Be careful when buying Steam keys – the expensive bargain price often hides a brazen rip-off
How tempting: On key sites like G2A or Kinguin, you can buy surprise bundles with several Steam keys for a small price – and with a bit of luck, you might even get a real hit like Baldur’s Gate 3
After all, the sellers promise that all the games have positive reviews. But there’s a nasty rip-off scheme behind these bundles, as one YouTuber is now proving.
This is how you get ripped off with random Steam keys
YouTuber Fireborn shows in his video how the scam works with the randomly selected Steam Keys – and why you should definitely stay away from such offers.
1: Atomic Fabrik – the mass producer of game scrap
At the center of the controversy is Atomic Fabrik, a developer studio from Moldova that has produced more than one game per week since the end of 2021.
Many of these games, which are often referred to as shovelware – cheap productions with no real added value – are offered at inflated prices, some even for over 260 dollars. However, this high price does not serve to actually find buyers, but has a much more insidious function
The best way to see for yourself what Atomic Fabrik produces for its cobbled-together, buggy works of art is to watch Fireborn’s video:
2: Fake reviews on Steam
Fireborn reveals that the high prices are part of a scheme to keep the ratings of the games artificially high
In order for a Steam rating to count, a game must be purchased through the platform. By offering Atomic Fabrik games at inflated prices, the company prevents real customers from buying the game and leaving potentially negative reviews.
Instead, positive reviews are posted immediately after release by fake accounts that buy the game at a knockdown price. As soon as these are there, the price of the game is massively increased.
3: The Random Steam Keys rip-off
Another suspicious element in this equation are the so-called Random Key Bundles sold on third-party websites such as G2A. These packages are advertised as random collections of Steam keys, but conspicuously often contain titles from Atomic Fabrik.
Particularly brazen: The key pages promise that the random Steam Keys are only for games that have been positively rated on Steam. In addition, expensive bundles are also sold here that have a certain total value or contain at least one key that is for a game that costs over 50 euros on Steam.
This naturally raises the hopes of potential buyers that they can pick up a real triple-A title for little money. But no one is likely to get a bargain here if the 50-euro title is a game from Atomic Fabrik whose price has simply been increased to over 200 euros
All that remains to be said: The case should not only be a warning to careless buyers, but also an appeal to platforms such as Steam to revise their systems and algorithms to prevent such manipulation in the future.
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