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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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53 comments
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cprn 13 July 2019 at 10:50 am UTC
Mal
cprnClearly, you can. Showing ID in a physical world is nothing more but using a 2nd trusted factor. In cards world it's called a 3DSecure gateway - using 3rd party API (in this case the bank or card issuer's API) to 2nd factor the authentication between two endpoints (i.e. buyer's browser and seller's website). But banks dictate the cost of each 3DS request and it's not cheap so small publishers skim on it (as well as other risk management services). This is the reality of what's going on and the true cause of the issue. Cards are flawed. Extra security to mitigate responsibility for those flaws costs money. Publishers don't like to spend money so they don't buy it. They get burned with chargebacks.

I know that ad hoc solutions exists. But they are expensive to implement and not very practical too. My argument is that in the grand scheme of things, the system doesn't work simply because transaction costs are hidden to the card holder and passed to the seller instead. Now ofc nobody like to see the commission charged on them (I don't like them at least). Yet in this situation the card holder is the one with the power to chose one circuit over another, while the seller is the one that is only being damaged by restricting itself to accept only certain circuits or making the payment process more clunky than necessary. So for the natural mechanics of market competition to occur, you need rules that create the conditions for a mindful choice by the actor with the actual decision power: the buyer. But this today doesn't happen, and often the most convenient payment circuits from customer perspective are the less efficient. Which creates a situation where the worse actually thrives over the better.

That's why I say that removing fees from sellers and charging them to buyers is part of the solution to create the conditions for the market quickly fixing the issue. First payment circuits being responsible of absorbing the costs of fraud use would force them to find the best tech solution to limit that or get an insurance to edge the risks. All while keeping the service convenient and the costs as lowest as possible in order to remain competitive with other circuits, given that those costs are charged to the one that can actually chose between one or another, the customer.

Let's agree to disagree.

I say 1 factor card payments should be dropped worldwide because 1 factor means it's a flawed payment method from the very beginning (i.e. it's never ever safe to pay with a card without 2nd factor and since all the middle-parties have access to this 1 factor - a complete set of information needed to pay with your card - you can only "trust" them to either not store it longer than necessary or store it safely and not re-use it without permission and never sell it illegally) and the system can only be fixed by securing them (i.e. adding a 2nd factor). As long as it's not done and people pay with their card everywhere, there will be card frauds.

You say the system is fine on a technical standpoint even though it's unsecure, but it doesn't work because of the punishment the merchant receives for allowing the fraud payment to occur in the first place because he was greedy, allowed unsafe payments and "saved money" on other forms of fraud prevention and risk management. You say this punishment in form of chargeback fees should be not only visible but also charged to buyers to force them to buy extra insurance or use that 2nd factor (knowing that 2nd factor won't work if the merchant doesn't use a 3DS payment gateway and that small merchants don't use 3DS payment gateways because they're cheap bastards) and that it should somehow be done without increasing the inconvenience of payment with a card.

On my last comment (in this discussion as a whole) I dare to say your proposal is exactly what we had before chargebacks. Take away the right to claim a chargeback entirely and you'll have what you want. Card owners paying for the security flaws of 1 factor card payments. Chargeback clause is a bad fix to a badly designed payment method. What you propose is 2nd bad fix to revert the 1st bad fix.
Mal 13 July 2019 at 1:43 pm UTC
Nope. It doesn't make sense to charge customers the charge backs because they don't have the ability to implement anti theft measures. The payment circuit does so it should absorb those.

I say that the buyer should be charged just and all the regular commissions because the buyer is the only one that is in a position to decide which payment service is better quality vs cost wise. In this case for instance, if service implements an authentication feature that is to clunky a buyer could decide to go with a more expensive payment circuit anyway, one that has for instance less secure payments but offsets the fraud costs with an insurance or something that leads to higher prices.
pskosinski 12 November 2019 at 1:00 am UTC
I was looking for a Monster energy drink and noticed something called LevelUp with G2A logo and that's how I heard for first time about G2A. Only recently I decided to search what is that G2A thing. They make really good energy drinks, for half the price of Monster and I was buying them for last month. But now I feel a bit puzzled, supporting that company. https://www.g2a.co/limited-edition-drink-level-up-with-g2a-logo-only-at-zabka/
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