Overfall, a 2016 strategy role-playing game, has been removed from several Steam libraries, allegedly due to the developer being “scammed” by an unspecified publisher. The problem is that some of those keys were sold to players on Fanatical, a legal Steam key seller, and some of those players have lost access to the game as well.
Some Steam users received a message earlier today saying that “A Steam Product code you enabled has been deleted from your account,” and describing the product as Overfall. The majority of the people in that thread claim they bought the game as part of a package on the digital game storefront Fanatical in 2018.
Pera Games, the game’s creators, posted a brief response on the game’s Steam forum in response to players’ understandable dissatisfaction. They say in the post that they made a deal with a “publisher” (scare quotes theirs) and gave over 30,000 Steam keys years ago. The publisher never returned the keys, which were then “sold on other fraud pages, which is why we had to revoke them without knowing where those keys had been sold,” according to the publisher.
They say in that post that neither Fanatical nor one of the fraud sites scammed them. Originally, the post ended with a brief, “We’re well aware of your dissatisfaction. Take care of yourself, everybody.”
Two subsequent additions to the post provide more detail about Fanatical’s presence, emphasizing that the developers “never blamed” and “never would” the online store. What they seem to be saying is that the developers handed over 30,000 keys to anyone, did not receive payment, and then the keys were sold on various websites – some gray market, some legal, such as Fanatical. They’ve revoked all the keys and they can’t tell where the keys ended up.
To try to make things right, the developers have sent Fanatical “all the keys that got revoked from their bundles, and they’ll make sure you get them in the near future,” according to the developers. They go on to say that they’re “sincerely very sorry” that this happened to them and that they “wanted to fix it as soon as possible.”
It’s not unusual for keys to be obtained by illegal means – such as credit card chargebacks – and then sold on the black market, only to be revoked by developers who would otherwise be out of pocket. When you buy Steam keys from third-party vendors, you run the risk of not knowing where the keys come from and possibly losing what you paid for.
It’s odd that this is happening years later, and that some of the keys have ended up on a legal Steam key seller. Players who had a rational belief that they owned the game fairly and squarely have been harmed by the revocation of the keys – but it serves as a reminder that we only license the games in our Steam library, and they can vanish at any time.