your own personal insecurities.

    When I made that post earlier was the first time I’ve been on the site all day. You, on the other hand, have a harassing post in practically every news post on the site since you started posting a few days ago. There doesn’t seem to be a break of more than a few hours at most, and the majority of them spans hours of posting.

    I love how you completely ignore the criticism of your behaviour. You created an an account solely to mock someone. Do the synapses in your brain just not fire correctly? How the hell does someone justify that kind of extreme behaviour to themselves? Do you even see what you’re doing? Good lord.

    The denial you go through to justify your bullying is depressing. Reminds of a certain other post on here who was recently banned from the comment section.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    Keep proving the point mate.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. fihar

    *sigh*
    People.

    This is precisely why we can’t have nice things.

    #8 12 months ago
  9. digitalAngst

    @14

    *shrugs*

    Some men just want to watch the world burn.

    #9 12 months ago

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