Overfall, a strategy role-playing game released in 2016, has been revoked from some player’s Steam libraries due to the developer, they allege, being “scammed” by an unnamed publisher. The issue is that some of those keys ended being sold to players on Fanatical, a legitimate Steam key seller, and some players who bought the game from there have lost access to the game, too.
Earlier today, some players signed into Steam and were faced with a message stating that, “A Steam Product code you activated has been removed from your account,” and identifying the product as Overfall. The people in that thread mostly say they purchased the game via a bundle on digital game storefront Fanatical in 2018.
In response to understandable frustration from players, Overfall’s developers Pera Games posted a brief response on the game’s Steam forum. In the post, they allege that years ago they made a deal with a “publisher” (scare quotes theirs) and handed over 30,000 Steam keys. The publisher never returned any payment for the keys, which then started “being sold on other fraud sites. This is why we had to revoke them without knowing where those keys have been sold.”
They state in that post that Fanatical is not who scammed them, nor one of the fraud sites. The post initially ended with a brief, “We’re very well aware that you’re aggrieved. Take care all.”
Two later updates to the post add further clarification about the involvement of Fanatical, underlining that the developers “never blamed” the online store and “never will.” What they seem to be alleging happened is that the developers handed over 30,000 keys to someone, didn’t receive any payment in return, and then the keys ended up being sold on different websites – some grey market, and some legitimate like Fanatical. Without being able to tell what keys ended up where, they’ve revoked all the keys.
To attempt to rectify the situation, the developers say they have provided Fanatical “all the keys that got revoked from their bundles, and they’ll make sure you’ll receive them in the near future.” They add that they’re “genuinely very sorry to have this happen to you guys and wanted to fix it as soon as possible.”
It’s not uncommon for keys to be gained via illegimate methods – credit card chargbebacks, for example – and then end up on grey market resellers, before later being revoked by developers who would otherwise be left out of pocket. This is the risk you take when you buy Steam keys from third-party sellers: you don’t know where the keys came from, and you might lose what you paid for at a later date.
It’s unusual in this instance that it’s happening years after the fact, and that some of those keys ended up on a legimtimate Steam key seller. Revoking the keys has hurt players who had a reasonable expectation that they owned the game fair and square – although it’s a reminder that we only license the games in our Steam library, and they can disappear without warning.