Home Gaming Cancelled Sniper Elite 3 keys start price-fixing claims

Cancelled Sniper Elite 3 keys start price-fixing claims

4 min read

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There are a ton of advantages to going digital. Such as not having to go outside (IT’S COLD!) as you stay safe and secure in your lair. But there are a ton of disadvantages to this system as well, depending on your bandwidth or dodgy line connection. Add pulled game redemption keys to that list of cons as well.

Update: It seems that Green Man Gaming was incorrectly featured in this article, and are in fact an official retailer and not a third-party seller. You can read more about how the alleged Sniper Elite 3 code story does not affect that retailer in a blogpost onPlayfire.

Were you getting ready to do some kraut control on PC this weekend, and found your copy of Sniper Elite 3 being verboten? Chances are, that might be because you purchased a Steam key for the game off of a third-party site such as Green Man Gaming or CDKeys, which Valve has pulled from their platform.

According to Rebellion in a Steam Community post (via VideoGamer and VG247), a number of Sniper Elite 3 keys were stolen and then sold to these digital vendors which then led to Rebellion getting those pilfered keys to be revoked on Steam. Were you one of the unlucky marksmen who experienced this? Then Rebellion reckons that you better get a refund from whoever you bought your key from. To ease the entry wound, they’re also offering their pre-order bonus Target Hitler for free to those affected.

Sounds crap, but fair. Naturally however, the internet has had a sh*t-fit and has now claimed that Rebellion is attempting to fix the price of the game as those keys that were sold outside of Steam and retail, were done so with a cheaper price-tag.

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“To clarify, one of our PC retail distributors informed us that some of their allotted Steam keys were stolen. We believe these keys were then resold to multiple companies, with no payments going to either Valve or the retail distributor,” Rebellion said in an update to address these claims.

Steam were immediately informed and have now revoked that set of keys. As a developer Rebellion are happy for you to purchase the game anywhere you see fit and support price competition in the PC market – we have in no way targeted any specific vendors (who may have also thought these keys were legitimate), just this one set of keys.

To be fair, most vendors have released refunds and replacements to gamers who were caught up in this alleged scandal, although some have also spoken out against Rebellion. Herein beginneth the drama. According to unaffected retailer CJS-CDKeys, whoever sold those keys to retailers had every legal right to do so, while Rebellion is stretching the truth in order to ring a few extra bucks out of their game.

“While the term ‘unauthorised reseller’ bounces about the internet, the truth is that there is no such thing. Under the first-sale doctrine, the copyright ownership of a license key ends after the first sale (ie, from publisher to distributor),” the CJS-CDKeys post notes.

This means that all legal entities (even members of the public) have a legal right to re-sell their license keys as they see fit. The developer has absolutely no legal right to stop keys being re-sold. The only requirement in law for re-selling virtual software / digital goods is that the original copy of the virtual item must be destroyed once copied over to someone. Of course, with Steam’s DRM system, the key can only be used once, so deleting access to the ‘original copy’ is not an issue.

And on Steam as well , a poster who claims to be CEO of a parent company to two vendors is also unhappy, saying that Rebellion’s act is the “most underhanded tactic” ever seen by a publisher.


This is a free internet where people have the choice to do what they like with something they just purchased. What [Rebellion is] doing here is against the Fair Trade Act 1973 and will be dealt with to the full extent possible in terms of claiming any losses and damages from Rebellion. All of our suppliers are officially licensed distributors yet [Rebellion has] the audacity to claim we are all fraudulent buyers and that everyone can only buy it from Steam for it to be legitimate.

This is a complete fabrication and has no legal standing whatsoever. Every person or consumer has a right to purchase [Rebellion’s] game wherever they see fit if that company is buying [Rebellion’s] games legitimately and [Rebellion] cannot punish us or any other seller for selling [Rebellion’s] game if this is the case.

Rebellion will most likely issue another press release soon to update on these claims, so stay impartial with this. I’m busy playing Sniper Elite 3 for review, and honestly, it’s not a bad game at all so far thanks to its new emphasis on the Africa campaigns and horribly satisfying violence. And really, no matter who is wrong and who is right, we just want to play the damn game.

Last Updated: June 30, 2014


  1. The only other place I’ve gotten Steam keys (apart from Steam) is with box-copies and humblebundle


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 30, 2014 at 08:43

      Me too, plus a couple of other indie bundle sites.


    • Viking Of GabeN

      June 30, 2014 at 08:49

      I’ve bought from Gamersgate, twice, no problems….


      • Kensei Seraph

        June 30, 2014 at 09:23

        Bought there once also with no issues.


    • FSR

      June 30, 2014 at 14:41

      I’ve bought several titles from Gamersgate and GMG and never an issue, just a saving.


  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    June 30, 2014 at 08:45

    Oh, shenanigans are afoot, there’s thievery allegations & freedom defenses. At this early stage I’ll side with Rebellion I think.


    • Kromas

      June 30, 2014 at 09:03

      Giving out free pre-order dlc to those affected as well as refunds seem to indicate that they are fighting on the side of right at this moment. The 3rd party distro’s are just having a fit that their reputation took a small hit.

      Tip one of buying games on steam. BUY THE GAMES ON STEAM! Preferably on a summer sale. (my wallet has felt the hurt but I am happy)


      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        June 30, 2014 at 09:13

        Thankfully it’s practically over. I bought a few more than I expected too.

        Also, RED TEAM FTW!


        • Kromas

          June 30, 2014 at 09:14

          GO GO RED TEAM!!! …. I never won anything though 🙁


          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 30, 2014 at 09:23

            You mean besides being a PC gamer? We got a shiny championship red team badge.

          • Kromas

            June 30, 2014 at 09:42

            Was hoping to get South Park and 2 other games for free but meh I did get some nice backgrounds and loads of other junk for DotA etc etc etc.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 30, 2014 at 09:54

            I only kept a couple of the background & emoticons. Chucked the rest up on the market just to get them out of my inventory. Can only get 1c for most of them, but sold enough to buy a syandana for my warframe 😀

          • Kensei Seraph

            June 30, 2014 at 09:26

            Well you got more points than anyone else on my friends list, so you win that.
            Edit: Wait, I missed the guy who got 153 points…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 30, 2014 at 09:37

            I ended up on 42 points. I lol’d when I saw that.

        • ToshZA

          June 30, 2014 at 09:28

          I bought exactly 0 games this sale. Yeah, none. Nothing I wanted went on sale. Yay wallet. 😀


          • Kensei Seraph

            June 30, 2014 at 09:30

            2 games for me.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 30, 2014 at 09:39

            Going into it there were 4 I wanted, got them all on a nice special. So pretty happy with that.

  3. UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    June 30, 2014 at 08:52

    To be honest there were issues with keys inside boxes previously with physical copies too… So you can’t escape the issues in general.


  4. Liquid Kaz (Umar)

    June 30, 2014 at 08:54

    Pretty shitty, it’s still very much up in the air, but some of these vendors are pretty reputable as well and I’m pretty sure these weren’t stolen. Even if they were duped into buying it, the consumer paid for it legitimately. It should’ve been handled better than just just cancelling these codes


  5. MakeItLegal

    June 30, 2014 at 09:11

    Wow ! Some thing is happening , it’s only Monday ! Multi million dollar games multi million dollar scandles , indie games are comming !!!


  6. Kensei Seraph

    June 30, 2014 at 09:22

    The whole thing is dependent on whether or not those keys are actually stolen.
    If they are stolen then it should be fully within both Rebellion’s rights to cancel them if the retailer they were stolen from requests it.


  7. luai80

    June 30, 2014 at 10:31

    me too


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