Online retailer Amazon is already known for its video game deals and discounts. Not only does it offer money off of certain releases to Prime subscribers, but also it offers free games and DLC through Twitch Prime, the subscription service on its streaming platform. However, some shoppers were a little suspicious of some recent cut-price games offered listed on the online retailer's website.
Survival game Frostpunk and city-builder Surviving Mars were recently listed on Amazon for $3 and $4, respectively. Given that these games are sold on other marketplaces for $30 each, gamers were understandably suspicious of these low prices. As talk of the listings began to circulate on social media, one Reddit user named CodependentlyWealthy decided to buy Frostpunk to investigate. When CodependentlyWealthy dug into the code of the game, they discovered that the game was indeed a pirated copy.
The Reddit user figured it out by digging into the game's files, noting that although an organization called Ace Media Group LLC had created its own working installer for the game, the uninstaller doesn't work. "GOG-specific metadata files and Galaxy64.dll (for GOG Galaxy client integration) in the install dir.," explains CodependentlyWealthy, confirming that the DRM version of the game had been purchased on GOG before being repackaged and sold to shoppers on Amazon.
In a statement, Frostpunk developer 11 Bit Studios confirmed that the listings were illegitimate. The developer added that it had contacted Amazon and that it is "working on a solution, that will satisfy all parties, including the people who bought the game." It also encouraged those who bought the game from Amazon to get in touch at email@example.com.
Amazon has now removed the pirated listings for both Frostpunk and Surviving Mars. However, some gamers are still frustrated that the listings were allowed in the first place, especially as it is just the latest problem that Amazon has had with its game listings. For instance, the retailer also canceled pre-orders for Pokemon Let's Go several weeks ago due to an incorrect listing. The move left fans devastated and fearful that they wouldn't be able to secure a copy of the game and the Poke Ball Plus peripheral.
Additionally, shoppers were disappointed to learn that Amazon isn't offering pre-orders on major PS4 exclusives including Marvel's Spider-Man and Days Gone. Given how many people buy games from the retailer and how so many game creators both big and small rely upon Amazon for a sizeable portion of revenue, it will be difficult for people to dismiss these problems quickly. Amazon also benefits a great deal from gamers and has made efforts to appeal to the demographic (including with its purchase of Twitch), but these recent events may leave some thinking twice.