UPDATE 3PM PST: Ubisoft issued the following statement regarding the gray market games getting blocked:
"We strongly recommend that players purchase keys and downloadable games only from the Uplay Store or their trusted retailers. 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."
The original story appears below.
Ubisoft has begun blocking access to some of its PC games having discovered they were acquired on the gray market.
A certain number of PC games reseller sites, such as G2Play and Kinguin, have come under scrutiny in recent months as they are known to sell Steam game codes at prices well below market value. It is how resellers buy these keys in the first place that many publishers and developers have scrutinized.
Now it emerges that Ubisoft commenced deactivating some PC games, such as Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity, having determined they were acquired by resellers.
Consumers have already raised complaints about their games being deactivated on the Ubisoft forum, but the publisher insists this is a legal matter.
"We regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold," the corporation told Eurogamer.
"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."
Ubisoft is not the first company to take measures against grey market resellers. In May last year, Hotline Miami publisher Devolver Digital declared it was "actively cancelling" Steam keys sold on the reseller website G2A.
Devolver Digital games purchased on @G2A_com are not legitimate, not guaranteed, and not supported. We are actively canceling those keys. — Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) May 14, 2014
Devolver Digital games purchased on @G2A_com are not legitimate, not guaranteed, and not supported. We are actively canceling those keys.
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Today during an earnings call, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson spoke about the major role free-to-play experiences may play in the future of the company's console games. EA already has significant free-to-play businesses on PC and mobile, but how does the publisher view the business model for consoles? That's exactly what one analyst asked Wilson today during the briefing.
Wilson replied by saying that, in the future, he thinks gamers--trained by media like TV, books, and music--will expect console games to be available, at least to start, for free, and then pay later. As such, Wilson said EA is "actively" investigating how it can meet this consumer desire with its future console projects.
"On free-to-play, with consoles, we think about this much the way that we think about free-to-play overall. There's a couple of different vectors to this," Wilson said. "The first is as we look to the future, we believe a very big part of our player-base will expect a free-to-start experience. When we look at film, television, music, books, very often there is this free trial notion that actually onboards new players, new listeners, new readers, or new viewers into a service. We're actively looking at how we could offer that type of experience to our players on console and across other platforms."
EA, of course, isn't planning to just give its future console games away in this scenario. Wilson went on to say that the next step would be to offer the free-to-start player a full-game download, microtransaction, or a subscription--or maybe all three. The executive explained that he hopes to offer all three business model options across console and other platforms in the future.
Looking for more content about EA's financial performance? Check out these stories:
Electronics giant Apple today reported earnings for its latest quarter, announcing that it sold a record 74.5 million iPhones during the period, helping the company hit a new all-time high for quarterly profit.
Net revenue for Apple during the period ended December 27 was $74.6 billion, up from $57.6 billion last year. Meanwhile, Apple posted a record quarterly profit of $18 billion, up significantly from the net profit of $13.1 billion achieved this quarter last year.
Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones during the holiday quarter, up from 51 million last year. Mac sales rose from 4.8 million units last year to 5.5 million this year. iPad sales, however, were down year-over-year. Sales of the Apple tablets totaled 21.4 million, down from 26 million units sold this quarter last year.
This is the second straight quarter where iPad sales dropped.
"What you do see is that people hold onto their iPad longer than they do a phone," Apple CEO Tim Cook said back in October. "Because we've only been in this business for four years, we don't know what the upgrade cycle will be for people."
The upcoming PGA Tour game from EA Sports, the company's first in many, many years without golf legend Tiger Woods, has been delayed.
The game was originally expected to launch by March 31, but it's now been pushed out to sometime in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, EA confirmed today as part of its latest earnings report.
EA's fiscal 2016 runs April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016. That means EA Sports PGA Tour will launch sometime by June 2015.
The publisher also confirmed today that another expansion for The Sims 4 has also been delayed to sometime in fiscal 2016. EA did not provide any further details about the expansion.
EA is currently holding a earnings call discussing these results and answering analyst and media questions. Check back soon for more.