Steam Sell Fallout 3 without Keys, Buyers Can’t Play
There’s been something of a mini-controversy on Steam this last weekend. Fallout 3 has been on sale and it seems to have sold so many copies that Steam actually ran out of keys so that people could actually play their game. As of writing it still seems people are getting error messages and are unable to access their new purchase. Of course, Fallout 3 is still available to buy.
As a celebration of Quakecon, Fallout 3 and all of its DLC was made available to purchase at the ridiculously low price of $5. Although it had been at the same price during the Steam Summer Sale, some mix-up in the system this time around has meant that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people have made their purchase and are unable to gain access to their game.
This raises some interesting questions about how the Steam service actually works. In a message posted on the Fallout 3 Steam page, Valve explain the issue:
We have recently ran out of CD keys for this product. As soon as we receive more from the publisher a key will be granted to new owners.
It seems odd that the keys are kept, perhaps even generated on the publishers side of the Steam service. This is presumably to stop problems on the Steam side of things bothering third parties, but you’d think there’d be means of bypassing this system in an emergency.