Developer Rebellion has admitted that some bad people have stolen a batch of Sniper Elite 3 Steam keys from a third-party vendor and then resold them on the cheap, and Steam has revoked all the stolen keys, to the chagrin of many burned buyers
The PC market is a bit wild, and as a result it is often pretty simple to get some good deals on even brand-new or pre-order games. But sometime there are shenanigans involved. For games that require Steam to run, you can usually still purchase keys outside of Steam from Amazon, Green Man Gaming, Gamersgate or any number of other sites. And apparently one disreputable seller had stolen a batch of Sniper Elite 3 keys from a legitimate vendor and then sold them at a markdown.
When Rebellion caught wind of this, they alerted Valve and had the keys revoked, leaving buyers pretty peeved on the Steam forums because Rebellion is not offering a refund for those who bought one of the stolen keys. They are giving out keys for the pre-order exclusive Target Hitler DLC (the game launched on Friday), but that's all. It was, after all, stolen property folks were unwittingly purchasing, and none of Rebellion nor Valve nor the retailer that lost the keys saw any money from those purchases.
Here's the statement from Rebellion on the matter from the forums:
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.