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win8linux

Game dev revokes buyer's Steam key after negative review of their game

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

Liam Dawe of GamingOnLinux reports about a reader who got their Steam key revoked after they left a negative review on a game:
https://www.gamingonlinux.com/articles/game-developer-revokes-a-users-steam-key-after-negative-review.12787
 

Quote

Depth of Extinction is a game that went through itch's "First Access" program where they sold limited amounts of keys across various rounds. Like a lot of games that start off on itch.io, the developer promised a Steam key when the game makes into onto Valve's store. So to make matters worse, this was a user who helped fund them a little before the wider release.

Here is the locked thread about the issue and the original review that started it all can be found here.

 

Interesting opinions from the article's author (Liam Dawe) about game ownership:

Quote

It does also bring up some interesting questions about how easy it is for developers to remove peoples access to their games. While it's a system that can help developers in certain situations, it's also a system that is quite obviously open to a bit of abuse. I do have to wonder what Valve think about this as well, so I've reached out to them for a comment and I will update this if they reply.

 

This does make another interesting case for DRM free games outside of Steam, since a developer can't just take away your ability to play it. While a DRM free store could remove the game from you, you're still able to fully back it up yourself.


Personal opinion: This could concern some gamers who may feel that they could easily lose access to their games should a dev not like what they are doing, even if their actions are justified (such as a bad review). This seems like a good time to discuss how much do we actually own in today's world of gaming. It is situations like these that make me thankful for the existence of DRM-free alternatives like GOG (even if they don't care much for Linux) and itch (better stewards of Linux gaming, but not many big games).

Edited by win8linux
Added some more details, opinions, and sources
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thats possibly the worst reaction you could have to a negative review.

 

not only is this now public, you are also literally taking something that is not yours anymore. the guy bought the key, so if you take that away without refund you're basically stealing.


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4 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

thats possibly the worst reaction you could have to a negative review.

 

not only is this now public, you are also literally taking something that is not yours anymore. the guy bought the key, so if you take that away without refund you're basically stealing.

That all depends on what terms are in the licensing agreement tbf...


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It's this all over again with what happened to Total Biscuit 
 


also, this post doesn't follow the forum's posting rules
 

 

 

 


 

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If the person paid for the key and maybe even if they didn't, then that's called theft on the part of the game developer, and is no different than if somebody walks into your house and takes a physical possession that you have.

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24 minutes ago, Ben Quigley said:

That all depends on what terms are in the licensing agreement tbf...

true, and things here get even muddier since the guy was a part of the early acces process of the game. tough i still think it's wrong :( 


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45 minutes ago, Ben Quigley said:

That all depends on what terms are in the licensing agreement tbf...

Not really, since what property is and what taking another person's property is are things that are defined in law. And once an item passes its first-sale (don't know if that applies in this situation or not) then the seller no longer holds any authority over that item. Software licenses are also a property, and a seller or former possessor of a software license has no legal right to do anything to another person's software license once they have given it to someone else.

 

 

EULA's generally don't count for anything.

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52 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

true, and things here get even muddier since the guy was a part of the early acces process of the game. tough i still think it's wrong :( 

If it was early access, "Those that pay to participate typically help to debug the game, provide feedback and suggestions,". Agreeing with @RollinLower here, that was probably one of the worst reactions the developer could've had to it, they should've responded professionally to the reviewer and addressed the issues they faced in-game.


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Oh boy, if a dev did this to me I'd drag their sorry butts through all the mud I could find and make so much negative press they'd regret not having just that one negative review on Steam...

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Why is this even a thing Steam lets a developer do? In what situation would it be acceptable or even legal to revoke someone's game key?


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Sauron'stm Product Scores:

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Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

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A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

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A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Hi P said:

I'd guess hacking or something similar

Even then you could easily ban their account from online play, there's no need to revoke their key...


<Make me a sandwich.> <No! Make it yourself!> <Sudo make me a sandwich.> <FINE.> What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D  CoC F.A.Q Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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Anyone remember 

 

Day One: Garry's Shitty Incident? 


Please tag me if you need assistance or if you want me to contribute to a topic 

 

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Just now, D13H4RD2L1V3 said:

Anyone remember 

 

Day One: Garry's Shitty Incident? 

The Streisand effect made sure we all do :P


<Make me a sandwich.> <No! Make it yourself!> <Sudo make me a sandwich.> <FINE.> What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D  CoC F.A.Q Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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In other news, another thin skinned dev does something extremely stupid.
 

While the situation was resolved in the end and they apologized for doing that in the first place, it's still a scummy move to revoke a key to a game that someone paid for, even if you think they "didn't enjoy the game".

You don't get to just take away something someone paid without notice just because you don't think they are enjoying your product, you refund them, plain and simple, otherwise it's theft.


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30 minutes ago, Bouzoo said:

Have the devs learnes nothing? 

The devs in the modern ages are simply arrogant c*cksuckers that only cares about microtransactions and are only in for quick cash-grab while their games are riddled and filled with bugs, bugs and more bugs and perfomance issues..

Games were a lot of fun before 2008. And now they are damn lazy.

 

I avoid devs like that, especially if they revoke your purchased licenses after you placed a negative review. You HAVE BOUGHT the fucking license and they steal it just for a fucking negative review?? Outrageous bullshit!

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45 minutes ago, Sauron said:

Why is this even a thing Steam lets a developer do? In what situation would it be acceptable or even legal to revoke someone's game key?

If the key was bought with a stolen card for instance, maybe? 

 

Like grey market keys.


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35 minutes ago, Ben Quigley said:

If the key was bought with a stolen card for instance, maybe? 

 

Like grey market keys.

I guess... although I kind of feel Steam itself should be responsible for that, not the developer.


<Make me a sandwich.> <No! Make it yourself!> <Sudo make me a sandwich.> <FINE.> What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D  CoC F.A.Q Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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Responding to a comment in the article's discussion section:

 

Quote
Quote

What property is and what taking another person's property is are things that are defined in law. And once an item passes its first-sale (don't know if that applies in this situation or not) then the seller no longer holds any authority over that item. Software licenses are also a property, and a seller or former possessor of a software license has no legal right to do anything to another person's software license once they have given it to someone else.

 

Question: How are then OpenSource licenses supposed to work, e.g. GPLv3?:

 

Quote

You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License (including any patent licenses granted under the third paragraph of section 11).

 

Lots of things about digital licenses are personal inventions with no real-world applicability - that is to say that lots of things about digital licenses are not based in law, have never undergone legal scrutiny in a court, and frequently are outright contradicted by laws.

 

I don't know about GPLv3, other than to say that it doesn't involve an item which was traded for money, and so the first-sale doctrine doesn't automatically apply.

 

But, any digital license should be read with the understanding that a fantasy cult has been built around digital licensing, where those who write them regularly do so from a misguided assumption that because digital items are not physical items that just automatically means that a publisher of a digital license is its god to dictate everything concerning that item's future usage. In reality, property is counted in law as both tangible (physical items) and intangible (non-physical items - bonds, stocks, licenses, patents, etc) and the same rules generally apply to both of them: If you give something to somebody, you've given that item to that person and so it is no longer yours to make any claims regarding.

 

https://www.superbrokers.ca/library/glossary/terms/intangible_property.php

 

An Intellectual Property is an intangible property, and so is a license granted to make use of an IP via a non-reproduceable instance (such as software) of it - but they are distinct intangible properties. While a publisher hands out the right to use their IP when it grants a license, they don't hand away the IP itself and so the right to reproduce copies of their IP for distribution remains with the IP holder.

 

So, the GPLv3 wording sounds valid when it says "Any attempt otherwise to propagate... it is void". However, the claim of "Any attempt otherwise to... modify it is void" doesn't sound like it is true, to me. And, I wonder how  the part that says "... and will automatically terminate your rights under this License" regarding a modified personal instance could be enforced. I don't think it could be.

 

The GPLv3 wording sounds to me like it's trying to prevent people from duplicating a licensed work and also from trying to get around that restriction by modifying it and distributing it then as their own work. But, prevention of distribution of modified copies is already accomplished in saying that people may not distribute the work because a distributed modified copy still counts as a distributed copy of the original work in copyright law. So, saying anything about modifying it is redundant.

 

The GPLv3 wording seems redundant and unrefined to me and, like any claim, is ignorable to the extent that it is invalid before law. And, I think that the parts beyond claiming that people may not distribute duplicates of the digital item are fluff. If the GPLv3 wording is trying to make it clear to the public that modified copies still count as original copies, then it can be worded better.

 

Many publishers write digital licenses knowing that they don't count for much beyond their psychological influence to invoke or prevent certain end-user behaviours - which is something publishers still consider to be valuable.

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Devs should not physically be able to revoke purchased keys.


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Its times like this that 'piracy' is a legitmate fallback option. Though if a game dev revokes your ability to play a game you purchased bassed on somthing like a bad review, and you then get a cracked version of the game to play instead ..is that still 'piracy'  ..technical you have paid for the game.


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