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.