The situation surrounding Ubisoft’s deactivation of thousands of game keys purchased from third-party sellers is clearer today, thanks to a statement from Kinguin. Along with G2A.COM (who responded yesterday,) Kinguin are one of the third-party key selling companies involved.
Most importantly for the players who ended up with dodgy keys, “All Merchants in cooperation with Kinguin have been and will continue to refund affected customers.” They say that “more than 4600 customer tickets” have been received in the past three days, with 148,377 Euros refunded so far.
They also have a handy break-down of the games affected so far, all of which are Ubisoft titles: “1051 x Far Cry 4, 450 x Assassin’s Creed [presumably Unity], 61 x Watch Dogs, 11 x The Crew.”
Kinguin relates the official story from Ubisoft and Origin, which is that “both sides claim that fraudulent credit cards were used to acquire Ubisoft keys through Origin platform,” but then adds a little further information that the site says it has gleaned from its user-base of independent key sellers.
Here’s how they’re telling it:
“An unidentified individual from Russia acquired these keys. How exactly – we do not know. Those keys have been offered to many merchants in the market. From what we know now price offered for these keys was so low that most merchants refused to buy the goods. 35, mostly minor, merchants from Kinguin accepted the offer. These merchants now claim that their “source” disappeared and that they were left hanging. All Merchants with no exception declared full will to cooperate and refund all affected customers.”
While acknowledging that things like this have happened previously, Kinguin says that it’s the first time it has happened on a scale where the keys number in the thousands.
The company also has some choice words for EA’s Origin platform, taking a dig at their apparently lack of anti-fraud prevention methods: “We believe these platforms must have access to anti-fraud e-commerce tools that should raise alarm flags in such cases.”
Their statement concludes with some thoughts about the expanding, globalised market for key-selling and a suggestion that publishers will always seek to control distribution channels wherever possible. This last paragraph highlights the clash of Kinguin’s vested interests (being able to operate as a third-party seller, or middleman for third-party sellers, of keys) and the vested interests of publishers (who, in many cases, would desire to only sell through their own, tightly controlled platforms.)
Thanks to reader ‘cleaner1’ for the tip.