A large number of keys for Sniper Elite 3 have been revoked, leaving customers empty-handed after Valve and developers Rebellion discovered they were stolen and distributed to online third-party retailers.
"We have been saddened to learn that some fans have been caught out by companies selling unlicensed or stolen Sniper Elite 3 Steam keys," wrote Rebellion in a Steam this weekend. "If you have been affected by this we encourage you to contact the seller in question and seek a refund immediately."
The developer is offering a free pre-order Target Hitler DLC package to anyone affected by the revoked keys, but that's not been enough to quell the anger of posters on the game's Steam forum. In response to criticism, Rebellion posted an update.
"We appreciate that some people are upset, this is exactly why we wanted to make this offer to gamers who’ve been affected through no fault of their own," they explain.
"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."
"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."
Even though Rebellion say it's just one set of keys that's been revoked, it's a slightly unsettling development for anyone who regularly uses cheaper third-party code websites. We'll keep an eye out for any further developments.