As Ubisoft Axes "Stolen" Origin Keys, Reseller Denies Blame

PC editions of Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity temporarily removed from EA's games platform.

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New light has been shed on Ubisoft's crackdown of grey market PC game codes, with the publisher revealing that the games it has deactivated were purchased with fraudulent credit card information.

On Tuesday it emerged that the publisher had begun blocking access to some of its PC games, such as Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity, having discovered they were not acquired through official channels. Consumers raised complaints about their games being deactivated on a Ubisoft forum, but the publisher insists this is a legal matter.

Now it emerges that some, or perhaps all, of the game codes in question were bought from EA's Origin store using fraudulent credit card information.

EA is co-operating with Ubisoft and has temporarily removed the games from Origin. Meanwhile, the reseller website believed to have sold these codes online has denied responsibility.

In a statement sent to GameSpot, Ubisoft said: "We have confirmed activation keys were recently purchased from EA's Origin store using fraudulent credit card information and then resold online. These keys may have been deactivated. We strongly recommend that players purchase keys and downloadable games only from the Uplay Store or their trusted retailers."

EA, in turn, has notified customers that "a number of activation keys for Ubisoft products were purchased from Origin using fraudulent credit cards, and then resold online. We identified the unauthorized keys and notified Ubisoft."

It added: "We removed Ubisoft games from Origin to protect against further fraudulent purchases. We don't have an update [for when the games will return], but are working to get them back in the store as soon as possible."

"Not in Any Way Responsible"

Following this clampdown on fraudulent keys, the online vendor now in the spotlight has insisted it is not directly linked to the illegal purchase.

"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 is not in any case responsible for any of these procedures," the corporation wrote in a statement.

The vendor said it "will do everything possible to compensate" for those who have bought the fraudulently purchased keys.

It added: "G2A will make every possible exertion to prevent this kind of procedures in the future and exclude merchants responsible for such incidents from the marketplace."

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uncle5555

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"We strongly recommend that players purchase keys and downloadable games only from the Uplay Store or their trusted retailers"

Or better yet, don't buy Ubisoft games on PC, problem solved.

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hystavito

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I didn't even know you could buy any kind of keys from Origin. I thought all you could do was buy games that are then automatically linked to your Origin account.

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ecter1216

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The ULA agreement you all signed clearly states thats you do not OWN the game. You just own a licence to run that game/software on your computer. It states that at any given time they can stop letting use us there game/software.

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jpeezy77

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I have used G2A quite a few times with no problems. That being said, I wonder if this is the purchases from them or their marketplace where users sell other people keys?


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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

Try to make sense of this: EA sold some Ubisoft games on the grey-market, didn't check credentials, and the check bounced. Ubisoft, instead of going after EA for selling on the grey-market and not taking care of their property, blames customers of going on the grey-market and slashed games from their accounts.

Bought FC4, the game registered on their server and downloaded on my PC. A few days after it disappeared. Mark my words: last time I buy anything by Ubisoft!

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DrunkenPunk800

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This is why I stick to Steam and Humble Bundle.

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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

Don't worry, whatever happened with Ubi can happen with Steam. Some said it happened in the past with a smaller publisher. One asked Steam to remove game from their accounts and they did.

I suggest you take a screen capture of your games or take note of them. I've got so many, if they remove anything I would be hard-pressed to say what disappeared.

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SerOlmy

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Buy keys at substantially under market rate from shady (typically foreign) marketplaces and you are rolling the dice. I have zero sympathy for anyone who got scammed. If you don't want to risk getting your keys revoked - and their have been several high profile blanket bans in recent years for this exact same reason - then buy from a reputable source or eBay. At least then you can charge-back your PayPal payment or have a recourse in case of fraud.

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Johnnyrckt

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Except kinguin is used world wide and well known and already giving people back their money. I feel sorry for people like you who do nothing but go around and try to insult people for trying to buy something they want for a little cheaper. I'd tell you to grow up but I'd just be wasting my time.

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Gamer_4_Fun

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I don't see why ubisoft is so p*****. Those retailers are only selling the games worth their actual price :\

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SpicaAntares

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Some might add: much more then those games are really worth. How much is worth a game that can be removed from your account on a whim? Got FC4 removed and didn't even had time to start the game when it happened. I was finishing FC3 and I tought of getting FC4 and keep it in reserve until, then bingo, got shafted.

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Gamer_4_Fun

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I don't see why ubisoft is so p*****. Those retailers are only selling the games worth their actual price :\

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Gamer_4_Fun

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I don't see why ubisoft is so p*****. Those retailers are only selling the games worth their actual price :\

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Metallinatus

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"EA is co-operating with Ubisoft"

lol That really could only end bad....

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SpicaAntares

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It has. Ubisoft stole the trophy of the "Worst Corporation" from EA hands. Now EA is sending their lawyers after Ubi to get it back. Something about some notion of "property"....

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rayden54

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I am so, so sick of this crap.


People bought stolen property. It sucks for them, but Ubisoft's in the right here (for once).

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spectral

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<< LINK REMOVED >> They're not in the right at all. Yes they should have the right to remove the keys bought with stolen credit cards but they should not be allowed to go into people's accounts and delete content without first telling the owner of the account that it is being removed and why it is being removed. They just did it without telling anyone anything. The only reason they have now announced anything at all is because of all the complaints. If you are found to have accidently bought a stolen TV or whatever the police don't just sneak in and take it, they explain the situation first. Same thing should apply to digital goods too.

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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

Stealing means depriving someone the enjoyment of his property. The only ones deprived of anything were the gamers who got some of their games removed after having paid for them. EA didn't loose anything and won't even get sued by Ubisoft (because this is what friends are for!...), Ubisoft didn't loose anything (except potential revenues, on which they can put a cross from now on). Key-resellers and gamers, on the other hand, lost either money and/or games in the process.

Now Ubi might be crying over the lost of some 'potential' revenues but if they want to cry on something they should cry from the lost of upcoming 'potential' revenues from people like me who got their game stolen from them, and for the upcoming war many of us will wage from now on them.

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ecter1216

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<< LINK REMOVED >> You cant compare the two. Thats where legality come into play. The TV is physical hardware you purchased into your home. The game is just software that you signed a lovely ULA agreement that states it only gives you the right to run there program. At any given time they can stop that servie. Its in the ULA if you ever read one.

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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

First rule of any EULA: anything we say goes.

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seanwil545

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

EA allowed the purchase of keys with stolen credit cards...do they bare any responsibility in any of this?

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Gen007

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> they have no idea the cc is stolen until until after the fact it's only later after the reselling of the keys that the scam artists then do a chargeback and dip with the money. So no Ubisoft and EA are actually in the right here because they are the ones that have to pay the chargeback fees for being robbed basically. People who bought from G2A need to go complain to them to get their money back and probably need to stop buying from g2A altogether because this is not the first time they have had issues with the legitimacy of their keys.

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seanwil545

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

Purchasing 1000s of keys raises no red flags? EA should have done a better job, delay the transaction if need be.

Resellers should have done a better job verifying these keys. There were two points of failure before these keys even went public, yet everyone wants to blame the buyers who had the least amount of info

End Users for their part should use better judgement going forward. There is enough blame to be shared between all parties.

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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

You know what a "hired pen" means. Sometimes they go by the word "copywriter". Those are people paid by corporations to keep the rabble in check in forums like this or on their own sites. Go to Ubisoft forums for instance. You'll find guys in there who's comments goes like this: everything the corporation did is great and rightful, and everything people complaining are saying is wrong. These guys never lost anything, have nothing to complain about, are impervious to any logical argument and, interestling enough, are there in those threads from the beginning of the event to the last day when everything dies down, even if it take 10 days for the storm to pass.

There was a time when those corporations could do anything to any customers and get away with it. They didn't care because no one knew unless it went to court. Nowadays one does something and 2 days later the whole world learns about it. So how do they go to keep the rabble in check? By hiring people to kill those complaints directly in forums. They may not succeed entirely but at least they give the "impression" that many agree with those corporations. It's just a game...

You'll find this in any article, any thread, that represents a serious threat to any corporate interest. Elsewhere, of course, they are not needed.

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Darkstalker77

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G2a Rock, dont hate on them . People are buying resold keys elsewhere because they dont wanna pay full price for the half broken mess that Ubisoft pass off as a full release these days.

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Unfallen_Satan

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Why are so many people criticizing Ubisoft and EA on this? I have my own share of grievances against the companies and digital distribution, but I don't see what they've done in this case except protecting their legitimate interest to the extend that most other people in their place would do. Sure, they could just refund the credit card theft victims and write off the keys as a loss, but just because they are big business doesn't make that kind of behavior obligatory. Personally, I am glad they are not gonna take it. That will only embolden future thieves with the idea that if they maneuver consumers against big business, they can make out on top when big business bite the bullet.

Instead, I think the investigation should be ruthlessly pursued until we get as close to the thieves as possible. This should be done in every instance, and if it's discovered that we can't get to the criminals with the system we have, we need a new system.

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SpicaAntares

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"Why are so many people criticizing Ubisoft and EA on this?"

If you never take the time to take a step back and think things over you'll never understand this or anything my friend.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> If you always talk in generic, bombastic statements, you always sound reasonable in a discussion without actually being in a discussion.

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Unfallen_Satan

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An important piece of information is missing from G2A's statement. Were those allegedly fraudulent keys sold by third-party sellers using G2A's site or were they sold by G2A directly? I've seen keys sold on Ebay too, and I think it unreasonable to expect marketplace websites to vet private seller keys. If G2A was the reseller who bought keys from other resellers, it most certainly bears responsibility to verify the authenticity of the keys.

As for the keys themselves. It makes sense that everyone get back what legally belongs to them. The credit card holders get those fraudulent charges refunded. Ubisoft or EA void fraudulently bought keys, essentially re-acquiring associated copies of their games. End buyers of those fraudulent keys have their purchases refunded either from the seller, if the seller isn't the original thief, or file fraud claims with credit companies or Paypal.

I feel reasonable safe financially in the US as our institutions have at least some means of recovering consumer losses from fraudulent activity.

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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

EA sold some Ubisoft games on the grey-market and the check bounced. Ubi, instead of going after EA, removed the games we paid for from our accounts. G2A and many others are now reimbursing customers with their own money for EA's goof.

Take a minute to think this over... No, no, don't reply yet. TAKE A MINUTE TO THINK THIS OVER!

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Finally, I applaud G2A's taking responsibility for the behavior of private sellers using its website. However, I don't think it's that extraordinary. Both Amazon and Ebay have done that for years. It also makes much less sense for EA or Ubisoft to give the refund or take the loss since they did not enter into any business transaction with the end user victims. The sales they did do were to criminals, and they already cancelled those keys.

I assure you, I thought the whole matter through quite clearly before commenting. If there are uncertainties or questions in my opinion, they were by design to invite additional discussion, especially if there are more information not originally available. Your reply, regrettably, was not that interesting or helpful.

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SpicaAntares

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

What a waste of time...

You're the type of individual who like to throw lots of powder in people's eyes. Now we all know how it works: if you throw enough then everything becomes blurred and we even get to a point were we loose track of the event itself.

Let me help you go back to basics. In one corner of the ring a manufacturer creates a product. Totally at the other end a customer buys the manufacturer's product. Somewhere down the road of time this product is remove from the customer by the manufacturer. See how simple it can be?

Whatever happened in-between, how many where involved, was anything done in good-faith or not, how the banking system works, how much time it takes for credit cards to clear, who's responsible for what and where, what role EA played in this, are second-hand sales permitted or not, how laws varies from one country to another, is anyone bound by any TOS or EULA, is it different for boxed games, who got paid and who didn't, who cares?.....

Who cares?....

Somebody pays for something (nothing illegal) then someone takes it back. How much simpler can it be? Now you can rationalize until judgment day on who's right, who's wrong, if the law should move some comma a little more to the left or a little more to the right, but bottom line a contract has been broken. A contract between someone who buys something and pays for it and someone who sold something.

I understand you live for these things. Fact is, I even read some of your blog (I think you should be grateful, I'm probably the one on this planet who did). I specially liked the part where you worry a lot about corporate interest, about how the law should provide provisions to protect corporation's reputation agains the 'rabble'; the 'journalists'. I almost shed a tear.

Please, do yourself a favor, get a life...


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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> My anger got the better of me and I forgot to say something. Those details you mentioned are good; I think most are important to consider even for the case at hand. If you worked with those, you could've challenge me into concluding there is valid reason for Ubisoft/EA not to void their keys. It's unfortunate that you decided to use them as sacrificial pawns in an otherwise non-sensible argument. I want to point that out, if only to do some token justice to those details themselves.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> You are the kind of person who is ruining this world, especially America. You think by listing a bunch of details that you find trivial, rejecting them, then covering them with a simplification that you feel must be black and white, that in doing so you must have arrived at the heart of the matter. You can't be more wrong.

Let me answer you straight away. I care. Everyone should care. This is not homogenous America anymore. It hasn't been for more than 100 hundred years, nor will it ever be again. In our society more than any other, the devil is in the details. Isn't that the expression?

To take the case in point: the end buyers who used G2A paid EA and Ubisoft nothing. Ubisoft and EA took nothing away from customers who did business with them. I mean, if you want to simplify everything, this is it. Unless, of course, you wish to consider financial thieves who committed fraud as valid customers. I am not rationalizing anything. These businesses took back property that thieves defrauded from them. If some buyer suddenly lost access to his game, he should take it up with whomever he bought it from. Or is he not able to do so? It is you who has rationalized by making these tenuous and neither legal nor moral connections between the end buyers and Ubisoft/EA, that somehow we should ignore the criminals in-between and Ubisoft/EA should just treat those buyers as thought they were actual customers.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It's perfectly possible for two people to review the same facts and arrive at opposite conclusions. You don't disapprove my facts or challenge my logic, you simple glaze over everything and misrepresent the the topic of discussion with one false summary that benefits your argument. Let me distill that even more:

Your summary is: Ubisoft/EA sold games to customers and then took them away, and that is just wrong. Am I on the mark? That's not what happened.

I don't write a blog. I have never called journalists "rabble," nor do I think so. In fact, I am a firm believer in digging up the truth, no matter how ugly it is, so I am rather fond of investigative journalism. You must share with me where you read these things that purportedly came from me, so I can take necessary action. Then I'd be grateful. Right now, you are only doing the work of libelers.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Now, what of the other victims? The innocent final buyers onto whom the thieves had unloaded the game keys? A couple of considerations leads me to conclude if anyone other than the thieves must shoulder the burden, it's them. First of all, at the time of key cancellation, neither Ubisoft nor EA has any reason or obligation to suspect the keys had transferred hand yet again. It was most beneficial and practical for them to assume most if not all the keys were still in the thieves possession, since they were the ones who bought the keys. Surely you have to agree that cancelling the keys in the thieves' possession is a most reasonable and beneficial action.

Furthermore, just as EA had an obligation to make sure it got paid before sending out game keys, it's the obligation of every consumer to ensure they are buying from legitimate sellers. Here is where things get a bit tricky. Contractually speaking, software licenses in the US are all non-transferable without explicit permission by the copyright holders. Technically, all private second-hand sales of software in the US are inappropriate. The situation is, I believe, different in Europe where the courts had ruled games are physical goods entitled to sales by current owners. If you buy physical games in the US, conventional wisdom says game publishers implicitly allow it. They'd be hard pressed to take your game disc back even if they wanted to. Keys, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. It's less of a good but more of a credential to access their games. Surely everyone who buys keys from private sellers are aware of these issues; if not, they do now.

Tangent to the matter at hand is a legal question I am not entirely sure of. Let's say someone stolen some money and then laundered it by buying a car, then reselling that car to you. The police solves the case, traces everything, but the thief had already blown all the money you paid for the car, or the thief isn't caught. Who is left to bear the financial burden? I don't know. I think it should be you, but whoever is legally out of luck in that case should, in my mind, be the victim here.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I believe you have your facts wrong from the start, but before we proceed, we should clear it up. My understanding of the events is that thieves stolen some credit card info, used it to purchase some Ubi game keys off Origin, and resold them on G2A (maybe other marketplaces too). If you know any part of this to be false, please correct me. Thanks. Otherwise, let's continue.

First, EA did not sell any games on the grey-market in this instance. The purchases were bough under false aliases of end users, not resellers. EA no doubt has separate procedures to sell to resellers, if it has license to do so for Ubi games in the first place.

Secondly, a bounced check implies EA was never able to get the money when making the transaction; considerable blame would be with EA since they should have made sure they got paid before sending out the codes. That's not the case. EA got paid, as credit card payment verification is nearly instantaneous.Victims of credit card theft discovered the theft and contacted EA via their banks seeking to refund the fraudulent charges. I don't know if it happened, but I expect EA refunded the charges, and to mitigate the loss to itself, contacted Ubisoft to void the keys that were purchased fraudulently.

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Leeric420

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Boooo Ubisoft boooo....

and I don't even buy from these places, but cmon....

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UnbornCorpser

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Really? It's a damn legal matter and those keys were bought illegally it even says G2A will compensate in some manner so in what way are you "booing" Ubi for?

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holenjd

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Ubisoft is really hurting their fanbase this last year. The quality of games (Far Cry 4 excluded) have dropped significantly and they are hurting the fans that want to play their games but are just savvy shoppers. If they have a problem they need to go after the company or the person who made the fraudulent purchase. Not the customers that were unwittingly purchasing the fraudulent product.

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seanwil545

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Good to see G2A and Kinguin appear to offering refunds to those affected.

<< LINK REMOVED >>

I guess the people who really make out are the data thieves, EA and Ubisoft seeing EA sold the keys to an individual(s) who used stolen credit data.

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seanwil545

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Sites like Kinguin and G2A must do a better job vetting keys in the future, particularly since there appear to be no checks or safe gaurds on the sellers end.

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Thanatos2k

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So take it up with the credit card companies, Ubisoft. You don't get to steal the products back from the users.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >> That doesn't make any sense. No doubt the credit card companies serving victims whose card numbers were stolen already contacted Ubisoft and notified them of the fraud. If the original card theft victims can more easily recover their losses because Ubisoft can easily deactivate the keys and refund the purchases, I'd say that part has a happy ending.

Of course, someone is going to be without a chair when the music stops. I hope the people who bought the keys in good faith and no longer have a game can recover their money from the thieves just like the original credit card victims. If they are both smart and fortunate, their own financial institutions will probably take a loss for them. If not, then it's regrettably fair that they are out of luck.

The situation would be similar if Ubisoft shipped physical goods to the thieves. They would be unable to recover their loss and probably refuse a refund. It would be the credit card theft victims and their banks who would bear the burden.

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Gelugon_baat

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

I understand the argument, but I am still very much against the notion of games as services instead of goods.

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Unfallen_Satan

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I'm with you on that 100%.

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wookiegr

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There's an update that $165k has been refunded for various games that had been cut off. Just imagine, if the game publishers didn't price gouge, all that money would have went straight to them and none of this would have happened.

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