Deep Silver have cancelled a load of Metro Exodus Steam keys sold through key resellers after discovering, they say, the keys had been stolen from the factory making boxed copies. Metro Exodus switched to Epic Games Store exclusivity late enough in development that they produced physical PC copies set up for Steam, then swapped out the Steam keys for Epic keys and stuck Epic stickers over the Steam logo. Apparently some scoundrel scooped those abandoned Steam keys to sell on, Deep Silver found out, and they've now cancelled those keys, removing the game from the Steam libraries of players who bought them.
While Metro Exodus is not currently sold on Steam, the game is still on Steam because Deep Silver had sold pre-orders for a Steam release. You can't buy it directly anymore but if you get a Steam key elsewhere, you can activate that on Steam and still receive updates and DLC. For people who'd rather use Steam than Epic's client, or just like rarities, apparently that's worth chancing the grey market.
While there are legit Metro Exodus Steam keys still floating around, bought from authorised resellers, Deep Silver say the lot they cancelled are "illegal stolen keys." They don't say whether the keys were physical printed items taken from the boxes or swiped from a list intended for the printers, but I suppose that distinction's a matter for the authorities. Deep Silver explained on Thursday:
"These keys have been obtained illegally from the factory where physical key printing had taken place prior to the announcement of exclusivity with Epic Games, due to the criminal nature of these keys, all unlicensed keys have been deactivated and activation / download of Metro Exodus without the executable file is no longer possible. In addition, the software will be removed from the Steam library of any players using an unauthorised code. The keys being sold on this platform are stolen goods, and are therefore illegal."
Which, yeah, is fair enough. However you feel about the switch to Epic exclusivity, that does seem a pretty clear case of someone selling stolen goods. I suppose they could leave them active as a gesture of goodwill, but there may still be those keys out in the wild, still earning money for the thief. And they won't give you your money back because they never received it.
"If you have been affected we strongly recommend you contact the seller who sold you the unlicensed key and demand a refund," Deep Silver say. Good luck with that.
This is partly why I don't use unauthorised key reseller sites, I just don't know where the keys came from or why they're cheap. Given that I've seen a number of people say they had paid more than the normal £50 price to get Metro Exodus on Steam, or were willing to, I'm guessing many of these weren't even cheap.
Deep Silver did officially sell Metro Exodus Steam keys through the Humble and Razer stores, so if you got a key there you'll be fine. Elsewhere... well, you probably know if Deep Silver revoked your key.
Metro Exodus is due to get a Steam release once its one-year exclusivity period expires, so some time after February 14th, 2020. What a shame that this sprawling, stinking exclusivity mess has overshadowed the launch of a game that's pretty deece, as our Brendy's Metro Exodus review details.