Bethesda and ZeniMax Online have announced in a forum post that they are beginning to close Elder Scrolls Online accounts bought through unapproved Steam key resellers.
Starting yesterday, May 26, accounts with codes bought from certain grey-market sellers will receive an email explaining their access to the game has been revoked. It’ll also oh-so-helpfully give the player more information on how to repurchase the game for the full price of £50.
In the post, ZeniMax explain its stance and provided a rather long list of places you can buy from and expect to actually keep the game:
“We want to remind gamers to shop wisely and only purchase online keys from a reputable source. Fraudulently obtained keys obtained via Steam and then re-sold via third-party websites is a violation of both our and Steam’s Terms of Service. We will be deactivating all game accounts created with such stolen keys starting on Tuesday, May 26th. Affected users will receive an email with instructions on how to regain access to their game account via a valid game purchase.
The companies selling stolen keys make a practice of using stolen credit cards, or misappropriating credit card information from their own customers to buy codes from legitimate retailers. Often these companies have the lowest price available anywhere for the digital item they are selling. Customers who purchase from these vendors are at increased risk for identity theft.
Extreme discounting below the published prices on our website may be a clue that the digital key purchased for the game may have been fraudulently obtained.”
This implies they’re only targeting resold Steam keys, rather than keys intended to be redeemed directly on the site. However it’s not unreasonable to assume they will expand this policy to cover those too in the future.