Whoops, 3 Million Copies Of Dirt 3 Just Went Missing

Whoops, 3 Million Copies Of Dirt 3 Just Went Missing

Publishers Codemasters and graphics card manufacturer AMD have been running a promotion lately whereby purchasers of a card got a free copy of excellent racer Dirt 3. That offer has now been, uh, slightly expanded.

It seems Codemasters had the reserved download codes for the promo — estimated at around three million copies of the game — sitting on one of its web servers in plain sight, and over the past couple of days that list has been accessed and passed around, giving anyone who has seen it a free copy of Dirt 3.

While this might seem like an online looter’s Christmas come early, there’s a catch: the codes are Steam codes, meaning that should Codemasters (or Valve) decide to take action, all they’d need to do would be to go down the list and block the codes for the game. And that’s a best-case scenario for “thieves”, one that doesn’t involve banning.

Thanks for everyone who tipped us about this!


  • who would be stupid to use a stolen steam code. Well this would of costed some people 100s of dollars in lost games they cant play because they have been banned.

  • I just got a free code from a giveaway from a dude I’m subbed to on YouTube, I really hope that was not from that list.

  • Is it stealing though if the list is in plain sight?

    I would expect the key to be revoked at minimum though. I would be surprised if whole Steam accounts are banned because of this.

      • Yes, but the difference here is that what they have done is like leaving your car unlocked, doors wide open, with the engine running in Dandenong, Footsgray or Frankston to go shopping.

        Surely everyone knows Rule 101 of all internet is if that if you don’t want it taken, DON’T PUT IT THERE.

        • lol

          but by wide open, it would be in a private server located on codemasters or ATI’s system in which someone hack in, bypassed there firewalls and opened the files that happened to be unencypted which is a no no to have but still, it wasn’t left Wide open.

          • But since software is a medium that allows products to be instantly duplicated ad infinitum with no real costs involved, the value of an individual piece of software is effectively nullified. In this case, rather than a car being stolen, it’s more like an idea or catchphrase has been stolen. So IMHO deactivating extra keys, if that’s possible, should be as far as they go, and treat the rest of the freebies that got through the system as promotional.

            Cause people to get banned, and no one will buy from you again (just the way marketing works, people tend to avoid getting involved with companies that have clouted them over the head before).

          • Except, these were a bunch of unencrypted .txt files left readily accessible on their webserver, I doubt Kotaku would look to kindly on me linking them, but suffice to say there’s no hacking going on here and if you are really interested in seeing the truth it’s not hard to find.

          • hey, hey! frankston is a nice place by the sea. you only get your car stolen if you leave it there for at least a whole hour unattended.

    • Says somewhere in steams terms of use/service/whatever that using a cd key posted online can get you banned.

      Although i highly doubt that with origin on the horizon

      • Found the exact quote;

        “There is a Zero-Tolerance policy for any violations of the Steam Subscriber Agreement and Online Code of Conduct. All accounts in a user’s possession for any of the following activities will be suspended:
        Piracy or Hacking

        This includes using an unauthorized (“hacked”) Steam client to access Steam, attempting to register fake CD Keys or attempting to register a CD Key which has been published on the internet. “

  • They deserve what the get. It’s not hacking if you leave the SQL DB there available on on a URL. Especially on a website that you to view a list of the files on the server. Dumb Marketers and Web Designers.

  • The only problem is, if they were to ban keys how do they determine which keys are actually sitting inside graphics card boxes about to be legitimately purchased by someone?
    It is going to be hard for them to determine if a key has been obtained legit or taken off their sql db….

    • Best way to do it would be to messige each person, and ask them to send proof via the ticket system in on STEAM or something I think….

      • I guess that would work.
        Would suck very much though. Doesn’t really sell video cards well
        “Oh yes, thank you for purchasing one of our video cards….. as a thank you, please find a scanner and scan your purchase receipt and email it to us otherwise we will disable your steam account. Have a nice day :-)”

  • I’m confused. I had to go to the ATI website to activate my copy before I got the Steam key…

    Couldn’t they just disable all keys that haven’t been processed via their website?

  • I used one of the codes.. Immediately got on to Steam Support not knowing they were stolen and asked them to remove the game from My Games tab. They replied saying we are “Investigating further information”. Today i woke up and checked My Games tab and DiRT 3 was gone. I know I’m safe. <3

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