Update: EA has confirmed Ubisoft's assertion that the fraudulent keys in question were purchased from Origin. The company provided us with additional detail.
"A number of activation keys for Ubisoft products were purchased from Origin using fraudulent credit cards, and then resold online," an EA representative told us via email. "We identified the unauthorized keys and notified Ubisoft. If you are having trouble with an activation key, we recommend you contact the vendor who sold it to you for a refund. We strongly advise players only purchase keys from Origin or trusted resellers. For more information on our policy is available here: http://help.ea.com/en/article/should-i-purchase-my-ea-downloadable-games-from-cd-key-sellers/."
EA has since removed Ubisoft games from Origin. The publisher says this was to "protect against further fraudulent purchases."
We removed Ubisoft games from Origin to protect against further fraudulent purchases. We've followed up with EA with a request for more information, including why Ubisoft games were targeted and how removing that publisher's catalog improves security.
EA has declined to provide further detail at this time.
In an update to yesterday’s story about deactivated Far Cry 4 keys, Ubisoft has provided additional information about the situation. The company says that players affected are, essentially, in receipt of stolen property.
"We strongly recommend that players purchase keys and downloadable games only from the Uplay Store or their trusted retailers," the company said in a prepared statement. "We regularly work with our authorized resellers to identify and deactivate fraudulently obtained and resold keys. In this case, we 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. Customers who may have been impacted should contact the vendor where they purchased the key for a refund."
We approached Kinguin, one of the retailers in question yesterday about the matter. At that time, the company told us something quite different.
"The banned game copies in question were acquired through licensed wholesale distributors and as such the origin of the ‘keys’ is the publisher himself,” said Kinguin chief marketing officer Bartłomiej Skarbiński.
We've reached out to Kinguin again for comment on this revelation. We'll update should we receive a response.
Consumers still lose out here, but Ubisoft is operating appropriately. Given fraudulent and illegal activity, the company must protect itself. This is a hard and painful lesson for affected users and, quite frankly, it isn't fair. The best course of action is to contact your retailer and hold them accountable. Please let us know what happens.