Having been fed up with the grey market and wanting to (possibly) have more control over its game sales. Ubisoft has announced they’ll be partnering up digital distribution firm Genba Digital, with a new alternative method on selling their PC titles. SKA or “Silent Key Activation” will be required if storefronts want to sell Ubisoft’s titles in the upcoming future.
Meaning that instead of providing lists of game codes, companies such as Ubisoft will use a middle-man service that will link the storefronts and gaming accounts. This can be easier for both the company providing the codes and the stores selling them. The only concern now is that consumers will lose out on the ability to gift games or even turn around and sell them. Outside of selling entire accounts, which has been done in the past and still happens today.
And while the news of recent is that Ubisoft is implementing this, there have been rumblings that other companies were looking to the same. This was confirmed in a recent article from PC Gamer, where Genba stated that they are also working with a number of big publishers. Many companies, for some time, have been looking to kill off the grey market or game codes that were acquired in ways not provided by the publishers. To which this new method appears to be a possible solution.
Genba is working with ten retailers at the moment, while there are others using their own methods. Murphy believes that all of the big publishers will distribute keys this way within a year, and Genba is already working with another large publisher on another keyless system, said PC Gamer.
However, what hasn’t been mentioned is that Ubisoft has been using a similar tactic for a few months now. When I purchased The Division 2 over at Greenmangaming.com, I had to use a service called Ubisoft Connect. When I finished the check out process, I was not provided a game key code and instead I was required to click a link that would authenticate with my Uplay account and add the game. Apparently the process has its fair share of issues but for the most part, it panned out for Ubisoft. No game codes were used and the game was delivered. I haven’t seen any other storefronts using this outside of Greenmangaming, but I imagine this is what Genba Digital’s SKA process will be like.
I can already hear the collective cry of PC gamers everywhere. Yet, I really don’t see this as a negative thing. As long as storefronts are still able to operate as they have in the past. Not restricting what storefronts have the ability to utilize SKA and by not dictating prices, I don’t see an issue with it. It also ensures that the grey market won’t get its hands on Ubisoft titles once SKA is up and running. However, the pessimist in me is concerned about what we can expect to see going forward. Something about having complete control over everything.
I suppose all we can do is wait in see what happens next. Especially since no one other than Ubisoft knows what’s going to happen.