Jack B. Nimble, Key Scammers and Indie Pogo?

By December 16, 2018No Comments

Jack B. Nimble has been available for Steam for a couple of months now, and while I’ve been too busy to write a postmortem, there have been a number of Jack B. Nimble related stories.

Key Scammers

Following my issues with Steam Curators, I spoke with Kotaku’s Jason Schreier about a relatively unspoken phenomenon that plagues new releases – key scammers.

Jack B. Nimble Key Scammers Kotaku

So how does it work?

The basics of the scam are simple. The key scammer searches for a popular influencer (such as a YouTube/Twitch personality) that lacks clear contact details. For example, no Twitter presence or listed business email. The key scammer then creates an email address that mimics the personality’s account name (usually with gmail) and contacts the developer asking to review/cover/stream a game in return for a Steam key (or in many cases, multiple Steam keys).

They’re starting to get more devious too. You’ll sometimes find they’ll sign off with an email signature containing a link to their main website as well as a twitter account. They use this Twitter account to help legitimise their email. They do this by placing their fake email address in the Twitter bio and the legitimate link in the website entry of the Twitter profile.

Sneaky stuff. But why do key scammers do this? Personally, I think it’s mostly in order to sell keys on the grey market. If they do this in a large volume and to enough games, there’s probably some profit to be had. Especially if the process is in any way automated (which is likely the case based on how generic the emails are). I feel in very few cases, this scam will be used to get a key to use for personal use.

So how do I avoid key scammers?

Here are a couple of things to look out for in key requests:

  • Poor grammar
  • Press/influencer accounts that lack contact details
  • An email address cannot be corroborated with the press or influencer account
  • Emails that link to social media accounts that in turn only link to each other and not the press or influencer page

It’s always a good idea to log which keys you send and to which influencer or press outlet. That way if you fall for any of these scams, you can revoke the keys on an individual basis. This will deactivate the game for that Steam account (or grey market listing) and with any luck damage the reputation of that grey market reseller/key scammer.

For more information, here’s a link to the full Kotaku article:
People Keep Trying To Scam Their Way Into Free Video Games

Indie Pogo Cameo!

So it’s not all doom and gloom, as Jack B. Nimble will be making a surprise cameo as a collectible trophy in the platform fighter, “Indie Pogo”.

Jack B. Nimble Indie Pogo

Indie Pogo is a fun, little platform brawler featuring all of your favourite indie characters as combatants. Ever wanted to shoot Shovel Knight with the dude from Downwell? This game is for you!

Indie Pogo is available for purchase from Steam.

A late review…

I’ll be honest, I really didn’t think there would be much press left for Jack B. Nimble. Sales have dropped off, and very few press outlets responded to my initial requests for review. However, out of nowhere TechRaptor covered the game as part of their new “Month of Coverage Club“.

“What Jack B. Nimble does that many indie games fail to do is play to their strengths. It doesn’t try to innovate for the sake of innovation; it just tries to be fun. As much fun as jumping and whipping candles can be.”

– Robert Grosso, TechRaptor

It’s really nice to get coverage like this, even this late after release. The same can be said for Steam reviews – they’re great to read and really help spread the word. So if you’re reading this and have played the game, why not leave your thoughts over on the Steam page?

You can read the full review over on TechRaptor.

What’s next for Jack?

So after these recent Jack appearances (including a not so subtle cameo in my most recent timelapse video), what’s next?

I’m still looking to find some time to put together a postmortem covering both the original iOS and Steam releases for Jack B. Nimble. However, I almost feel that splitting the content into a “making of” and postmortem would be best (in order to keep the postmortem to a manageable length). Remember, in many ways Jack B. Nimble could be considered a 4 year development.

We will see if I ever get around to this, as several months have already passed. The real distraction from this, is that I have announced a follow up to Jack B. Nimble, going by the codename “ND1”. You can find out more about that in the announcement and #blocktober posts.

More soon!