Steam actually ran out of a game this weekend - here’s what happened

It’s a problem most of us remember: You go to the game store, eager to pick up this week’s release only to be devastated to learn that the store has utterly sold through all their copes. Disappointment ensues and mom has to buy you an ice cream cone. 

This is what a handful of gamers went through this weekend when they tried to purchase Splinter Cell: Blacklist during Steam’s weekend sale where you could get the game for an extremely discounted 75% off. 

Potential cyber spies had their dreams cut short when, after downloading the game, Steam failed to provide a key to unlock the download, only to receive an error message that said “Failed to contact key server.” (If you’re wondering why you’d even need a key in the first place, it’s because publishers use download keys as a way to track sales via digital downloads via sites like Steam or GOG.)

That’s right: Steam, a digital download service, ran out of stock.

Now, had you told me that a digital download service like Steam could “run out of copies” I’d tell you that’s ridiculous, and yet here we are.

According to a forum about the problem on Steam’s website, Ubisoft’s technical support team has stepped in to alleviate the key issue with some users reporting that they’ve got a new download key in hand and are ready to jump into Sam Fisher’s combat boots. 

Others aren’t as lucky.

Steam’s weekend sale ended at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET today, which means that the game has already gone back to its full price – I’d say you missed a great deal here but, as it turns out, the only thing you missed out on was a massive headache.

Via Kotaku

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.