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Origin freebie photo
Origin freebie

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is free on Origin


The one from Criterion Games
Feb 02
// Jordan Devore
The latest game in Origin's On the House program is 2012's Need for Speed: Most Wanted. For a limited time, you can add it to your account for free and it'll stay there until the end of days, probably. I'm not particularly we...

Inside the incredibly shady world of selling stolen PSN accounts

Jan 26 // Mike Cosimano
Earlier this month, Destructoid received a tip from a source [who we will refer to as 'Tim'] claiming they had unknowingly purchased a stolen PlayStation Network account via G2A.com. For those unaware, G2A is a Hong Kong-based site that primarily sells third-party keys and even accounts. (Some of you may remember G2A from this story about stolen Far Cry 4 keys.) Although G2A is itself a third-party seller, it also acts as a platform for individual sellers and buyers to conduct transactions. One such transaction resulted in the sale of an account belonging to a man [who we will refer to as 'Eric']. When an account sale is on the up-and-up, the account will be nigh-barren, apart from the advertised game. There's some mojo you can perform that will allow you to play this game on your console via your main account (which I won't recount here, because it kinda makes sense and I don't want any of you thinking this is a good idea). Of course, there are examples of people just selling their stacked account in the hopes of making some extra cash; buy a bunch of popular games on sale, flip the account for more than the games are worth. Or, hey, you've just sold your PS4 in a fit of rage, why not sell that account full of platinum Trophies too while you're at it? There are too many hypotheticals in play. When you buy an account, there's a 50% chance you've just committed a crime. Unless you sign in and find a bunch of credit cards and a still-active PlayStation Plus membership. This was Tim's red flag, and he immediately contacted the seller (who refunded the transaction without a word) and Eric, who took back control of his account. "I got this account, expecting some garbled random email address and password, but the email address was just some dude's name. I kind of raised an eyebrow at that, but thinking the email address might belong to the person who bought the code to sell, I tried it out, and... it was genuinely just some guy's account," Tim said in an email to Destructoid. This is exactly what happened to me. I wanted to get a feel for the account-buying process, so I went looking for popular big-budget video games (reasoning that more people would be selling those as opposed to an account made specifically for Race the Sun or whatever) before eventually settling on a listing for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I received an account that was as generic as they come. No name, no credit cards, no friends, no Trophies...and a copy of Ground Zeroes. Initially, I thought I had found a legit seller that had just made a mistake. That was ostensibly the end of my little experiment, so I went to the seller looking to get a refund. The seller was very insistent that I take a new key instead...which eschewed the generic email and password for a significantly less generic one. Again, much like Tim, I raised an eyebrow at this. But I logged in anyway, reasoning that I would either return the account and save a person from identity theft -- or, if this was an honest transaction, end up with an account that I could just gift to a friend. This account was very much someone else's, which is where the "light theft" part comes in. Nate Martin (his real name!) is the CEO of Puzzle Break, an Escape the Room venue located in Seattle. I know his address and the last four digits of two of his credit cards, thanks to the purchase I made through G2A. Again, luckily for Nate, I had zero intent of holding onto another person's account, so that information remains safe with me. But there's no telling what could've happened if Nate's account ended up in the wrong hands. And he has zero idea how his password ended up in my hands. "I couldn't begin to guess how it happened. I'm guessing it was that mass hack a while back I vaguely remember hearing about. No other accounts of mine (that I'm aware of) seem to be compromised," Nate told us. "I have not much in the way of free time. I'm not super interested in throwing myself against a byzantine [interactive voice response; the telephone robots that ask you if you meant 'billing' when you said 'operator'] that I'm sure Sony has in exchange for a gift card." Eric, the man whose account sparked this whole investigation, said it took "over an hour" to prove his identity to Sony. "I would say Friday I went to my PS4 and was unable to do anything with the system. About two minutes after that, I received three emails from Sony stating that my PayPal had been removed and my passwords had changed, along with my first and last name being changed as well." Sony did not respond to request for comment. It appears the modus operandi changes between scammers. According to Nate, the hacker didn't change his password. I was going to make sure the account belonged to him before I gave him what I assumed was a new password set by the seller, but it turns out Nate knew it off the top of his head. So how does the law work in this particular case? For the purposes of this article, we'll be working with California penal codes -- code 496 in particular. Obviously, a person who knowingly receives stolen property (with the intent of withholding it from the owner), will be charged with either a felony or misdemeanor. In the case of both Tim and myself, returning the account means we're off the hook, and the person who stole the account in the hopes of selling it is definitely 100% a criminal. I was curious if PSN accounts having no basis in the physical world meant something regarding the legality of this transaction. For this story, I talked to New York City-based lawyer Harvey Lippman about selling accounts that don't belong to you, on the off chance there was some crazy loophole that made all of this legal. According to Harvey, that is absolutely not the case. "From what I've read, a lot of this stuff is evolving. There are some newer laws being written," Harvey said in a phone interview. From a lawyer's perspective, he likened it to the theft of a movie ticket. "You don't own the film, but that ticket gives you the right to watch it." That license constitutes "property," and is thus subject to stolen property laws. The next question we have to ask is the placement of G2A in this whole situation. Unless G2A knew for sure that something was up, Harvey says the site is not liable. "Absent some kind of negligence of knowledge, the site is not liable -- unless there is a statute saying they have a duty."  Well, the site's Terms of Service states that "G2A.COM is neither a party to the agreement between the User and the Seller, nor between the Selling User and the User, nor between Sellers -- it merely provides specific assistance and administration services to the Sellers and the Users." The site claims it is the thirdest of parties, but let's dig into that claim a little bit. Going back to penal code 496, in the case of "every swap meet vendor and every person whose principal business is dealing in, or collecting, merchandise or personal property, and every agent, employee, or representative of that person," third-party sellers have a duty to make sure the product is not stolen. So, in this particular case, based on G2A's Terms of Service, the site defines the seller as a second third-party; G2A is more like the person who owns the parking lot where the illegal swap meet happened. As if that wasn't enough, the site that sold me the stolen account also claims to be a third-party, having purchased the code from a seller on Taobao -- a Chinese e-commerce site owned by Alibaba. Yes, that Alibaba. Last we saw, the company was working on a credit system with the Chinese government. Somebody buy me a corkboard, some red yarn, and some thumbtacks. According to a source inside G2A, the company is currently investigating both my case and Tim's. "Sellers of PSN accounts (or any other digital product present on our marketplace) are under supervision of our Customer Experience specialists. Our specialists react every time when there is even a shadow of doubt as to any credibility and trustworthiness. In such cases of an invalid product, sellers are banned and the customers refunded promptly," our source said in an email to Destructoid. Researching this story was like trying to escape from Alcatraz with only a nail file. The deeper I got, the more I hoped to find some measure of closure -- a feeling that never came. I only had to stop reporting on this because at some point, you just have to publish what you've got. We're still waiting on emails from G2A, the organization that sold me the stolen account, and (hopefully) Sony. Taobao was a dead end, because I don't speak a lick of Chinese, and even then I doubt the seller in question would confess to a reporter. At best, I would get another deflection. I can't promise you an ending, at least one that provides a sense of finality. I don't know who stole either account, and nobody's owning up to the deed. All I can tell you is that I've left this experience less trusting of my fellow man. Keep your information safe, gang.
True Crime photo
Lawyers have already been contacted
When I start looking into a story that I know will go much longer than my average Destructoid news post, I like to get as hands-on as possible. I don't just want to read a bunch of other articles about the subject in question...

Korea photo
Korea

StarCraft II match-fixing and gambling lead to arrests, lifetime bans


Twelve involved
Oct 19
// Steven Hansen
Twelve people have been arrested in Korea in relation to a match-fixing and illegal betting on StarCraft II, according to Team Liquid. A Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) statement names Park Wae-Sik, head coach of the profe...
Swatting photo
Swatting

Troll gone wrong: Suspected swatter arrested


Stupid is as stupid does
Feb 07
// Robert Summa
Have you ever heard the saying, just because you can doesn't mean you should? Well, apparently this guy didn't. A Las Vegas "man" has been arrested after authorities alleged Brandon Willson, 19, made up a murder in order to g...

Steam photo
Steam

Valve pulls shady Earth: Year 2066 from Steam, offering refunds


Lack of honesty in the game's marketing cited
May 06
// Jordan Devore
After rising through the Steam Greenlight approval process, Earth: Year 2066 was released on Steam Early Access just last month for $19.99. If you follow Jim Sterling's fine work over at The Escapist, you'll be all too famili...
Politics photo
Politics

Anti-game senator Leland Yee arrested on fraud, gun trafficking charges


Sweet irony
Mar 27
// Jordan Devore
California state senator Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday on charges of honest services fraud and gun trafficking. A vocal opponent of violent videogames, Yee should be no stranger to long-time Destructoid readers given his ...
Nintendo vs. flashcarts photo
Nintendo vs. flashcarts

Nintendo files suit against Florida flashcart distributor


Not in my house!
Aug 07
// Tony Ponce
Piracy on the DS was kind of a big deal, which is why Nintendo has been taking measures to ensure that the same filth doesn't infect the 3DS ecosystem. The 3D handheld has remained more or less untainted thus far, but the onl...
Precursor in the hot seat photo
Shadow of the Eternals developer was immediately terminated
[Editor's note: In light of some of the commenters' statements, I have slightly revised some of the wording of the original article so as to tone down my gut reactions. It's a topic I feel very strongly about, hence my respon...

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Man chooses month of prison over month of Xbox games


Console wars definitively over
Jun 06
// Jim Sterling
A New Zealand young offender has chosen to spend the final month of his house arrest term in a real prison, rather than spend another four weeks trapped in his home with his emotionally crippling Xbox system. He was so sick o...
Crime, indeed photo
Crime, indeed

Taito's Crime Connection wants your phone's contact info


I'd rather pay to play than agree to these terms
Apr 11
// Allistair Pinsof
Crime Connection, the latest iOS and Android title from Square Enix subsidiary Taito, is a free-to-play "social crime simulation" in the style of Mafia Wars. There is a serious caveat to the game, however, and I'm not talking...
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Sandy Hook shooter allegedly trying to beat a high score


The only game hurting society is the blame game
Mar 18
// Jim Sterling
An anonymous "law enforcement veteran" claims the Sandy Hook shooter was comparing "high scores" of previous mass murderers and intended to beat a record. According to this totally responsible and not-at-all reckless source, ...

Teen shoots parents with pistol, blames violent games

Mar 14 // Jim Sterling
As we saw with Norway shooter Anders Brevik, it's looking like killers have taken note of the fact they can shift accusing eyes away from themselves by pointing at violent videogames -- a tactic eagerly swallowed up by news sources, parents, and politicians. Thanks entirely to the efforts of FOX News, CNN, Leland Yee, and a host of other reckless disseminators of assumption-posing-as-fact, videogames are an easy way for a criminal to pass the buck and take some of the heat off themselves. It might not be a "get out of jail free" card -- yet -- but it's demonstrably effective in allowing murderers respite from their own responsibility.  That someone can kill people in cold blood, blame videogames ... and actually have that blame accepted by influential people, is beyond atrocious. Nathan Brooks won't be the last one to try it, either, and he won't be the last to find a society more than willing to hear him out. Utterly disgusting.  14-Year-Old Shoots Parents, Blames Video Games [GamePolitics] [Image source]
'Violent games' defense photo
This is what killers have learned to do now
A Washington state teen has been charged with murder, the 14-year-old having shot his mother and father in the head after he was grounded from electronic devices. Nathon Brooks may be tried as an adult for the crime, tho...

GameStop VP in prison photo
GameStop VP in prison

Former GameStop VP in prison for stealing $1.7 million


You could buy a lot of used Maddens with that kind of money!
Mar 12
// Allistair Pinsof
Some may call GameStop employees crooks for giving customers pennies for their beloved Maddens, but only Frank Christopher Olivera, former VP of corporate communications and public affairs at GameStop Texas, has been sentence...
Donkey Kong rip-off photo
Donkey Kong rip-off

Donkey Kong also got ripped off for an iOS game


Apple's Seal of Quality
Mar 04
// Tony Ponce
What was that saying again? "When it rains, it pours"? The Android developer who released a game unwittingly starring Yoshi may have been able to cover his ass -- albeit barely -- but there is no way in hell that the mastermi...
Who is Yoshi? photo
I'm having a hard time believing that
A few days ago, we learned about Era's Adventures 3D, a new Android game that stars an unlicensed character model of Mario's faithful mount Yoshi. It sounds incredibly ballsy that anyone would pull such a stunt and not antici...

Rip-off Yoshi game photo
Rip-off Yoshi game

Yoshi shoots atomic snot in this Android rip-off


Era's Adventures 3D is the pinnacle of classiness
Feb 28
// Tony Ponce
I heartily enjoy smartphone gaming, but it's hard to defend mobile distribution platforms when shameless rip-offs that steal characters and assets wholesale from other, more popular games can find find shelf space without an...

How to steal from Elder Scrolls and not get away with it

Feb 08 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]243819:46680[/embed] Limbo of the Lost's ending: No it doesn't make any more sense if you play it. Limbo of the Lost's development tells a tale of how a developer can lose integrity while fighting to get a game on shelves. One can say that the game industry itself is run on the rampant stealing and repeating of others' ideas. Limbo of the Lost stands out in this respect, as it is full of its own terrible, bizarre ideas -- though, no publisher took it lightly when they discovered it stole art assets from their games. Co-creators Steve Bovis and Tim Croucher began the journey to release in the early '90s, developing it for the Atari ST. Their publisher shut down the project due to the Atari ST's dwindling relevance on the market, so the two went back to the drawing board. The same thing happened again in 1995, when they developed the game for the no longer relevant Amiga 1200 and Amiga CD32. After years of learning 3D game design, the two went at it again but this time with *ahem* success. Limbo of the Lost released in Europe on September 28, 2007 and nearly a year later in the US. [embed]243819:46681:0[/embed] Feast your eyes on what the trailer exclaims are "realistic skin and bone" -- a real selling point for the title. Despite a decade of development, no one paid the game any mind upon release. Not until a site called GamePlasma (which now links to malware) took notice to some familiar locations: areas from The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Thief 3 were directly ripped and thrown into Limbo of the Lost with nary a change. Once this information got out -- brought forth by the always wonderful Rock, Paper Shotgun -- forum users gathered to see how deep the well went. Skulls from Diablo II! The freaking hand from Black & White! The developer's official site is a GeoCities page! Why is there concept art for a character called Cranny Faggot? Why is the developer promoting lighting and lip-syncing as features in 2007? The madness comes to a peak once the game is installed and played. The blend of terrible design filled with elements from familiar classics makes Limbo of the Lost a game unlike any other; an unintentional success -- successful at what, I don't exactly know. Instead of using others' assets to tie a plot together, an insane plot is devised to put together and justify the stolen areas of other games. The result is madness of a caliber that will likely never be achieved in a commercially released (and subsequently recalled) game again. Though I don't condone piracy, it only seems right with this title. [embed]243819:46682:0[/embed] Spotting the stolen assets makes for a strange form of trivia with Limbo of the Lost.
Oddity: Limbo of the Lost photo
The bizarre and very bad Limbo of the Lost
Limbo of the Lost is the stuff nightmares are made of (see above) and the stuff of lawsuits, as well. It's a perfect storm of all things terrible that makes a game in the adventure genre -- a genre that even at its worst can ...

Omerta video photo
Omerta video

Be your own Don in Omerta - City of Gangsters


New strategy title from Kalypso
Jan 29
// Alasdair Duncan
Organised crime sim Omerta - City of Gangsters is giving you the chance to be the Don of Atlantic City, complete with your own crew of gangsters and on-the-nose nicknames. I like the look of this character creator, specifica...
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ArmA 3 devs to remain in jail after being denied bail


Buchta & Pezlar's situation seems to have worsened
Nov 16
// Harry Monogenis
Bohemia Interactive's Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta have been locked up for some 70 days now, having been arrested while on holiday on the Greek island of Lemnos. The two are accused by the Greek government of espionage ...
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Resident Evil 6 stolen, being sold for ludicrous amounts


Oh, naughty stealing!
Sep 03
// Jim Sterling
A small quantity of Resident Evil 6 copies have been thieved and are floating around Europe, waiting to be purchased. It was originally reported that a retailer in Poland had broken street date by a month, but Capcom has conf...
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Gun down ALL the animals in Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D


Aug 28
// Jordan Devore
It all started with an eloquent email from Destructoid's director of communications, Hamza Aziz: "Shoot the SH*T out of wild animals on the 3DS." I almost felt too guilty to highlight Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D when there...
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Xbox Live improves security, urges password updates


Jul 18
// Jim Sterling
Xbox Live has been tightening its security recently, with general manager Alex Garden detailing a range of improvements made to the service in order to protect we would-be victims. He has also suggested that all XBL users upd...
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iOS MMO shamelessly rips off Torchlight


Jul 17
// Jim Sterling
Armed Heroes, a mobile MMORPG, is the latest game on iTunes to be caught shamelessly stealing stuff from other studios. The victim this time is Torchlight, with Runic Games' Travis Baldree calling out the thieving party -- EG...
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Diablo III allegedly hacked as gold and items get stolen


May 21
// Jim Sterling
Diablo III has allegedly been hacked, with gold and items stolen from users. This is according to multiple reports around the Web from those claiming to be victims. One such victim is Eurogamer's Christian Donlan, whose accou...
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Man arrested for smuggling cocaine in his Xbox 360


May 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Driving around with mass quantities of illegal narcotics isn't exactly the smartest idea in the world, but if that's something you plan on doing you could learn a thing or two about what not to do from this tale about a man a...
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Daily Mail: Gamers 'trained' to shoot people in the head


May 01
// Jim Sterling
In a new story titled, "Are we creating a generation of murderers?," the panic merchants at the Daily Mail implies that hardcore gamers are "trained" to accurately shoot real firearms. The tabloid call this a "shocking revela...
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Kickstarter scandal time! Little Monster accused of scam


May 01
// Jim Sterling
It was going to happen. The moment Double Fine made headlines with its Kickstarter project, an invisible timer had been set, counting down to the inevitable crowdfunding scandals. Little Monster Productions is up for the chop...
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If Anders Breivik used COD to train to be a killer ...


Apr 20
// Jim Sterling
... I've been using Sonic the Hedgehog to learn how to fucking exercise.
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Ubisoft sued for 'ripping off' Assassin's Creed idea


Apr 18
// Jim Sterling
A science fiction author is suing Ubisoft after alleging that the premise of Assassin's Creed was stolen from his own novel, Link. John L. Beiswenger is a research engineer as well as a writer, and points to a number of ...
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Child molester caught red-handed thanks to DSi camera


Mar 29
// Jim Sterling
A 46-year-old British man may have gotten away with molesting a child, had the victim not been quick-witted enough to catch his criminal act on her DSi camera. Thanks to a 10-year-old girl and her game system, pedophile John ...

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