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The Curious Case of the Steam CD Key Trading

by johnsmithcan1

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Here’s a painful irony—in an attempt to protect them, the PC gaming developers only succeeded in turning away serious gamers. How so? In one word: inconvenience. More and more people are going online to buy a Steam CD key not only because the titles are cheaper (although this is already a huge incentive in itself) but it’s actually easier to install these games compared to the box sets sold on shelves.

The product key

Why should you make all effort to go to your favourite store, suffer the queue toward the cashier and open the box and only to see a disc that will still connect you to the company website to download the game? That’s a rather convoluted way to enjoy a game. There are even some titles that won’t allow you to play a game offline. So what happens if your Internet connection is down? Should you go to the local gaming shop just so you can get your fix?

So what happens is you enter the product key to install the program but also make sure you store it in some safe place. In the event that your system crashes and you need to reinstall the program, you will need the product key again. Unlike when you buy a Sniper Elite V2 Steam CDkey online, for example, when the process will be limited to two steps: download then install.

Wrong delivery

Here’s another issue when the product key on the boxed set. What if the distributor ships the wrong key? The CD that you buy will be rendered useless. Of course, you can call the distributor to send you the right key but it would be too much of a hassle particularly if the store is somewhat a distance away.

There are also other issues concerning product keys such as the controversial “multi-ban” which affects products that are bound together as in the case of expansion packs. If the key is banned, all the players using that same account will also be banned. Then you have “false positives” when the system or server detect cheats or cracks in the product, which are considered a violation of the license. But what really happens is the player installed the game on an open software system like Linux and used software like Wine to run the game which fooled the server as a result.

If going online is the easier and cheaper route, can you really make a justification for buying a boxed set rather than the Origin CD key?

Computer Games are Safe and legal?

It still boils down to security and legality. If it’s legal and safe, why is the Steam CD key so cheap? First because the vendors buy the keys at wholesale prices so all the savings are passed on to the consumer. Second, the keys are directly bought from distributors in the UK, which imposes no levies and charges and allow the vendors to save as much as 20%. What is illegal is when you knowingly purchase stolen CD keys

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