Solution to Stolen Game Codes

Have you ever bought a hard copy of a game at your local electronics retailer, gotten home and tried to use the authentication code in the casing and have been greeted to an error saying “this game code has already been redeemed”? Well, you’re not the only one, it happens far too often.

Over the weekend, I bought my mate a brand new copy of Overwatch from ebgames after the new character, Doomfist was released. Upon activation of the code, we were greeted with an error that the code has already been used. We literally were like WTF, a brand new game and the code doesn’t work. The packaging wasn’t opened and everything looked new. Having faith in ebgames, we have ruled out that a customer has returned their disc after activating it and resold the game as brand new. We quickly jumped onto Blizzards live chat, which runs fairly often and we had a response time of 1 minute, which is pretty decent compared to other companies these days. After talking with the representative, we learned that our code had been redeemed back in 2016! I repeat, 2016! The game was bought on the 29th of July and someone had a lucky day inputting random codes back in 2016. We were shell shocked and was linked to the account of Melanie. So if there is a Melanie out there who used our code in 2016, you have stolen from us. (well now ebgames after we return the game).

This has been the case for many different people with their overwatch codes and also other games who sell hard copies of games. I personally have experience this on the PS4 with a few Helldiver expansion packs, which makes me wonder, why aren’t companies using different methods to resolve these issue. This clearly is a major issue online with many different key-gens available to download and the large amounts of forum posts of people complaining ( and literally crying!!) over their games. It is pretty devastating for the end consumer and especially the business as they essentially have their stock stolen from them. This renders an 80 AUD game useless, meaning that is essentially isn’t worth anything.

I propose a solution to end this madness, but a stop to online keygens and people bootlegging game codes, it’s time introduce two factor authentication. This refers to using two methods or two different codes to activate the game, meaning that there is a decreased chance in people stealing game codes.

Here’s how it could theoretically work:

The user purchases the game from in store, the store owners do not leave the keys inside empty cases and mustn’t allow employees to use the keys, and the buyer receives the game unopened and untouched. After installing the game, instead of redeeming through one code, use two codes that need to be entered. These two codes would have the same complexity as the original, but must be redeemed in a certain order. So we would have code 1 and code 2, this is like paypal authenticating your bank account. Once these two codes are successfully activated, the user can start playing their game, easy fix! This method would make it so much harder for hackers to find correct keygens, making sure that electronic retailers do not loose stock and the user is happy rather than complaining on different forums about a certain game. It is a terrible situation and it shouldn’t happen to anyone who has actively gone out and paid for the game. There are many other ways to do the second code verification, such as sending text to a mobile device with a code to type in, or answering a phone call with a code or typing in a smaller strong of code instead of using the same. These are all different ways game companies should be looking at to avoid having codes being used. Perhaps even creating a system that once the game has been scanned, the code instead the box goes live, which means there is less of a chance the key gens will re-create that code as it cycles through its loops. This could be a possible solution and it would also help catch out companies who are reselling used games to the consumer. 

Something needs to be implemented to stop this from happening to more and more customers, it’s purely up to the game companies in how they want to approach this, but this isn’t fair on the businesses that sell these games and the consumer. Perhaps you have not experience this before, but trust me, it’s a terrible feeling that sparks rage within you, knowing that someone out there, by chance, has taken your code.