A few IL-2 players are discovering that their IL-2 accounts have been deactivated today. At first glance it looked like technical issue, but new details have come out over the course of the day and it looks like the vast majority of those affected had bought their IL-2 access from one of several third party sites that were not an authorized reseller of IL-2. Not a great situation.
Fraud hurts gamers and developers
Whenever I recommend IL-2, I tell people to buy it through the IL-2 website store directly (as you support the developers 100% this way) or buy through the Steam Store. Both of these methods are official means of buying the game and 1CGS and Valve both provide support. Gamersgate is also an apparently licensed third party store (I’ve never heard of them).
There are other websites out there that also happen to be selling keys for IL-2: Battle of Moscow, IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad and other titles in the series that 1CGS has been building over the last few years that are not legitimate. It appears that a lot of the keys that were sold through these sites were purchased using stolen credit cards and then fraudulently resold.
Not everyone who had a key revoked today knew that this was the case so pointing fingers doesn’t do any good in a nasty situation like this. For those affected, you now don’t have access to a game that you thought you paid for. Unfortunately, this also means that you haven’t actually paid for access to this game because of fraud. That sucks.
What also sucks is that IL-2s developer, 1C Game Studios, didn’t see any money from you supporting the game either. That hurts the developers directly. Although fraud is never right, this kind of situation never hurts more than when its a small developer catering to a niche market. Every sale really matters here.
A message from Jason Williams
Lead Producer on the IL-2 series, Jason Williams, has had a busy day on the forums trying to dispel rumours and put the record straight and this message from him I think covers most of the details of the situation and how people should resolve it. Here’s the message:
Just a reminder to NOT buy any of our products from unlicensed “grey” market websites. You are all aware which sites I am referring too. Today while doing some back end work related to our recent and improved Steam integration, we deactivated a batch of old keys that appeared to be unused so we could replace them with some fresh updated keys needed for a special program. These new keys were to be used to meet some other obligations we promised our customers related to Steam. Turns out a large percentage of those keys were obtained through fraud and abuse and then sold second-hand through grey market sites that do not have a license to sell our products. As we have stated before, such keys are subject to deactivation at any time once the fraud is either purposely or in the case, accidentally discovered. Combating fraudulent purchases is a never ending battle and we have taken steps to minimize this so we can avoid what happened today. But we can’t beat this problem alone. If you like our products, protect yourself by buying only through our website direct or through Steam direct or from one of our few licensed re-sellers like Gamersgate etc. If you have a question about a retailer ask us and we will let you know if they are legit.
If a key or product you own was inadvertently deactivated that was bought direct from us or direct from Steam contact our support and we will investigate your case. You will need to show proof that you made the direct purchase for us to re-instate the product. If your key was deactivated and you bought it from a grey market site you need to contact them for a refund. We have ZERO control over their policies and have ABSOLUTELY NO relationship with them whatsoever, hence why we do not encourage anyone to buy from such websites.
We offer many aggressive discounts and promo codes throughout the year and there is really no need to buy from such sites. There are even several users who purchase many licenses and give them away to players with little money. This community is quite generous. Such fraud is the worst kind of greed and it is perpetrated by scum who don’t care about your hobby or this small genre. Don’t reward them by buying from grey market sites.
Not everyone bought from a third party site
There are a few players who apparently did not buy from a third party site and are also having their access revoked as of this evening. This appears to be a mistake and one that an e-mail to the 1CGS support team should solve. So far, and to the best of my knowledge, this has affected just one person who has commented on the forums. I expect the extent of this issue is likely small and the vast majority affected today were people who had not bought from official sources.
If you were affected by the situation and your copy was purchased legitimately from an official store, make sure you contact 1CGS’ support team to have the situation resolved.
To be sure, I logged into my account tonight and had no problems at all.