Games developer Ubisoft deactivating keys it says were “fraudulently” obtained and resold
Hundreds of disgruntled Ubisoft games players took to the Ubisoft forum to complain about Ubisoft’s decision to deactivate keys obtained by players from third parties. Ubisoft has stated that it is deactivating the keys it believes were obtained “fraudulently” and are being resold via third-party websites.
The deactivation decision has hit mainly Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed players who had purchased the keys legally and yet find themselves unable to play the game due to Ubisoft’s arbitrary decision.The Ubisoft forum was filled with huge number of complaints from gamers all over the world over the weekend when they found that games like Far Cry 4 have been removed from their libraries.
One of the complainant, Slump3r is an expat Belgian living in Poland. He says he buys from third-party sites because he hasn’t mastered the language and so bought the key digitally from a source outside of the country that could provide a French or English version. Now he finds that FC 4 has been deleted from his library.
Slump3r states in his complaint, “Now, FC 4 was deleted from my games, and the key banished. If I understand correctly, you did not distribute those keys to those retailers. Let me tell you, I am close to 30, and I have been working for a long time in a financial department of a large company that deals with vendor and customer requests. I have never seen anywhere that the right to use a product was taken away from a customer when not sold directly by the company to an “official” retailer.
Say that I buy a Smartphone from “Samtung” (mistake intended to not cite a brand directly) here a little bit less expensive than in Belgium and I decide to sell it in Belgium for a small profit. Doesn’t Samtung make money out of the phone I bought, even though I make a little in the process as well? So should the person I sold it to in Belgium have Samtung people ringing at his door and taking away the phone?”
Ubisoft says that it is deactivating keys which were fraudulently obtained and are being sold through third party websites. There is some truth in this because games are sold much cheaply on third-party websites like Kinguin, G2Play etc. than officially-supported online shops such as Steam, Origin or Uplay.
Third party websites sell region-unlocked keys to sell on to their customers at a much cheaper price than the publisher approved price. For example a third party website G2A sells Assassin’s Creed: Unity Uplay keys for $27.87 while the same keys cost £44.99 from Uplay in United Kingdom. Similarly Far Cry 4 Uplay key from G2A will set you back $31.24 while the approved price for Far Cry 4 is £44.99 from Uplay.
Reacting to the gamers complaint, Ubisoft rep issued Eurogamer the following statement:
“We regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold. In this case, we are currently investigating the origin of the fraud, and will update customers as soon as we have more information to share. In the meantime, customers should contact the vendor from whom they purchased the key.”
Through above statement Ubisoft suggests that it is targeting keys bought with fraudulent credit cards which may be true in essence because sites such as G2A also act as a platform for private sellers to transfer video game activation keys. But in this under the table deal it understood that gamers buying such keys do so at their own risk, although many of the third-party websites promise to refund customers who find their keys do not work.
However throughout the whole deactivation campaign, Ubisoft may have lost lot of fan following and future buyers for its games.