How to Activate BioShock 2 from Steam – Finding the Serial Number

If you purchased BioShock 2 via Steam and preloaded it last night or early this morning and are trying to play it and are instead seeing this SecuROM DRM serial-number activation screen:

and thinking “hu? What serial number?!” then I’m here to help. Go back to your “My Games” screen in Steam, right-click on BioShock 2 and go to “View game CD key“:

That’s right, it’s not called “serial number” anywhere in the interface. Also Steam gives you no pre-emptive popup about the CD key for the game until after you have started it. That’s excellent, good delivery guys.

If you try and click the provided link from SecuROM in the popup dialog, it just takes you to this page that explains how activation works — cause that’s what I wanted to know. Not activate my game and play it, no, I’d rather learn how different DRM techniques work. Thanks guys!

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About Riyad Kalla

Software development, video games, writing, reading and anything shiny. I ultimately just want to provide a resource that helps people and if I can't do that, then at least make them laugh.

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28 Responses to “How to Activate BioShock 2 from Steam – Finding the Serial Number”

  1. Apt2B February 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    omg thank you so much

    • Riyad Kalla February 9, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

      Apt2B, did you run into this too? I was totally stumped when I hit this and I’m of average intelligence… I couldn’t believe 2k/Valve was so OK shipping such a shit experience with a triple-A title.

  2. Noah February 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Dude, this was exactly the solution I was looking for, thanks!

  3. Patrick February 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    You are my hero.

    Thanks.

  4. Neal February 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Thanks! 2K messed this up big time.

  5. kaytor February 21, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    Good Thanks.

  6. Demoli March 13, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    Don’t know about everyone else, but I had a dialog popup in steam with the serial as soon as I launched the game for the first time.

  7. Anonymous April 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx thx

    OMG THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Anonymous April 10, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    Author wins the internet. THANKS!

  9. Jeff June 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Oh look, the information that I actually require before it will let me do anything. Thankfully 2K neglected to mention this until after one can find this information.

    Many thanks, kind sir!

  10. Quezz June 26, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    I love you. I spend ages emailing support and getting stupid auto replies about the same crappy advice “look on the back of the manual her derp” even though it’s digital, and steam didn’t email me the code like you said.

    Thank you so much, I was shitting bricks

    • Riyad Kalla June 29, 2010 at 11:00 am #

      Quezz, glad we could help!

      • Kevin December 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

        Geht dies auch bei dem ersten Teil?

  11. Mara July 10, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    oh boy you just saved my life. Its way too hot to go outside and I was looking forward to an evening imagining I was under water. Thanks!

  12. joe August 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Thanks! It’s absolutely mind-boggling that they would let this product ship without giving concise, ACCURATE instructions on how to jump through the hoops to get this game running.

    • Riyad Kalla August 6, 2010 at 9:30 am #

      Joe, glad I could help.

      I also noticed that every other game I bought over steam *does* have very concise instructions for the game key, but for some reason BioShock 2 just got dropped on it’s head… it’s a really sloppy install/launch/key sequence.

  13. Janna December 22, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Thanks so much, you saved my day!

  14. David December 23, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    Thanks! I’m having all kinds of problems with Bioshock 2 from steam working. First this Visual C++ 2005 thing with with vcredist.msi (which I seem to have got past, but not sure). Then it starts up with this serial number and you helped with that. Why they don’t tell you in the pop up is beyond me.
    Now I’m getting a ‘SecuLuancher: failed to start application’ error. Getting real close to asking Valve for my money back.

    • Riyad Kalla December 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

      David,
      That error is a SecureRom (the DRM) load error — are you running any TSRs used to circumvent securerom that might be interfering?

      • David December 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

        No, not trying to circumvent anything. Purchased off Steam. Found the problem it was with install. The Visual C++ was from the game itself. I couldn’t delete it from add/remove. And guess it failed during the first install. But found when tried to run the one from bioshock 2 folder that it did exact same thing about asking for disk 1. So I went into regedit and told it that Visual C++ didn’t exist anymore. Then was gone from add/remove. So then double clicked on the one from Bioshock 2 folder and this time it worked and installed properly. So was able to play the game.

        Other problem later was with that stupid Windows Live doodoo. So created local account so could save games.

        Not sure ever going to buy an game from them again. Lot of problems getting it going and such. grrrrrr.

        Thanks for the help though. You got me past the first hump. :)

        • Riyad Kalla December 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

          David, shit that sounds like a lot of legwork just to get the game working; thank you for sharing for other folks running into the same issue though.

  15. Julien January 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Thank God for you.

  16. Max July 3, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    OMG Thank so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

    best!!!!!! T-H-A-N-K-S!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Max July 3, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    OMG THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!!

    T-H-A-N-K-S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. BioShock 2 is Good So Far | The "Break it Down" Blog - February 10, 2010

    [...] only a few hours in so far, but in light of the problems getting started with the game (activation code and bug-ridden keybindings) I wanted to make it clear to any readers that this game is definitely [...]

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