Grey market fraud forces indie dev to change way it does business
Ludeon Studios has stopped issuing Steam keys for new purchases of their game through its website due to concerns of credit card fraud and grey market sales. Rimworld can still be bought directly from Steam or via the developers website, but a purchase via the web store will no longer give you a Steam key.
Rimworld went on sale through Steam on July 15. Before that date Ludeon Studios had sold 120,000 copies via its website. So Ludeon”s Tynan Sylvester decided to give Steam codes to all previous owners, so that they could have the game in their Steam library without forking out for it again. Just hours later Sylvester saw a wave of fraudulent transactions hitting Ludeon’s web store. Sylvester said that he was worried about the chargebacks affecting his bottom line, a risk that tinyBuild had brought attention to with its arguments with G2A.
Rimworld can be found on secondary markets for $15, while the game is $29.99 on Steam. Sylvester said that “I can’t fight this ‘live’.” and hopefully this approach is proactive enough to prevent serious losses thanks to chargebacks. A chargeback is when the actual owner of the credit card cancels the fraudulent purchase and gets refunded, even if the goods have left the building, so to speak.