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G2A, the key reseller that isn't particularly liked by most game developers is having some time in the spotlight and as usual, it's not for good reasons.

They have a bit of a history with developers, something I've written about before and even the first comment on that article was about keys being revoked that were purchased from G2A. They're a very shady company and I shall continue to urge people to support developers and shop elsewhere. You would think after Gearbox pulled the plug on their deal with G2A, that lessons would have been learned but it appears not.

So why are they back in the spotlight now? G2A decided to take out sponsored adverts on Google so that they show above more legitimate sources, as noted by Mike Rose on Twitter from the publisher No More Robots. Rose urged people to just pirate the game instead of buying on G2A, as game developers see nothing from G2A. Developer RageSquid, who made Descenders (published by No More Robots) also jumped in to say the same on Twitter "Please torrent our games instead of buying them on G2A". The situation gets then even murkier when Rose goes on to explain (Twitter thread) how some games end up on G2A and it's not pretty but it boils down to this:

- Someone sells a copy of a game using dodgy links and "Steam Gifts", waits until the game is in their account and they're happy
- At that point, they have plenty of options regarding how to kill that key and not pay for it

They're not alone in this feeling. Rami Ismail of Vlambeer also mentioned on Twitter:

If you can't afford or don't want to buy our games full-price, please pirate them rather than buying them from a key reseller. These sites cost us so much potential dev time in customer service, investigating fake key requests, figuring out credit card chargebacks, and more.

Even Fork Parker, the Chief Financial Officer at Devolver Digital chimed in on Twitter to say:

G2A is getting a lot of flak lately but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a garbage company.

Then we have Gwennaël Arbona, the developer of Helium Rain, who also jumped in to say:

Our game has never been offered on giveaway or wholesale, but you still did not take it down, despite our multiple demands.

Further Twitter posts from Arbona also note how they reached out to G2A back in November last year but are still waiting on responses. The list of developers complaining about G2A just goes on and on.

G2A has recently put up a blog post to claim they will bring in a "reputable and independent auditing company" who will look over claims of fraud. G2A also said they will pay developers "10 times the money they lost on chargebacks after their illegally obtained keys were sold on G2A". Their team also took to Twitter themselves, to say:

Let's say that petition goes and G2A decides to stop selling any indie game. "Nature abhors a vacuum". Sellers would move to the next platforms (there is like 20 of them) and then to Ebay and other marketplaces.

They're clearly aware there's an issue, but part of their argument seems to be that if they didn't offer this "service" someone else would. Not exactly a good foundation to an argument. Remember, this is the company that charges people every month, if they don't login to their account regularly! Yes, they still do that.

What's also brilliant is that G2A seem to be asking people to publish their "unbiased" article for payment, yet not mentioning that it's sponsored which is probably against some advertising laws, as well as being incredibly immoral and only continues to show how shady they are willing to be.

So now it has resulted in Rose from No More Robots creating a petition to ask game developers to sign their name to get G2A to stop selling indie games, since they're one of the most affected by it. The petition has so far managed to reach over three thousand signatures.

If you're wondering why things like the Humble Indie Bundle are a lot rarer now, websites like G2A are part of the reason. Too many developers worried about people mass-buying keys to sell on G2A, causing their games to be devalued over a very long time.

Updated after publishing, to add in a note about how G2A are trying to pay people to publish their article.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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52 comments
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TheSHEEEP 8 July 2019 at 11:11 am UTC
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That's actually one of the reasons I'd never add a game I developed (not that I have done that, yet, but still ) to some bundle.
Seems to be the only way to make sure you're not getting ripped off eventually as a developer. Well, short of only selling on a single platform, that is.
LibertyPaulM 8 July 2019 at 12:36 pm UTC
G2A (and other grey market sites) are not the problem, they are a symptom. The whole system is flawed and G2A are simply taking advantage of it. This misdirected anger will ultimately solve nothing.
Eike 8 July 2019 at 12:40 pm UTC
LibertyPaulMG2A (and other grey market sites) are not the problem, they are a symptom.

A symptom of what?

The problem of bundles?
The problem of the possibility to resell keys?

The problem of people being greedy?
g000h 8 July 2019 at 12:42 pm UTC
I'm agreeing with the article, but I'd like to add some conjecture:

I was under the impression that a site like G2A is involved with reselling unwanted game keys. You buy a bundle somewhere, you already own one game in that bundle and so the key is useless to you. You put the key on a site like G2A for a small sum back. It doesn't seem "so bad" viewed that way.

But the thing is, there are also lots of keys acquired fraudulently which are sold on the same site, and then an unwitting gamer buys a fraudulent key for what seems to be a bargain, adds it to their steam account and it gets activated. Then a few days later, it gets revoked by the developers. So the cheap game you've just bought - Well, it's just money down the drain instead.
The_Aquabat 8 July 2019 at 12:49 pm UTC
Eike
LibertyPaulMG2A (and other grey market sites) are not the problem, they are a symptom.

A symptom of what?

The problem of bundles?
The problem of the possibility to resell keys?

The problem of people being greedy?

maybe a symptom of credit card leaks and dark net markets?. I fear this type of things are only getting worse.
DrMcCoy 8 July 2019 at 12:52 pm UTC
EikeA symptom of what?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhZ4t7pRyjE



But seriously, G2A is garbage. The whole system might be flawed, but that doesn't change that G2A is actively harming people.
Liam Dawe 8 July 2019 at 1:03 pm UTC
Added an additional bit:
QuoteWhat's also brilliant, is that G2A seem to be asking people to publish their "unbiased" article for payment, while also not mentioning it's sponsored which is probably against some advertising laws, as well as being incredibly immoral and only continues to show how shady they are willing to be.
The_Aquabat 8 July 2019 at 1:05 pm UTC
DrMcCoy
EikeA symptom of what?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhZ4t7pRyjE



But seriously, G2A is garbage. The whole system might be flawed, but that doesn't change that G2A is actively harming people.

I agree the problem here is that if you set a web market, things like fraudulent purchases and scams are likely to happen, but it's the attitude that is disturbing, they just don't give a damn, they are not doing anything against those scams, in fact they seem taking advantage on that.
ixnari 8 July 2019 at 1:47 pm UTC
LibertyPaulMG2A (and other grey market sites) are not the problem, they are a symptom. The whole system is flawed and G2A are simply taking advantage of it. This misdirected anger will ultimately solve nothing.

What system is that? I'm not being facetious, I'm genuinely curious. Are you talking about how G2A takes advantage of game keys being purchased by stolen credit cards? I hope not, because perpetuating the problem would be just as bad.

From where I'm standing, it looks like G2A has a history of shady business practices, ignoring their customers and devs whose keys they sell and when they don't, they come off as arrogant and flippant. They also got in hot water with not one, not two, but three separate game companies: Riot, tinyBuild (twice) and Gearbox. That's not a good look, no matter how you slice it.
Corben 8 July 2019 at 1:54 pm UTC
Though I understand that devs suggest to pirate or torrent games instead of buying them on G2A... it's not legal. You won't win any case by arguing the dev allowed me on twitter to pirate the game.

Also there are probably some legal sources on G2A, where people just want to sell their unused keys. But yeah, there is also a huge amount of fraudulent keys on it, and that's what hurts the devs. I don't know how much effort it is, to implement a system that checks more or less automatically if a key is valid, but it can't be rocket science.

Heck, from a friend I know whose key got revoked he got even his money back from G2A. They want to be on the market and deliver good service, so it can't be so hard for them to make sure devs don't make a huge loss. Don't get me wrong, I know key sellers are shady and I am buying my stuff from authorized resellers. But people also want to buy games for cheap, some even can't afford anything near full price, so they are looking for cheap prices. Unfortunately they mostly end up with G2A... that's how the free market works. Is all we can do just to urge people not to buy there?

I thougth though that with all the steam, humble, gog, gamesplanet, etc. sales those keysellers would have a hard time... but looks like it still can get cheaper.
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