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Fraud hits RimWorld launch for developer and potential charges for Steam keys

Fraud hits RimWorld launch for developer with Steam keys linux mac windows

Fraud is never a good word when an indie developer releases successful base-building strategy such as RimWorld.

Tynan Sylvester, the indie developer behind sci-fi colony sim RimWorld, outlined that he had to shut down Steam key distribution from developer Ludeon Studios’ website to avoid “thousands of dollars” in chargeback fees and missed sales.

RimWorld just launched on Steam for Linux, Mac and Windows PC and already a well-received sci-fi colony game. Created with the inspiration of Dwarf Fortress, Firefly and Dune in mind. Players begin with three survivors of a shipwreck on a distant world. Where they manage colonists’ moods, needs, wounds and illnesses.

To top it off, RimWorld currently has an overwhelmingly positive rating from Steam user reviews.

Developer Post:

In the post for the Ludeon blog dated 17th July, Sylvester points out that following RimWorld’s launch on Steam as an Early Access, the company has been “hammered by fraudsters who are obviously more experienced at this than I”.

Sylvester is enabling a system to coincide with the Early Access launch. Where everyone who already owns RimWorld DRM-free will be able to receive a copy on Steam. So to do this, Steam keys will be sent via by a link and key sender. All prospective players have to do is log into Steam via the RimWorld website. Which will ask for your purchase email. Then the Steam key will permanently bind with your purchase email and Steam account.


This system is where the fraud took place:

“All the stolen keys are being cancelled. Sand should be deactivated before they can be sold (or soon after, depending on how fast Valve does it). The funds they were stolen with are to return to their rightful owners. If you don’t want to get ripped off by fraudsters, be sure to buy direct from Steam.

If you bought direct from us before July 17 and find your key cancelled, it may be due to a separate glitch we had (affecting only a few dozen people). You should be able to get a new key immediately from the Steam key giver, and continue playing where you left off.”

RimWorld and Ludeon Studios’ outlines one of the biggest issues in PC game publishing. Where developers may face serious fees having to charge back due to stolen credit cards used to buy games. The real fraud happens when these same keys are selling via eBay-style PC game websites.

The situation is tough for Sylvester, who asked fans to buy the game from the RimWorld website itself, that way it ensures the money would end up in the developer’s hands, as Valve takes a 30 per cent cut of sales on Steam.
But now, buying from the RimWorld site gets customers a DRM-free copy of the game as before, but no Steam key.

RimWorld is available now on Steam for Linux, Mac and Windows PC, or directly from the official website.

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