Some innocents have been caught in the crossfire that stems from a batch of stolen Steam keys for Sniper Elite 3 being sold to unknowing buyers.

Rebellion has claimed someone has stolen a bunch of Sniper Elite 3 Steam keys from a third-party distributor and started selling them at discounted rates, Kotaku reports. In response to this, Steam has revoked the validity of this entire batch of stolen keys, resulting in many innocent people losing money in the process to the thief who sold them the code for the Steam download. Many third-party retail sites, such as Amazon, GamersGate, ShopTo and GameFly, sell Steam keys, giving buyers full digital downloads of games on PC. As per Rebellion's wishes, Steam has cancelled all of these keys the thief stole, leaving every single code that was part of this batch inert and useless, but many uninformed gamers ended up buying them nonetheless.

In response to this cancellation, there are hundreds of users voicing their frustrations with both Steam and Rebellion on the Steam forums, mainly because Rebellion is not giving out refunds for those unlucky few who bought one of the stolen keys. Rebellion has tried to offer a consolation by giving the pre-order exclusive Target Hitler downloadable content to anyone with one of the cancelled keys.

While Steam, Rebellion or the unnamed retailer did not receive any money from those stolen keys and we understand why they were all cancelled, we do feel bad for those who purchased the discounted keys and basically wasted their money for a game that they did not get.

Here's is Rebellion's official statement on the entire incident on the Steam message board:

To clarify, one of our PC retail distributors informed us that some of their allotted Steam keys were stolen. We believe these keys were then resold to multiple companies, with no payments going to either Valve or the retail distributor.

Steam were immediately informed and have now revoked that set of keys.

As a developer Rebellion are happy for you to purchase the game anywhere you see fit and support price competition in the PC market - we have in no way targeted any specific vendors (who may have also thought these keys were legitimate), just this one set of keys.

All we can suggest if you have been affected is to please contact your vendor and first ask for a replacement key, and then contact us for the free pre-order DLC if you are successful.

Given its widespread success and numerous bundles and deals, we hope that Steam takes the high road and offers some kind of free game or something of that sort to the innocent gamers who were scammed by the thief who stole the codes.