Home Gaming Steam runs out of keys during sale, but continues selling game

Steam runs out of keys during sale, but continues selling game

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Steam runs out of Blacklist keys 1

Steam Sales don’t feel like the massive event they used to, but every now and then there comes one that you simply can’t pass up. Last week, that was the Splinter Cell sale, which discounted the entire Ubisoft series for savings you’d have to be crazy to pass up. It included a hefty price reduction on the series’ most recent entry, Blacklist. A cut that was so popular, Steam ran out of keys for the game – even though they continued selling it.

In what is becoming a common occurrence for extremely popular sales, Steam is continuing to sell games that require additional keys to work, without actually having them. Purchasing a game on Steam will net to access to the download, but some require key authentication when first trying to install. Splinter Cell: Blacklist is one such title, and Steam simply couldn’t keep up with the demand. As reported by Kotaku, anyone purchasing the game this weekend was met with the following message.

Steam runs out of Blacklist keys

Without that key, the game just does not work – an issue which is forcing many customers to air their irritations on Reddit and the Steam Forums. Some have already filed for a refund, while others are still waiting patiently for keys to come back into stock. According to one user, that was meant to happen yesterday, but it seems Steam is still trying to get its act together.

And while it’s not their fault for having a limited number of keys (which are used to track sales and authenticate games), continuing to sell the game without any sort of indication of the issue is disingenuous. Customers are spending time downloading the game’s full 20GB, only to let it go to waste or be forced to wait to play. It’s a major inconvenience, and one that could easily be avoided with a warning on the store page.

But of course, that’s likely to slow down sales too – so that answers that question.

Last Updated: October 31, 2016


  1. Ottokie

    October 31, 2016 at 09:24

    You could say…they ran out of steam

    (ba dum tss)


    • Admiral Chief - Dragonborn

      October 31, 2016 at 09:32

      GG, Trev-worthy-pun


    • Dungeon of JJ

      October 31, 2016 at 11:32

      Blacklist, so stealthy they can’t even find the keys.


  2. Guild

    October 31, 2016 at 09:28

    Damn. I bought it as well. Haven’t tried to install and play yet. Cause I got a backlog that needs to be worked through


  3. Pariah ???

    October 31, 2016 at 09:29

    So people are complaining, even though they got the game (while on backorder, sure) at a very reduced price?

    Gamers are far too entitled.


    • Darren Peach

      October 31, 2016 at 09:49

      Read my comment….


    • Alessandro Barbosa

      October 31, 2016 at 11:06

      Not being able to play something you purchased because of a lack of keys, without being warned beforehand? Don’t think that constitutes entitlement


      • Pariah ???

        October 31, 2016 at 11:11

        Yeah so when you go to a store. SALE posters everywhere. And they run out of stock. You get turned away with a “sorry out of stock. better luck next time.”. Instead of that, Valve are saying “pay now at sale price, and as soon as we get more keys, they’re yours.”

        And you know, nobody kicks up such a huge fuss when the clothing sale is out of stock.

        So again. Gamers are far too entitled.


        • Alessandro Barbosa

          October 31, 2016 at 11:58

          Except that in this case, the store is selling you the stock. And after you’d paid they’re saying “oops wait sorry there actually isn’t stock, please wait a few days”. If there’s warning, fine. Without being upfront about that, it’s a bit shitty.


        • BakedBagel

          October 31, 2016 at 14:08

          Well, thanks to the CPA the store by law has to provide you with the sale, even tho they dont have it in stock.

          Steam should have added a notification stating they ran out of keys.

          >I pay money for a service
          >I dont receive service
          >I cry on reddit/twitter/etc

          Now people are entitled o_O


    • Andre Fourie

      October 31, 2016 at 12:07

  4. Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

    October 31, 2016 at 09:29

    I guess this guy was off for a day or two?


    • Pariah ???

      October 31, 2016 at 09:29

      GTA2: The Movie


  5. Darren Peach

    October 31, 2016 at 09:48

    I often think of a line form the film Killing Them Softly when I read about this sort of thing in relation to America. It goes like this, America is not a country, It’s just a business…… Now fucking pay me….


  6. Archdruid Kromas

    October 31, 2016 at 10:06

    Reminds me of this. 😛


  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 31, 2016 at 11:07

    Who plays a game on Steam the same day they buy it?


    • Ottokie

      October 31, 2016 at 11:10



    • Pariah ???

      October 31, 2016 at 11:13

      Steam Noobs, obviously. You know the type, no avatar yet set, 3 games in their library, 45k hours in some F2P game, they’re finally branching into real gaming.


  8. Dungeon of JJ

    October 31, 2016 at 11:31

    Cool game.


  9. Avithar

    November 1, 2016 at 11:09

    if there was no keys what were they selling? hopes and dreams?


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