Ubisoft says canceled Uplay game keys were "fraudulent"

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[Update: Ubisoft revealed last week that the keys in question were purchased with a stolen credit card, but in spite of that it has decided to reactivate some of them. "After further investigation into the matter of keys that were fraudulently purchased on EA's Origin store, we are reinstating keys for consumers who already had successfully activated and started playing the games," a Ubisoft rep told GameInformer. "Any remaining fraudulently obtained and resold keys have been deactivated."

The rep said that Ubisoft will maintain its policy of deactivating fraudulent game keys in the future, however, and strongly recommended that gamers only purchase game keys "from the Uplay shop or trusted retailers."]

Original story:

In response to a flurry of complaints about deactivated Uplay game keys that hit the Ubisoft forums over the weekend, the publisher issued a statement saying it regularly deactivates "fraudulently obtained" keys, but added that it is looking into the matter further and will issue an update to affected customers as soon as it can.

The trouble began on Saturday, when an "expatriate Belgian in Poland" complained that a Far Cry 4 game key he'd purchased from reseller Kinguin had been deleted from his Uplay library without warning. He's purchased keys from Kinguin in the past, he wrote, because Polish stores don't carry English or French-language games and the exchange rate on Steam between the Euro and the złoty, Poland's currency, is absolutely outrageous, and this is the first time he's run into trouble.

The thread quickly ballooned to 25 pages of similar complaints, rebuttals, and the usual sort of internet forum fun times, before Ubisoft finally issued a response. "We regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold," Community Manager xMiiSTY wrote. "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."

There's an element of hopefulness to the statement in the implied suggestion that the situation could be reversed, but when something similar cropped up last year Ubisoft said unequivocally that it will revoke keys purchased from "a non-official reseller—which is selling keys gotten in a non-official way," and that the only option for anyone with a canceled key is to seek a refund from either the reseller or the payment processor. And while it's easy to cast a baleful glare at Ubisoft for its clunky customer service, it's not the only publisher with a policy of shooting down unauthorized keys: The famously gamer-friendly Devolver Digital said in April 2014 that keys for its games purchased through popular reseller G2A "are not legitimate, not guaranteed, and not supported. We are actively canceling those keys."

We've reached out to Ubisoft for more information and will update if and when we receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.