Key-selling site G2A.COM has issued a Facebook statement about the revoking of certain Ubisoft keys purchased via their site, in which it indicates that those affected will get some form of compensation.
This story is quite a complex one, encompassing the globalised nature of PC digital key sales, the “grey” area of key reselling (at least from the publisher’s point of view) and the potential risks of buying through third-party salespeople.
A few days ago, it became clear that Ubisoft was revoking keys for Far Cry 4. Various threads popped up on the Ubisoft forums, from people stating that the game had been removed from their Uplay libraries. G2A.COM was one of the sites where players had obtained now-revoked keys.
Ubisoft later confirmed that the company “regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold.”
As someone who has never purchased a key through G2A.COM, I’m not directly familiar with their business model. However, it appears they operate by purchasing keys in bulk from countries where game prices are fairly low, then re-selling said keys through their site. Publishers dislike this practice, because it means they miss out on a sales cut when the key is resold.
G2A.COM also operates a key re-selling marketplace (kind of like Amazon marketplace,) where individuals can buy and sell keys. Here’s the Far Cry 4 page, where you can see a few marketplace offerings. When purchasing through G2A.COM’s marketplace, they offer a sort of ‘insurance’ called G2A Shield which, the blurb claims, guarantees a “100% successful purchase.” Shield costs an additional fee.
In today’s statement, G2A.COM say that anybody who purchased a subsequently deactivated key with G2A Shield will get “either a new code for the game or the money back.” Those who didn’t buy with the additional Shield fee will “get a compensation” if G2A is able to verify that “the corresponding merchant was responsible for the withdrawal of the code.”
The nature of the “fraudulently obtained” keys isn’t being spelled out by either Ubisoft or G2A at this point, but the most obvious suggestion is that some keys were purchased with stolen credit cards (or similar) and then resold. Both parties seem to acknowledge, at least tacitly, that there were dodgy keys involved.
G2A says it will “make every possible exertion to prevent this kind of procedures in the future and exclude merchants responsible for such incidents from the marketplace.”