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The Shady Side Of Game Key Resellers

Game key resellers have a reputation for being less trustworthy than major retailers. There's a reason why the GamesDeal subreddit calls them "gray-market" or "unauthorized key resellers." These parties don't have a direct relationship with publishers and typically buy discounted keys in an attempt to profit off of them. However, one particular listing recently caused a great deal of confusion among fans of the "World of Darkness" franchise.

CDKeys recently listed Sharkmob's vampire-based battle royale, "Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt" at a 7% discount (from $20.99 to $19.59), along with a button that would notify customers when the game became available for purchase. The only problem is that "Bloodhunt" is a free-to-play title, and so when people saw that listing, it immediately caused some red flags.

Martyna Zych, a.k.a. Outstar Walker, Brand Community Manager for "World of Darkness," spotted the listing and urged others not to make purchases of "Bloodhunt" from any resellers. She punctuated her public service announcement with multiple clapping emojis and a screenshot of the listing. "More key resellers are putting a price tag on the key," she tweeted. "It's going to be FREE and you can play it starting from tomorrow, DON'T BUY IT!" Even though Walker's tweet warned many gamers away from the listing, there's more to the CDKeys puzzle than fans initially thought.

The truth about the Bloodhunt listing

As Martyna Zych mentioned to customers, the game would be free-to-play the following day — and, as advertised, "Bloodhunt" is now in early access and free to download on Steam. After learning of the game's free-to-play status, CDKeys has since taken down the "Bloodhunt" listing. Luckily, no one has accidentally spent any money on a copy of this free game, at least through CDKeys.

While this instance may have been a misunderstanding, it is worth noting that Zych's post mentioned seeing multiple sites that weren't on the up and up, many of which were claiming to be able to actually sell keys for an unreleased free game. The GameDeals subreddit posted an in-depth guide for how resellers work and how to spot scams for savvy buyers, which could be a strong place to start one's education on key resellers. 

"Bloodhunt" takes place in the "World of Darkness" universe, along with accompanying board games and RPGs like "Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines." Developers for "Bloodhunt" decided to go with a free-to-play model, puttinh it on a similar playing field with other standouts in the popular battle royale genre.