Notorious Game Key Reseller G2A Gets Torn To Shreds In AMA

G2A is a site where people sell game keys. You've probably heard of it thanks to YouTubers/streamers who cut juicy sponsorship deals to promote it. However, the site's also received widespread criticism for lax security, fraud, and making money at developers' expense. G2A recently tried to hold an AMA. It did not go well.

People lobbed every question they could think of at G2A, and they didn't skimp on the hostilities. Questions asked included, "Are you or are not not aware of how much harm you've done to the gaming industry?", "If G2A is a legitimate company with legitimate keys and resellers, why can't you offer buyer protection for free to your customers?", and my personal favourite, "Which one of you thought that an AMA would go well on reddit, where so many people hate you?" G2A's answers got downvoted so far that they had to tell users to change comment sorting in order to see them.

G2A tried to argue that developers don't get hurt by their practices, and they have a strict verification process in place to maintain that. "Let's clear that up. If the key is on G2A, that means that it came from the developer, which means they have already been paid," G2A wrote. "If you want to buy that game on our marketplace, they won't receive any additional money out of that (actually they could with G2A Direct, but let's [not] go into that here)."

They also said they take the possibility of stolen keys (ones that are, for instance, purchased with stolen credit cards, after which developers get hit with charge-backs) very seriously.

"We have special departments in G2A (over 100 people) dedicated to protecting our marketplace," G2A wrote. "We can't disclose exactly how we search for these shady people, or what triggers our suspicions, because that would be giving them a possible roadmap as to how to try and get away with something. The problem is that sometimes the issue (unfortunately) starts on the developers' own site, which can sometimes lack security. And in those situations, if the developer is not willing to work with us it gets a little complicated. In some situations, if a key was not reported to us as stolen and we weren't told it was blacklisted or shown any proof, then there is little we can do."

One user, however, went after G2A for that comment, seemingly contradicting G2A's claims of difficult-to-bypass security entirely. They pointed out that getting a key verified isn't difficult at all, and if you've done it before, you're set indefinitely, meaning you could easily sell a few legit keys, then switch to selling non-legit ones. On top of that, keys seem to go up for sale immediately. G2A countered that the verification process happens behind the curtain, because they want it to be convenient.

The user, however, then shared a screen of a key getting purchased almost immediately after it went up, before it received "verified" status. They then added a fake listing, which quickly passed the verification process, to drive the point home. Instead of saying, "Oh shit, we should really patch up those holes," like a reasonable service might, G2A responded by tracking down the user's account and subjecting them to "stricter verification procedures."

What does this mean in practice? According to the user, "They blocked my ability to buy anything on G2A, basically when trying to purchase anything with my G2A wallet I receive 'Transaction failed, user blocked' and they also blocked my ability to pay out my money, basically they just stole all the money I have in my G2A wallet."

Needless to say, other folks participating in the AMA didn't love that. If you want to check out the full AMA, that's here. Suffice it to say, G2A's responses to concerns over illegitimate aspects of their business aren't super convincing. We've heard about (and reported on) all sorts of fishiness wafting from G2A's general direction, so probably steer clear for now.


Comments

    its all well and good to flame G2A on their business and practices, but they do make some valid points. for a key to be sold through G2A, it must have originated from the developer. Sure, users being able to sell their keys on the service does have the likelihood of keys being purchased using stolen CC's and chargebacks, but how is that any different to those same keys being sold through any other means?

    devs should be reporting these keys to Valve to have them blocked on the Steam storefront, then let G2A deal with the headaches of reimbursing the customer.

    I'm pro developer here but the expectation that a developer needs to be paid repeatedly whenever the same key is resold just doesnt fly with me.

    If I sell my games on ebay, i shouldnt have to pay out a percentage back to the publisher for reselling it.

    I'm not covering G2A's arse here. I think they are shady as all shit, but for different reasons. Reasons such as an appalling customer service network that ignores peoples complaints of keys not being received to the point that custoomers cant be bothered chasing them anymore and losing their money and product as a result.

    Edit: Guys, not that I really care about a downvote for voicing an opinion, but id rather welcome a contribution to the conversation rather than just a downvote. If you have a contradicting opinion, just say it.

    Last edited 06/02/17 9:20 am

      Yeah, I think similar. As shady as G2A can be, it aint because of this. Problem being, those sticking the boot in are already convinced of their opinion, and nothing G2A could say would change their mind.

      This has been covered in a few of the other G2A stories: Valve doesn't offer the developer a way to cancel individual keys.

      When a developer sets up their own store for Steam keys, they buy batches of keys from Valve and then sell the individual keys to customers. They can report a batch stolen, but not individual keys within the batch. So if a customer does a charge back, they've got the choice between (a) letting them keep the key, or (b) cancelling the keys of every other customer who bought from that batch.

      In this sense, G2A is more a symptom of the problem than the root cause. It's also not clear how much effort Valve will take to correct this either: allowing developers to create batches of keys was initially intended for boxed retail products, and they already have a more reliable alternative for developers in the Steam store (just ignore the fact that they skim off 30% of gross).

      Last edited 06/02/17 2:08 pm

        I agree 100%. However, to me, this seems to be more of an issue with Valve/Steam, rather than G2A. Why cant developers blacklist single keys? Even if G2A disappears, the problem is not eliminated. the same issues still stand, the only difference being that sellers will look for other avenues to sell.

      It's a bit hard to take anyone seriously here when the only person not presenting a dichotomous viewpoint (which in no way infers support) is downvoted.

    Used G2A a couple dozen times, never had a single issue. And they make solid points.

    I've always been confused by this. How come ebay or pawn shops don't get blamed when people sell stolen shit on there? Sure, G2A are pretty dodgy with their shield service and stuff, but I don't think they are to blame for stolen keys are they?

    The only alternative to sell a game key you don't want is little forums and subreddits that offer very little in the way of security or reliability. So, say you got a key gifted to you and don't want or came as a promotion with some hardware you bought, what are your options? Redeem a key for a game you'll never play?

    I'm not on G2A's side but theft is a big issue in all second hand markets, so should we just stop them altogether? I don't see how that benefits the consumer.

      Well at least with a pawn shop, the problem is that pawn shops legally don't want to buy goods that may have been stolen, because authorities will confiscate the goods and the shop will be out the money. G2A doesn't have to worry about liability for listing keys that might have been stolen because for them, there are currently no repercussions whatsoever.

      The problem for the consumer is that if G2A isn't financially motivated toward verifying the keys sent to them, because G2A gets their money regardless of the key's legitimacy, then the user buying the key can not trust the reliability of the website and is out of luck if one of the sellers is scamming them.

      Penalizing G2A for selling stolen keys would force them to check and see if listed keys are legitimate, which in the process, would tell them if the keys actually work, which would drastically improve the end user experience and consumer confidence. This is how there is benefit to the consumer. Currently, if a user purchases a key which is stolen or otherwise illegitimate, the user is liable and not G2A, because G2A wants to protect itself and its sellers over its customers.

    All the hate for G2A is only hurting the consumers and sellers. G2A had made it nearly impossible to actually sell a game because they demand "proof" that you own it. How do you prove that a key is legit without activating it? They wouldn't let me sell a single key I attempted so I don't know how someone could possibly sell a fake one. I have purchased games successfully many times without an issue. I'm calling bs on the G2A haters.

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