The Force is Not with Steam’s Star Wars Weekend Sale
To mark Star Wars Day (May the 4th, if you still need to ask), Valve had a special Star Wars sale on Steam in which all the Star Wars games in its collection were on sale. Even I rounded out my collection with some games that I have floating around on CD somewhere but would need a fair bit of work to get running again on modern hardware and software.
I ended up getting lucky with my purchases. While the Force can allow you to sense the future, Valve underestimated the popularity of the promotion and ended up short on keys for it.
If you bought Star Wars: Battlefront II or Star Wars: Empire at War – Gold Edition during the weekend, you may not have been able to play the game. That’s because Steam ended up short on CD keys for the games. A quick look at other Star Wars games on sale makes it look like these were the only games affected. As a result, Valve had to go back to LucasArts to get more keys for those games so that they could fulfill the sales they’ve already made.
As of writing, the pages for both games feature a notice saying:
“Notice: We are currently out of keys for this title. We’ve requested more from the publisher and will have those soon. Should you purchase this title, your key will be delivered as soon as we receive it.”
Apparently, people are already starting to get their keys from Steam for Battlefront II and Empire at War. Hopefully all those keys get out there quickly because both games are on GameSpy multiplayer which means that they’ll either need to change servers or the multiplayer will die on May 31st.
Still, we did learn a little bit about how Steam works. They need an inventory of keys from the publishers in order to sell the game. If that inventory runs out, customers are out of luck. Even though we’ve gone digital, it’s still a bit like the brick-and-mortar games retail industry.