Chinese gaming giant Tencent has apologized for indirectly selling pirated games via its game acceleration app. The app, which allows users to create storefronts and sell software within it, was found to be harboring pirates selling games through shared Steam accounts.
How have pirates been selling games through the Tencent app?
According to Chinese news platform Sina (we're using machine translation to translate this link), Tencent released a statement a few days ago regarding its QQ Accelerator app. The company said that users had reported sales of pirated games via shared Steam accounts on third-party storefronts in the app. It's not actually Tencent selling these games; rather, it's users who have set up stores within the app and are then selling access to the games that way.
Tencent said that it had removed the offending storefronts and would refund all players who had purchased games via those apps. The company also apologized for any distress caused to players and to the developers of the games being pirated. In addition, Tencent said it would redouble its efforts to manage the app and prevent a reoccurrence of this incident, appealing to players to help it police the app for any instances of piracy.
How were these games being pirated on Tencent's app?
The pirates on the QQ Accelerator app weren't actually selling Steam keys. Rather, they were selling access to shared Steam accounts that owned the game. Once a user had bought access to an account, they could then switch their account to offline mode and enjoy the game without any kind of online check being performed to ensure ownership. Tencent's QQ Accelerator app is designed to help players make their games run smoother, but it's also possible for users to create storefronts of their own, which is how the sale of these shared Steam accounts was discovered.
We know for sure that Tale of Immortal was affected by this issue, but we don't know of any other games that were affected by this form of piracy. Tale of Immortal has proven staggeringly popular, selling 1.8 million copies before an English localization has even been released, so it's understandable that pirates would want to sell access to it. This isn't happening with just Tencent storefronts, either; according to Sina, there are many other game storefronts that have this issue, and they're swiftly taken offline as soon as they're discovered. This isn't likely to stop pirates selling shared Steam accounts for games, but if nothing had been done, it could have been a major blow for Tencent's image. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.
What do you think of this system of piracy? How do you feel about Tencent's response? Let us know in the comments below!