The developer of RimWorld, Steam's new hotness (and a Dwarf-Fortress-ish game with dashes of Firefly that I'm really digging; full impressions soon), was running a pretty cool deal for the game's Early Access launch. Then fraudsters decided to get involved. When RimWorld first released on Steam last week, developer Tynan Sylvester made a request: "If you want, buying it from our site is better for us," he said. "This way, we get significantly more of the money, since Steam isn't taking their cut. You can still immediately grab your Steam key and put the game on your Steam account." To coincide with this, he also offered a system by which owners of earlier non-Steam versions of the game could get a free Steam key by simply typing in their purchase email.
So basically, more money for Ludeon Studios and shiny Steam keys for longtime supporters. Everybody wins. RimWorld is a massive undertaking, too. Ludeon deserves every penny they get.
Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished. The illicit Steam key aftermarket is a hell of a thing, and its grubby Jawa hordes will gladly strip easy marks for parts. Sylvester explained in a blog post over the weekend:
"If you bought before today, you can still get a key. However, I've been forced to stop offering Steam keys for those who buy today and in the future. We've been getting hammered by fraudsters who are obviously more experienced at this than I. Shutting it down for now is the only way to avoid thousands of dollars in chargeback fees and lost sales. It's time to take a breather, because I can't fight this 'live.'"
Keys that were used in nefarious schemes are being deactivated, so if you got the game anywhere other than Steam or Ludeon's site, the devs are about to burn the land, boil the sea and take the sky from you.
The moral of the story? Probably don't buy from sketchy-arse sites trying to take advantage of Steam's open ecosystem. If it seems to good and cheap to be true, it likely is. On top of that, you're feeding into a system that stiffs developers out of hard-earned money and, in the long run, makes things shittier for everybody, except for the shitty people who run scams to get these keys. So yeah, don't do that!
Oh, and if you're one of said fraudsters -- especially if you use the laughably bad "I represent major website/YouTuber/streamer X" strategy -- I would be pleased as punch if you'd just bend over and eat your whole arse. I'll even give you a Steam key for your troubles!