Two of the biggest online marketplace in the Philippines turns into a den of merchants illegally selling pirated video games, software and movies. Prices ranging from PHP 500.00 down to PHP 19.00, hurting the gaming industry in the region and ripping off game publishers revenues. A simple search of some video game title will show you results of pirated copies being sold. It feels like you’re searching for cracked games in a Torrent website – but this time, you have to pay for it – some customer thinks it was a legit.
Digital version of games are usually sold from a digital distribution platform like Steam, Origin, GOG and uPlay where players can purchase games directly from their in-app store. It can also sold legally from other 3rd-party digital marketplace websites like G2A.com, and Kinguin.com; It can even sold in Lazada and Shopee as long as it is in a form of a game keys where it is legally purchased from an authorized distributors or from the publishers. These keys can then be activated through their respective digital distribution platform which binds the game to your account.
But what happens to Lazada and Shopee are quite sketchy, as some of their merchants are not selling game keys nor they’re a “game key reseller”, but blatantly selling pirated copies of video games for easy profit. A cracked games that are illegally downloaded for free on some Torrent websites. Movies and Software are also being sold, like the subscription-based Adobe Photoshop CC that is originally cost around PHP 1,000 per month but being sold for dirt price PHP 20.00 plus a lifetime pre-activated (cracked). Several huge collection of episodes and films are also being sold at bargain.
The transaction between the merchant and customer goes like, when a customer purchase a pirated digital product, the merchant will then email the customer with a shareable Google Drive link where the customer can download or install the digital products. Merchants also included an instruction manual on how to crack the video games or software for it to work.
Viruses and Malwares
Since the software and video games are cracked, Lazada and Shopee are exposing their customers to malware and viruses. Little these customer know is that these pirated copies are made by hackers that are paid to developed a cracked for software and video games. They usually distribute it to torrent website as a form of free download, 90% of these includes virus/malware that can be activated when installed to computer without the knowing of the customer. Commonly used malware from these cracks are botnets which can secretly take control of your PC to be part of a bigger DDOS attack or other form of cyber illegal activities.
We have tried reporting this issue from Lazada and Shopee customer support years ago but until know we didn’t get any results from it. We also have informed our partner game publishers that are affected with this matter and they’re looking at it. Currently, there are bunch of merchants are selling these kind of stuff from both of the marketplace.
A netizen also post their concern in social media after Lazada blatantly advertised a pirated copies of Adobe Premier Pro CC from a Facebook ads. Their response is typical a canned message pointing to unbranded/OEM and how to return the item within 7 days.