We have previously spoken in the past about how Steam has an ongoing problem with developers that abuse some of the privileges Valve gives them with the key activation system. And yet despite there being many historical examples showing that this practice of revoking keys is almost career suicide, there are still developers that do it.
In the previous article talking about the practice, we talked about several cases in which developers had mass revoked their Steam keys from legitimate paying customers, and there has been a small development in some of the cases, more specifically surrounding the site OtakuMaker, which is important to know before we talk about the game in question today.
Back in February, there was another incident of mass Steam key revoking that had occurred with the game Ghoulboy – Dark Sword of Goblin from developer Serkan Bakar.
In this incident, OtakuMaker was yet again one of the sites targeted as a result of the keys being revoked, and OtakuMaker were, as with the other instances, incredibly unresponsive to customer inquiries and PayPal refund requests. It was this that then led to the discovery that OtakuMaker had quietly entered liquidation without any form of announcement to developer partners or customers.
— Mellow_Online1 (@MellowOnline1) January 23, 2019
Pushing forward to what we’re talking about today, another developer has gone ahead and revoked Steam keys; however, this developer in particular seems to have gone an extra step and has effectively abandoned his game after revoking the customer keys and pulled its purchase option from Steam.
The game in question is Dumb Stone Card Game developed by FlyingCubicle, describing itself as a “social discarding card game.” The key revocations for the game seemingly occurred on April 6th and it led to the developer to create a discussion post on the game’s community hub explaining himself. Now from the information that’s in the post, it can be seen that edits have been made to the original post, and unfortunately, no archives exist of the page and no Google caches. The best thing that can be used to understand what was included in the original response is by the replies on the thread, specifically comments that are quoting elements of the original post before it was edited on April 11th.
Please go first to the site where you purchased the game initially and contact them. I understand your frustration but thats not the place to let your frustration out. You should first go to the site were you payed for the key.
It can be gathered from this that the developer is implying that the problem of him revoking the Steam keys is not on him, but instead on the key distribution sites that he partnered with. After putting out a public call requesting for some information about where the keys were obtained from, I got a few useful e-mails from people saying that gave the impression the majority of the keys were obtained via the now-defunct OtakuMaker as part of the Otaku Bundle #37, coincidentally the final bundle created on OtakuMaker before they entered liquidation. The fact that these keys came from OtakuMaker already paints a picture as to what happened behind the scenes as other developers have already had similar experiences with OtakuMaker: the game is sold as part of one of OtakuMaker’s bundles, OtakuMaker entered liquidation without telling their partners, developers try to reach out for payment and receive no communication from OtakuMaker, and in protest revoke the Steam user’s keys.
As more users expressed their dissatisfaction with FlyingCubicle’s decision, the developer eventually started to hold himself accountable for his actions in a post on April 9th. While the developer stated he would replace any revoked keys that were sent to him, in a post made the next day, he backtracked and said that he was unable to do so and that he would remove the game from the Steam store.
Unfortunately I cannot reactivate or replace your revoked key and now the game will be removed from Steam and the give away is over.
Thank you !
I tried to do the right thing and I am sorry If I created frustration and anger.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Also think about who tries to help you and tries to solve your problem….
A similar statement about the game getting removed was reiterated on the game’s news feed in a post titled “Game will be removed.” However, in the news post, it’s also revealed that not only is the game getting removed from Steam but the online functionality for the game will be pulled. The game’s single player remains functional, however. The game’s purchase ability was then removed on April 13th with a final news post indicating that a farewell present had been put into the game, and thanks to Steam user Stefan8000, it was shown to me that this farewell present was 1,000 of the game’s currency gifted to owners of the game.
To this day it seems that Steam users have yet to receive any replacement keys and concerning the game’s recent withdrawal from the Steam store and online functionality being cut, it seems unlikely that these keys will ever be returned.
When we reached out to the developer for comment on all the events, he got back to us by saying:
The game is no longer supported.
I don’t give you permission to use my copyrighted Content in any form.
Thank you for your support