Update (7-8-19): When things were seemingly starting to quiet down, G2A brings the issue back to the forefront. Today G2A sent an email to no less than 10 different media outlets. Within the emails was a prewritten article G2A was asking the outlets to publish, stating that G2A was currently working on “improving brand awareness and public image”, and the article was an “unbiased article on how “Selling stolen keys on gaming marketplaces is pretty much impossible.”
The official G2A Twitter account has stated that these emails were sent by an employee that did not have permission to take an action such as this, but many doubt that was the case and simply G2A trying to cover themselves after being called out.
Today I’m going to change things up a bit, instead of talking about a game, I’m going to be talking about the ongoing issues between G2A, the infamous key reseller, and indie game publishers and developers.
First let’s go over a bit of information about G2A. The company has had many controversies in the past about AAA and indie games alike. They site is not a registered key seller from most publishers, meaning that they keys sold on the site are being sold by individual people. While this may not seem like a huge issue with the rise of sites like Indie Gala and Humble Bundle, that allow you to purchase games in bundles and either redeem the codes yourself or give the link to a “friend,” people were easily gathering keys they either didn’t want or simply didn’t need and sell them on G2A. (Even though this is against the bundle sites TOS)
The issue starts to rear its head when we get to the topic of stolen credit cards. G2A has no restrictions on how many games a user can sale, nor any way to tell where the codes come from. Many times what this leads to is people stealing credit cards and buying dozens of keys for games and then selling those game codes on G2A. When the owner of the credit card realizes that the credit card has been used maliciously, they chargeback and get refunds for all of those purchases, leaving the developer out of money with dozens of codes for their games being out in the wild.
Okay with all of that out of the way, let’s dive into the most recent drama.
G2A recently launched a new ad push, and when searching for indie games the ads for G2A would appear at the top of the search results, and you are unable to disable the ads.
This lead to a torrent (pun intended) of indie devs asking people to pirate their games rather than buy them from G2A.
After the backlash from indie devs, G2A released a statement stating that if developers could prove that the games were being sold with stolen cards then they would pay the developers 10x the money they would have lost. Indie developers responded to the statement claiming they have neither the time nor the money to investigate every key sold on G2A.
G2A then offered to use an auditing company to try and check the keys sold for developers to see if they are being purchased illegally or not. The catch to this is that G2A wants the developers to give them a list of the keys they believe to be stolen, and only then will they check their database. G2A went on to say that indie game sales on make up 8% of their business, equating that since the amount of indie games they sale are so low, then the impact on developers couldn’t be that severe. What G2A fails to explain is what they consider an indie game, which has become its own discussion. When pressed by developers to remove their games from the store, stating they don’t want codes for their games to be able to be sold on the website, G2A deflected by saying if the keys were removed from their store then sellers would just move somewhere else.
This so far has culminated in Mike Rose, an indie dev whose games are published by the indie label No More Robots, launching a petition to make G2A stop selling indie keys on its store. The petition cites G2A’s own comments, if indie games are 8% of their sales then removing them from the store shouldn’t hurt their business that much.
If you are interested in signing the petition you can do so here: