Steam key giving stopped for new buyers

Posted July 17th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

[Edit 18/7: To be super clear: Everyone who bought the game from our site before July 17th is still entitled to their key, and can still get it from the automated key distributor. This change only affects new purchases made in the future. This story has gotten a weirdly huge amount of press, but it’s a mountain from a molehill. Only about 85 keys were cancelled in total – less than 0.1% of the total being distributed.]

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’.

The game is, of course, for sale on Steam if you want a Steam copy. Buying from our site will give DRM-free copies as before, but no Steam key.

All the stolen keys are being cancelled, and should be deactivated before they can be sold (or soon after, depending on how fast Valve does it). The funds they were stolen with are being returned to their rightful owners. If you don’t want to get ripped off by fraudsters, be sure to buy direct from Steam.

If you bought direct from us before July 17 and find your key cancelled, it may be due to a separate glitch we had, entirely unrelated to fraud. This affected only a few dozen people. You should be able to get a new key immediately from the Steam key giver, and continue playing where you left off. The Support page has a bit more info about this.

40 Responses to “Steam key giving stopped for new buyers”

  1. Calahan

    I don’t know if you can edit Steam news articles, but the one that was published on July 15th (most recent news article at time of posting) says…

    “A business note – If you want, buying it from our site[] is better for us. 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.”

    So you might want to correct that asap in case an angry “I demand my Steam Key” mob starts forming.

  2. Thanks Calahan. I’ve gone around and edited the article here, on Steam, and on Facebook.

  3. Tanis

    I respect your decision and agree.

  4. Prettykrazy

    Pretty unfortunate that people are abusing the system/your generosity, although people usually do if given the chance. I hope this experience doesn’t discourage you from doing something like this again. So far the launch has been excellent. Your kindness regarding the steam keys and just general dev updates is appreciated by the community at large.
    With the sudden expansion of the community, the crowd management may continue being hectic so best of luck to ya and i hope things smooth out for you soon. Anyways thanks for all your hard work and hair pulling. 🙂

  5. Makkenhoff

    I’m glad your being upfront on this, hope things smooth out soon.

  6. Mattk50

    I was worried something like this might happen when I was having trouble activating my steam key… though i might have been that “separate glitch affecting a few dozen”, people tend to find ways to exploit those glitches to their own benefit.

    You made the absolute right decision to shut it down now and figure out what you can do while you take a breather. there is absolutely no need for you to fight this live, take your time, solve vulnerabilities and see if you can close the loops, protect your business. If you solve it, resume, if its outside your control, then so be it.

  7. BloodyHell

    Greedy people are why we cannot have nice things, it sucks to hear that you had to go through this but I feel you made the right decision and hope that it saves you your sanity.

    I do have a question though but figure a comments section might not be the best place for this – anyways.
    Q: On the key transfer site for activating the Steam key it says the transfer is permanent but I’m finding mixed information on what that means, perhaps you can clarify.

    I bought in somewhere around Alpha6, so quite some time ago.
    If I transfer the SendOwl key to Steam via the key transfer on this site, will I be able to update both (Steam and SendOwl) versions also for all future releases ?
    Or is the transfer a one-way, meaning that after the transfer I’ll only be able to update via Steam and SendOwl will no longer provide updated versions for download ?

    That has not been fully clear to me.
    I’m in no rush, so it it turns out that asking via a comment was a bad idea, I’ll contact support from my purchase email account.

    So far I’m loving the new version and am looking forward to all the “essential” mods being updated, most of them already are.
    Great job, Tynan !

  8. Lone Scout

    First of all, I love this game, it rocks!

    I´m still quite confused about all this Steam subject. The fact is, as I am not interested in having the game on steam, I haven’t even tried to get my key. I prefer the DRM-Free SendOwl link. I wouldn´t mind seeing Rimworld distributed somewhere else, anyway (*cough* *GOG* *cough*).
    My questions are:
    -Will the DRM-Free version be kept updated and supported as well?
    -If we redeem the steam key, is there a possiblity that we lose our right to a DRM-Free release in the future?
    -In the hypothetical case that Rimworld some day gets distributed through another platform, will I have the chance to get my installation moved to this platform, as it has been possible on Steam?


  9. Lone Scout
    1. DRM-free will continue to be updated, yes.
    2. If there’s some major abuse, we might have to do this, but so far it doesn’t seem necessary.
    3. This is unlikely.

  10. BloodyHell

    That basically also answered my question, thank you Tynan for being so active in the community.
    I guess with that I’ll be transferring my SendOwl key over to Steam then as well – no harm done and no loss if both version will still be available to us.

    Thank you.

  11. wocabec

    Is there the possibility in the future to get the drm-free version on website if you bought on Steam?

  12. wocabec – sorry, no.

  13. visibledark

    Aww man, that sucks. Last Friday I had read the dev post on steam talking about buying the game directly from the site (and still getting a steam key). Today I bought the game without reading the updates on the situation. I really wanted to have steam workshop integration 🙁

  14. zenespreso

    Bought your game (for Mac) a while ago. Love it. I’ll just buy again on Steam outright. Keep up the good work.

  15. Supes

    I don’t mind Steam DRM, and I would understand if you decided to distribute the game as Steam only.

    You shouldn’t lose out on sales for the game you spent so much time and money in making. Piracy is a plague for developers.

  16. Muff the Muffalo

    Hey Tynan,

    I bought the game back in Alpha 10 but since the Steam key generator didn’t work immediately, I bought it again on Steam because I wanted to give you some extra moneys but also immediately play on Steam. When the generator worked, I got a key and gave it to my girlfriend (so I didn’t technically get you extra moneys after all, sorry!). Will her key now stop working? I get that this is a very specific case but i think it might apply to a number of people.

  17. Muff the Muffalo

    Edit: A second reading of this suggests that we shouldn’t be affected since I bought the game sometime last year. Thanks for the great work you’re doing, your involvement in the community and making our lives better with this great game. I hope you get at least a little wealthy with this product!

  18. AV

    G2A, cancer of the industry.

  19. Adam Kallin

    Not sure if this would solve it, but Humble Widgets let’s you keep 95% of revenue.

  20. Christopher

    That’s garbage. I bought my copy direct from Ludeon the other day to (hopefully?) ensure a greater portion of the proceeds made it into the right pockets. I was going to suggest friends do the same. Really unfortunate turn.

    Definitely look into Adam’s suggestion of selling via Humble. It’d be great if we could have another option–not that I’m opposed to Valve taking a cut, I just think your efforts should be rewarded as fully as possible.

  21. Hikuzu

    So, I agree with Christopher,
    I bought it here for the exact same reasons as him, and hoped to have a steam key.
    But, because of the impossibility to have a steam key I’d like to have a refund to buy it on Steam.

  22. Unicorn

    A way to circumvent this issue is by using non-tradable steam gifts, which should be distributed through an official steam account using a short time verification code.

  23. TechnoMule

    Holy crap, Tynan, what a shitty thing to happen. Scammers are a blight on the industry. There are lots of them, but there are even more honest gamers out there wishing you the best. I don’t blame you at all for having to shut down the Steam key service.

    What are some possible solutions for this? Selling the game on your site earns you the best percentage, but giving Steam keys in addition to the DRM free version has a big draw too.

    Could you have a waiting period where you get the DRM free version immediately but can’t pick up a Steam key for a week or so?

    Or like Unicorn suggests, a non-tradable Steam gift could work?

    Don’t let the scammers get to you. You’ve made an awesome game, and you’ve kept all your fans in the loop as to what’s going on. You’re one of the good ones. Thanks for everything.

  24. Thulen

    Steam could do with an option to only allow trading between steam friends,no keys given at all.

    Not a fan of site like g2a wich allows resale of keys, it will be abused and its been for years doing charge backs on credit cards after they sold the keys.

  25. Hannes

    Oh, look. Rimworld Keys at G2A.

    F*ck G2A. Thank god, I bought Rimworld a while ago. Having it on Steam is a nice gimick, but not too useful (Cloudsaves, Achievements).

  26. moo

    To be fair, the idea behind G2A is customer friendly, but the company itself isn’t. Instead of battling fraud, they just support it by shoving the shield down your throat.

    At least finally some dev who steps up and actually revokes those crap keys.
    Hopefully more to follow.

  27. […] a post on the Ludeon blog dated 17th July, Sylvester said that following RimWorld’s launch on Steam as an Early Access […]

  28. […] been getting hammered by fraudsters who are obviously more experienced at this than I,” he writes. “Shutting it down for now is the only way to avoid thousands of dollars in chargeback fees […]

  29. […] a post on the Ludeon blog dated 17th July, Sylvester said that following RimWorld’s launch on Steam as an Early Access […]

  30. […] all-too-familiar situation involving chargeback fraud has been reported by Ludeon Studios, developers of Rimworld. The game arrived on Steam Early Access last Friday, and […]

  31. […] a post on the Ludeon Studios blog, developer Tynan Sylvester explained, “I’ve been forced to stop offering Steam keys for […]

  32. […] a post on the Ludeon Studios blog, developer Tynan Sylvester explained, “I’ve been forced to stop offering Steam […]

  33. […] a post on the Ludeon Studios blog, developer Tynan Sylvester explained, "I’ve been forced to stop offering Steam keys for […]

  34. AtreiNero

    Honestly it is things like this that make me sick. I bought this game back in alpha 6 i believe on the advice of a friend, and to think that people who just want it without actually investing is wrong.

    I’m not saying people who buy a legit copy on sale are bad, it is those who deliberately go to those second hand sites top get things that are wrong. Great for you for taking a stand against this and for then slapping them with deactivated keys.

    I used the option of a steam key myself, and have already redeemed it to my steam account. I will continue to enjoy both versions, as I do not use my sent owl downloads to give to others, just use two for the two different computers that I play on.

    I really wanted the steam key for the workshop integration and the ability for cloud saves, but a Google Drive account and knowing where the games are saved makes transferring saves a bit longer, but still easy. Once you have everything figured out.

    This is just a perfect example of why we can’t have nice things. Again you took a stand, and if anyone complains, then they clearly do not understand the problem. Looking forward to future updates and continued work.

  35. […] a thing, and its grubby Jawa hordes will gladly strip easy marks for parts. Sylvester explained in a blog post over the […]

  36. James

    To my understanding, fighting exactly this threat is a significant part of WHY Steam has to take a cut. Sorry to hear you got bit by this.

  37. […] a thing, and its grubby Jawa hordes will gladly strip easy marks for parts. Sylvester explained in a blog post over the […]

  38. user

    Imagine my surprise when I woke up to a message from Valve saying my rimworld key was revoked. Certainly a shocker. I ended up purchasing Rimworld through steam and got the money I spent on the key from G2A refunded. Great game. G2A needs to get their shit together and not let their service be used as a platform for this kind of conduct.

  39. ΣπΩ

    Is there any plan to allow someone to buy a copy from you now and get a steam key at a later date? Say at launch out of Early Access?

    Thank you.

  40. Bobi

    It’s yours last word? I would like to get both. Play with steam on Windows, and maybe later without Steam on Linux.