Ubisoft seems to be setting up to clamp down on digital key resales after announcing a new partnership with digital distribution Genba Digital. The significance of this partnership comes from Genba's "Silent Key Activation" system that allows for the automatic activation of digital Ubisoft games sold through Steam and Uplay. This will prevent the keys for Ubisoft games to be put up for sale.
Third-party retailers usually offer keys, which can be typed into platforms like Steam to activate a product. But with Genba, retailers will not be given a list of keys, but instead will have access to a keybank which will distribute keys automatically to customers, and activate the product on their account.
"If someone goes on a website like Fanatical and buys a Ubisoft product, it will take them through the checkout process, then ask you to enter your UPlay account—if you don't have one, it asks you to set one up," explains Genba CEO Matt Murphy to GamesIndustry.biz. "The game is then automatically activated in UPlay. Fanatical doesn't get a key, and neither does the player."
This will limit the number of video game PC keys out in the wild and reduce the chance for illicitly obtained keys to be resold online. So far Genba is working with ten retailers, but it sounds like Ubisoft is very much on board with the system as it has announced it will only sell games that use silent key activation.
Considering this prevents losing out on sales for titles, we imagine major game developers are looking at the system and prevent missing out on profits. But it remains to be seen how this could affect the digital PC market.