Over the weekend, some thrifty gamers spotted a deal on Amazon. A downloadable version of the tough strategy survival sim Frostpunk was available on the Amazon Marketplace from a third-party seller for $3, which is a 90 percent discount from the standard $30 price. But after looking into the game, some customers who dropped the three bucks had some questions. For example, why does the metadata for this version of Frostpunk refer to the DRM-free version that people can buy from GOG.
“It’s piracy,” Reddit user CodependentlyWealthy wrote on in the GameDeals forum. “Someone took the GOG version of the game, repackaged it with their own installer signed and published by ‘Ace Media Group LLC,’ and submitted it to Amazon. The installer looks fairly legit, but the uninstaller doesn’t work. They left GOG-specific metadata files and Galaxy64.dll (for GOG Galaxy client integration) in the install dir.”
This sent the Savvy Gamer, Lewie Procter, on a search for answers from Amazon. He found that no one at the company was able to provide a satisfactory answer for him — even though this has also happened to games Surviving Mars, Observer, and Lords of Xulmia.
So I reached out to Amazon, and it provided the following statement from a company spokesperson:
“Our customers trust that when they make a purchase through Amazon’s store — either directly from Amazon or from its third-party sellers — they will receive authentic products, and we take any claims that endanger that trust seriously. We strictly prohibit the sale of counterfeit products, and these games have been removed.”
That’s all it would say on this. For its part, Frostpunk developer 11 Bit Studios said it was able to get the deal shut down quickly by reaching out to Amazon. But it is also now dealing with supporting sales of a game that is not legitimate, does not connect to Steam or any other service to receive updates, and did not provide any revenue for 11 Bit.
“Currently, we are working on a solution that will satisfy all parties, including the people who bought the game,” reads an 11 Bit statement. “Anyone who [bought the game through this deal] should reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do all we can to fix this.”
I’ve reached out to 11 Bit for more, and I’ll follow up this report with any new information from the company about what Amazon did to rectify the situation. In the meantime, go play Frostpunk, which is easily one of my favorite games of the year so far.