March 13, 2012
The Dangers of Being Kicked in the Face
UPDATE UPDATE: In case you missed it, I did a follow-up. I linked it on the bottom of this post for good measure.
UPDATE: GATT has responded to my post. They've also removed the link in their header. Luckily it lives on below. Since I'm being accused of libel and threatened with lawyers (though I'm not sure why, they've got a bit of libel going on in their own vicious counter post), I've removed most of my final paragraph and a few harsher accusations, which was mostly unsubstantiated speculation. However, the idea that the ad was some kind of context sensitive gaff is ridiculous. I still highly recommend you don't purchase this bundle.
The Indie Face Kick bundle has been making the rounds lately, and it seemed like a great deal of a package. Eight new indie games, consisting of Booster Trooper, Dead Horde, Sol Survivor, Avencast, Runespell: Overture, Still Life 2, Post Apocalyptic Mayham and Greed Black Border. An eccentric mix, but some good games mixed in all the same.
However, there was something off. Whether it was the unprofessional trailer, the lack of any sort solid information from the bundle runners, or just the weird selection of games (some of which aren't even really indie games like Still Life), it didn't seem to sit right. However, thanks to an eagle eyed user on the GOG forums, I was informed that the site running the bundle, Gaming: All the Time, had something really alarming on their own site.
On the main page of the site, which appears for all intents and purposes to be a general reviews and previews site, there is a ridiculously fishy link for "Need Cheap Steam Keys?" on the top bar. Following the link leads to one of many sites devoted to reselling illegitimate Russian Steam keys. From this site, they offer far cheaper copies of Steam keys, Origin keys, GFWL keys and others, advertising a quick delivery and educating one on the use of VPNs to bypass region locks, a practice against Steam's ToS and liable to get your account locked.
As some of you may know, Steam prices are far cheaper in Russia to combat a widespread piracy problem. This has lead to a new issue, in which shady sites buy Russian Steam keys wholesale and resell them to users in other countries. Gaming: All the Time, for whatever reason, is advertising one of these illegitimate sites.
A WHOIS search reveals that the sites appear to be registered to separate owners (thanks to Marcus E, who also started researching this shady business after I did the first thing any self respecting geek would and alerted Twitter). While this is clearly just an advertisement, it is a deliberate one and not context sensitive as the editors of GATT seem to compare it to.
I have alerted many major gaming news outlets to this development, and I am in the process of reaching out to the developers of the games involved in this promotion for comment. This post will be updated as necessary. Please help out by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, and other such outlets.
UPDATE: The story continues on the next post.