PSA: Ubisoft is Revoking Far Cry 4 CD-Keys From 3rd Party Re-sellers - Update 2

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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PSA: Ubisoft is Revoking Far Cry 4 CD-Keys From 3rd Party Re-sellers - Update 2


If you bought a Far Cry 4 CD-key from a third-party re-seller such as G2A or Kinguin, it may soon be removed from your account.

Update 2: Ubisoft has updated its official statement, saying that the stolen keys in question were purchased from EA's Origin platform using stolen credit cards. EA has confirmed that this is indeed the case.

Meanwhile, Kinguin has chipped in, claiming an unidentified Russian bought the keys, which were then offered to around 35 of the re-seller's 4000 merchants, and that it expects to refund approximately 148,377 euros to its customers.

Source: Eurogamer [http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-01-28-deactivated-ubisoft-game-keys-bought-from-eas-origin-using-stolen-credit-cards]

Update: G2A, one of the other re-sellers involved in this situation, released the following statement via Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/G2Acom/posts/421507051340472]:

As some of you may already know, steps have been taken to remove games purchased indirectly from a publisher, via main marketplaces in the web. G2A.COM is not in any case responsible for any of these procedures. However, we are well aware of this process and will do everything possible to compensate for that. For users who have made transactions without G2A Shield, we will check if the corresponding merchant was responsible for the withdrawal of the code. If so, these users will get a compensation. Any user who used G2A Shield affected by the current process will get either a new code for the game or the money back. G2A.COM will make every possible exertion to prevent this kind of procedures in the future and exclude merchants responsible for such incidents from the marketplace.

Original Story: Buying CD-keys from third-party re-sellers (IE: anywhere other than Steam/uPlay/Origin or a retail store) always comes with an inherent risk, just as buying anything on eBay [http://www.ebay.com/gds/All-About-Fake-Flash-Drives-2013-/10000000177553258/g.html]. However, once you've paid for the key, had your game client accept it, and are able to boot up the game, you wouldn't really expect for it to be suddenly taken away. Well, if you bought a copy of Far Cry 4 from a re-seller such as G2A or Kinguin, that may be exactly what is about to happen.

Ubisoft has released an official statement to earlier forum reports [http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2015/01/26/ubisoft-and-kinguin-comment-on-fraudulent-deactivated-far-cry-4-codes.aspx] of users having their games removed from their libraries. "We regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold," said the representative, adding "In this case, we are currently investigating the origin of the fraud and will update customers when we have more information to share. In the meantime customers should contact the vendor from whom they purchased their key."

Kinguin, one of the re-sellers whose keys are being deactivated, had the following to say via chief marketing officer Bartłomiej Skarbiński: "The current case raised by Ubisoft is surely unfair towards the players. The banned game copies in question were acquired through licensed wholesale distributors and as such the origin of the 'keys' is the publisher himself."

"We believe Ubisoft had no legal basis for its action," he continued. "They did it just because they simply can. Kinguin of course is not going to challenge Ubisoft in court as we are not match up for these giants. We will continue to focus on customer's satisfaction and our customers know we have never let them down."

While I am all for publishers seeking out and punishing shady re-sellers who obtain keys by illegitimate means, this kind of practice seems to only punish the poor users who don't know any better. The re-seller has already gotten his money from the sale, and is under no obligation to offer his customers a refund when the publisher suddenly de-activates his key. It's a low-blow to fans who are sure to think twice about purchasing another Ubisoft title in the future.

So, this is just a warning to our readers: always make sure you buy your digital games from an officially authorized storefront - just to be 100% sure it won't be yanked out of your library later on down the line...

Source: Game Informer [http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2015/01/26/ubisoft-and-kinguin-comment-on-fraudulent-deactivated-far-cry-4-codes.aspx]

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Roxas1359

Burn, Burn it All!
Aug 8, 2009
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If the keys themselves were entirely stolen, then I say Ubisoft has the right to revoke them since they were in fact received illegitimately, but just as Steven put it this really just punishes those who were unaware. I think that the best bet for Ubisoft might be to at least offer the game at a discounted price to those who are having them deactivated.

Honestly, this is gonna be a big blow to Ubisoft in terms of PR, but seeing as they don't seem to care about having a good image anymore then they'll just shrug this off. I'm reminded of how EA took over as being considered the "worst company" from Activision. Activision didn't really change anything they were doing, it was just that EA started doing more and more that made them look like heartless jerks when compared to Activision. Now we seem to be going through the same thing with Ubisoft, as over the last few months they've actively been doing more and more that makes them look like they hate every consumer they've ever had, while EA has been trying to improve it's image. If this is indeed a cycle, how long until Activision once again reigns supreme in terms of being jerks again? :D
 

VladG

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Aug 24, 2010
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Oh Ubisoft, you saw all the attention EA was getting a while back and you figured you just HAD to have some of that... no such thing as bad publicity, eh?

This seems like an incredibly stupid move. Sure, those keys are grey market, but you still get the money from the original source of the key, even if it is less that you'd (arguably) get from the sale otherwise (though as someone who has used services like G2A I can 100% guarantee that I would not have bought those games at full price). All you're going to do is lose a bunch of sales and a WHOLE LOT of customer good will (but hey, at this point that's pretty much gone, so full steam ahead ubi! I'm sick of Ubisoft:The Game anyway...)
 

Vendor-Lazarus

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Mar 1, 2009
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While not directly commenting on sellers buying and reselling games I wonder ever so slightly how, oh how, they can remove games from gamers computers...

Ain't never happened to one of my games I can tell you.

Ok, yes, a bit of a negative post but I really despair towards where gaming is heading.
 

Xman490

Doctorate in Danger
May 29, 2010
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I don't blame Ubisoft. Those CD-keys were fraudulently obtained, so someone other than them is at fault. This approach might be appropriate, as customers of these fraudulent re-sellers might not be "good faith purchasers". After all, who goes to such underground sites while unaware of the stealing they commit?
 

Roxas1359

Burn, Burn it All!
Aug 8, 2009
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Vendor-Lazarus said:
While not directly commenting on sellers buying and reselling games I wonder ever so slightly how, oh how, they can remove games from gamers computers...

Ain't never happened to one of my games I can tell you.

Ok, yes, a bit of a negative post but I really despair towards where gaming is heading.
I believe they contact Steam with a list of Steam Keys that are considered illegitimate and then Steam removes it from there. If you're in the United States, you're SOL as accepting that End User License Agreement means Steam can do that without any repercussions. In other nations however they'll more than likely face legal troubles if it's pursued enough. Not to mention Far Cry 4 requires U-Play I believe so Ubisoft probably tracks things based on that as well.

Xman490 said:
This approach might be appropriate, as customers of these fraudulent re-sellers might not be "good faith purchasers". After all, who goes to such underground sites while unaware of the stealing they commit?
I just typed in "Far-Cry 4 Steam" into Google and on the first page, one of first links is to G2A and their listing for Far Cry 4. You can also buy Far Cry 4 on Green Man Gaming as well, so for possible consumers who do not know they might think that you can buy the keys anywhere.

I agree, if the keys are indeed stolen then they should be revoked. But at the same time, I'm a person who doesn't know what some other Steam-Key selling sites are like and G2A from an outward appearance seems just as reputable as Green Man Gaming.
 

Blacklight28

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Nov 27, 2013
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I hope this doesn't include the places I usally by from, 'cause I'm not going to buy from anywhere else.

It's already difficult enough to justify buying a Ubisoft game for $40-$50. I sure as hell ain't going to pay upwards of $80 from one of the authorized storefronts.
 

War_Dyn27

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Jan 22, 2014
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VladG said:
Oh Ubisoft, you saw all the attention EA was getting a while back and you figured you just HAD to have some of that... no such thing as bad publicity, eh?

This seems like an incredibly stupid move. Sure, those keys are grey market, but you still get the money from the original source of the key, even if it is less that you'd (arguably) get from the sale otherwise (though as someone who has used services like G2A I can 100% guarantee that I would not have bought those games at full price). All you're going to do is lose a bunch of sales and a WHOLE LOT of customer good will (but hey, at this point that's pretty much gone, so full steam ahead ubi! I'm sick of Ubisoft:The Game anyway...)
No they they don't actually get the money back.

What happens is people use stolen credit cards to buy large numbers of keys for games, and then sell them to unscrupulous third party distributors. Then the scammers initiate a credit card charge-back on all the games purchased, meaning, the devs and Steam see no money, and the scammer laugh their way to the bank.

the indie company Unknown Worlds Entertainment lost about 30,000 dollars IIRC from this technique. So by all accounts those games are stolen goods and should be returned to the owner. If you bought a stolen care with out knowing, would you expect to keep it if it was revealed as stolen?
 

Notshauna

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May 12, 2014
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This is honestly just dumb, I mean seriously their taking games away from paying customers because they are "fraudulent" AKA not bought from their specific storefronts. It's super duper shady. I would be super duper suspicious of Ubisoft in the future.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

Hella noided
Dec 11, 2009
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"Poor consumers who didn't know any better"

In my experience, frequenters of both Kinguin and G2A are well aware of what they're doing.

If people are doing things to circumvent the decadent $60 game model, then all the power to them, but this was going to happen sooner or later. You can't expect to go grey market and never think that it would bite you in the arse later on.

Besides, I still find it iffy that westerners and first world-ers are buying games from less developed countries when they could just instead wait for a sale or just not buy the game in question. Those areas(Brazil, Russia, Eastern Europe, India, etc.) already have problems with getting gaming rolling as a successful industry due to high piracy rates, exorbitant game pricing and economic disadvantages. Doesn't feel right that people are taking advantage of their situation >.>
 

Amaror

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Apr 15, 2011
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Vendor-Lazarus said:
While not directly commenting on sellers buying and reselling games I wonder ever so slightly how, oh how, they can remove games from gamers computers...

Ain't never happened to one of my games I can tell you.

Ok, yes, a bit of a negative post but I really despair towards where gaming is heading.
They don't remove them from the computer, the games are still installed, but since there is no activated copy of the game in your uplay library you can't start the game.

Just as a little update for you guys:
Kinguin at least gives refunds to everyone who experienced this. It sucks because you can't play the game anymore, but this is hardly a horrible incident, at least for the customer.
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
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they are revoking keys that were obtained by CC fraud and then resold on those websites.

Neronium said:
If the keys themselves were entirely stolen, then I say Ubisoft has the right to revoke them since they were in fact received illegitimately, but just as Steven put it this really just punishes those who were unaware.
If you bought it from G2A or Penguin you are very much aware you are playing a roulette on whether your buying a stolen goods that get caught or not.

VladG said:
This seems like an incredibly stupid move. Sure, those keys are grey market, but you still get the money from the original source of the key,
No, they do not. Those keys were bought with fraudulent credit cards, whose owners later issued chargebacks and Ubisoft did not get any money for those keys.

Neronium said:
I just typed in "Far-Cry 4 Steam" into Google and on the first page, one of first links is to G2A and their listing for Far Cry 4. You can also buy Far Cry 4 on Green Man Gaming as well, so for possible consumers who do not know they might think that you can buy the keys anywhere.
have you went to G2A site? you didnt. because if you did it takes less than a minute to realize that its extremely shady.

Notshauna said:
This is honestly just dumb, I mean seriously their taking games away from paying customers because they are "fraudulent" AKA not bought from their specific storefronts. It's super duper shady. I would be super duper suspicious of Ubisoft in the future.
they are not taking anything from paying costumers. they are taking keys back from thieves. yes, G2A and Penguin resellers are shady because they deal in stolen keys.
 

J Tyran

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Dec 15, 2011
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War_Dyn27 said:
If you bought a stolen care with out knowing, would you expect to keep it if it was revealed as stolen?
This pretty much sums it up, stolen and fraudulently obtained items are always returned to the original and legal owner and innocent people that buy the items believing them to be legitimate are left out of pocket after they are seized.

You can consider the people that bought the items as victims of the crime as much as the person/entity the items were stolen from, it sucks for them but thats the way the law works. Ubisoft are well within their rights to do this and despite how dickish they are I wouldn't personally consider this as another black mark for them, they could have approached it in a better way though.

Let the people keep the games just this once and run a campaign informing people about shady third parties, have popups on Uplay and send emails, tweets and blogs etc. Let the customers know that they will leave the keys active this time as a show of good faith but spread the word that there will be a zero tolerance policy in the future, as well as the campaign they could provide any support the legitimate third parties need and help direct customers towards them at the same time as informing customers about the dodgy ones.

Easy as that, they earn some good will from the customers and hopefully reduce the problems with dodgy keys somewhat as they educate and redirect customers away from them.
 

RidleyValiant

White Knight
Nov 12, 2007
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To me this is interesting. I've seen a lot of people spouting that these keys were obtained illegally/fraudulently, but I've not yet seen any proof that this is the case, I mean come on "It's known these websites are shady" by all means show me tangible proof until then all you're doing is spouting what amounts to little more than nonsensical gibberish. Now sure if they are stolen or whatever then there is a case for removing them, but it's also entirely possible these people buy them in bulk from cheaper markets, then mark up the prices but still undercut the main store fronts. That in itself as far as I know isn't illegal and is just good business sense, and no different from selling used games.

Either way it's bad publicity, and it would be very easy for Ubisoft to circumvent this kind of thing by releasing a list of recognised digital stores with the release of a game. After that the consumer really has no excuse.

Just my two pennies, now I'm going back to lurk in my corner.

EDIT: I'd also like to point out that from a legal stand point isn't this amounting to vigilante justice, surely there is a burden of proof on Ubisoft before they can just take these things away?

Kinda like finding a guy hotwiring a car in your driveway because he claims it was his and just taking it back.
 

Albino Boo

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Jun 14, 2010
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Steven Bogos said:
While I am all for publishers seeking out and punishing shady re-sellers who obtain keys by illegitimate means, this kind of practice seems to only punish the poor users who don't know any better. The re-seller has already gotten his money from the sale, and is under no obligation to offer his customers a refund when the publisher suddenly de-activates his key. It's a low-blow to fans who are sure to think twice about purchasing another Ubisoft title in the future.
If you buy a stolen car in good faith you get to keep it right? I am rather tried of this games are somehow legally different from everything else. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caveat_emptor
 

jklinders

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Sep 21, 2010
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Wow, this isn't ham fisted at all. Hey ubi, you do want people's business right? These folks paid money in good faith, take it up with the seller not the players goddammit.
 

EvolutionKills

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Jul 20, 2008
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J Tyran said:
War_Dyn27 said:
If you bought a stolen care with out knowing, would you expect to keep it if it was revealed as stolen?
This pretty much sums it up, stolen and fraudulently obtained items are always returned to the original and legal owner and innocent people that buy the items believing them to be legitimate are left out of pocket after they are seized.

You can consider the people that bought the items as victims of the crime as much as the person/entity the items were stolen from, it sucks for them but thats the way the law works. Ubisoft are well within their rights to do this and despite how dickish they are I wouldn't personally consider this as another black mark for them, they could have approached it in a better way though.

Let the people keep the games just this once and run a campaign informing people about shady third parties, have popups on Uplay and send emails, tweets and blogs etc. Let the customers know that they will leave the keys active this time as a show of good faith but spread the word that there will be a zero tolerance policy in the future, as well as the campaign they could provide any support the legitimate third parties need and help direct customers towards them at the same time as informing customers about the dodgy ones.

Easy as that, they earn some good will from the customers and hopefully reduce the problems with dodgy keys somewhat as they educate and redirect customers away from them.

^This

Because what is right, what is best, what is legal, and what is justified, are not always one in the same thing.

Ubisoft is within their rights here. Is flexing those rights in this way going to be the best thing they can do? First off, we'd need to define 'best'. What is Ubisoft's goal here? Revoking the keys cost them nothing, but likewise, losing digital keys also cost them nothing. It's the old anti-piracy argument again. Those keys grant access to a digital copy, and digital information can be copied and disseminated without losing the original. Those keys, even if gained through fraud and resold by a third party, didn't result in physical property being stolen from Ubisoft; they can generate new keys for their own games at no additional cost to themselves, they have near limitless supply if they so desire. Ubisoft can see it as 'lost sales' and yank the keys, which is within their rights, but would also be be very anti-consumer. Because the consumers are the ones who will have actually lost money here, unless they can also get their money back for their purchase.

However Ubisoft does have other options here.

From another perspective, even those with illegitimate keys are potential consumers for FarCry DLC; but if you remove their investment (the game), you've removed them as a potential DLC customer. What would the margins be on someone with a fraudulent key who goes on to buy legitimate DLC ($10 a piece, $30 for a season pass) versus someone buying the game on a STEAM sale a year from now for $5?

There are things Ubisoft can do without pissing off consumers, but Ubisoft being Ubisoft, slim chance of that happening.
 

jayzz911

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Nov 9, 2010
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wow. Thought this board would be smarter. Ubisoft never said they were stolen once in that statement. You think they wouldn't say they were if they were actually stolen? lol that isn't whats going on. These keys are legally bought in a different region where games are cheaper and then sold higher on the internet to make a profit. Ubisoft decided that nope, you can't look for a price around the internet, just gotta pay whatever we tell you to pay! Yeah, no. I've bought a lot of keys through Kinguin and g2a over the years. Once it's been a stolen one. My key get deleted and i just got another one from Kinguin. Assuming that Ubiscam has nothing but your best interest at heart is pretty funny. Another broken game with day one DLC for $60 anyone?