On Wednesday, Dave Gilbert launched a promotion for one of his PC adventure games, Blackwell Deception. Two days later, he says people have exploited that promotion to steal over 30,000 copies of his game.
Gilbert, an indie developer who has been making adventure games over at Wadjet Eye Games for quite a few years now, decided to give away Blackwell Deception for a limited promo starting Wednesday night. That didn’t go too well.
Gilbert explained the whole story in an interview with a website called Red Door Blue Key. Here’s the short version:
1) Gilbert learns that people are ordering lots and lots of Steam keys — “hundreds at a time,” Gilbert says — to resell them later, when the game is no longer free.
2) Gilbert asks his sales provider to create some sort of generator to ensure that they only give out one code per IP.
3) People start masking their IPs to bypass this system.
4) Gilbert asks his sales provider to cancel everything and remove the link. They do…
5) …yet they don’t disable the generator itself, which people start sharing and linking on other websites. Using that link, people download some 30,000 Steam keys Thursday night, Gilbert says.
“This whole thing has made me terribly terribly sad,” Gilbert wrote on Twitter. He says Steam has disabled all 30,000 codes that were given away after midnight on Friday, but all other codes will be honoured. No accounts will be banned.