Update June 30th, 2022 9:20 PM: Since this story was published, Flock! has been taken down from the Steam store, presumably due to this exploit. Around the same time, several other games were also retired from the store, though it is difficult to be sure if they are all for the same reason. It is likely that is the reason Dark Void, and Dark Void Zero are taken down as there doesn’t appear to be any other reason for it. It also is from a similar era of PC gaming.
A new Steam exploit has been uncovered, and at the worst of times: in the middle of the Steam Summer Sale. It has been discovered that a user can obtain a seemingly infinite number of CD keys free of charge. Though this exploit appears to be limited to only some titles, it could cause problems with Steam’s functionality and lead to punishment for those who use it.
Valve created one of the most popular online gaming services with its launch of Steam. Having been around since 2003, Steam has become a primary way for PC users to game, being able to buy and download a vast library of games to any computer. As a result, they’ve hosted events and numerous deals throughout the year which draw in tons of players which can cause problems. Aside from very slow run times, exploits can be overlooked such as a newly discovered one affecting the game Flock! A YouTuber named The Spiffing Brit demonstrated how to use the exploit to get endless CD keys for the game for free.
He starts to explain the exploit by tracking down the game in the Steam store. Flock! Is a comical title about herding sheep around with a UFO and it’s currently being sold at a discounted price. After purchasing the game, The Spiffing Brit noted down the CD Key (found under right click, manage, CD Key), and refunded the game. After it was refunded, he activated the key, and low and behold – the game was in his library. More than that though, the real exploit begins here where he opens up Manage CD Key and a new key is shown and he is able to activate that on another account to add Flock to it, and it got a new code under CD Key for someone else to activate.
Understandably, The Spiffing Brit declines to share other titles that it may impact beyond a discounted 13 year old game who’s developers are defunct. However, he implies there are other games it works with. It does not however, work with all games with the Manage -> CD Key option, as our testing showed it didn’t function for several titles. It is worth remembering as well that Valve has said they will ban users who abuse the refund system, and one imagines that would also expand to users who abuse exploits like this.
In the meantime, if you want to join Spiff with having a bit of fun, he is trying to get #FreeFlock trending, and encouraging Capcom to make Flock free for everyone to play. We’ve reached out to Valve, and The Spiffing Brit for comment on this and will update with more information as it becomes available.