Update: The keys were originally purchased on EA’s Origin platform with stolen credit cards, then resold to merchants that use third party sites like G2A. It was EA that alerted Ubisoft to the situation. Merchants at G2A and Kinguin, where a lot of the codes were sold, have agreed to refund customers.
If you’ve suddenly found yourself unable to go on a murderous, elephant-assisted rampage in Far Cry 4 or jump around like a loon in Assassin’s Creed Unity, it may be bacuse you purchased your game from a third-party seller that Ubisoft dissaproves of.
Over the weekend, Ubisoft forum users noted that their library had shrunk, as the publisher had been deactivating games purchased from unauthorised retailers.
Because these retailers don’t have a deal with Ubisoft, they are able to sell codes for significantly less than the publisher-approved price.
“We regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold,” Ubisoft said in a statement made to Eurogamer. “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.”
Now, if the codes were obtained illegally, then Ubisoft is just deactivating stolen keys, which seems fairly reasonable. Unfortunately in this case the affected people are consumers who bought codes from seemingly legitimate sites, even though those sites might not have an official deal with Ubisoft.
And it’s impossible to know which retailers are authorised. I can’t find a full list of places who are licensedto sell Ubisoft games. And when you see a game for £30 instead of £50, the initial reaction is probably to save money rather than investigate the company’s ties to the publisher.
If you’ve had games removed from your library, you should get in touch with the retailer. Some of them do offer refunds in these cases.