Shady Key Reseller G2A Fucks Up Spectacularly

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Shady Key Reseller G2A Fucks Up Spectacularly
This is G2A’s own explanation as to where its keys come from.

Last year, G2A—a supremely suspect grey market seller of PC games—offered to pay studios 10x the cost of their games if it was found to be selling stolen keys. Only one company took them up on the offer, and whaddya know, it turns out G2A was selling a bunch of stolen keys.

Factorio creators Wube Software were the sole developers going to the effort of working with G2A over this, and while the two companies were originally going to work with a professional third party auditor like Deloitte or Ernst & Young, in the end G2A decided to simply perform the investigation themselves.

In a blog post called “Keeping Our Promise”, G2A say that of the 321 keys Wube reported as having been stolen, their internal investigation revealed that 198 had then been sold by G2A. As a result of this, G2A is now paying Wube $US39,600 ($60,027), or “ten times the value of any bank-initiated refund costs that Factorio paid in relation to each of the 198 illegitimate keys sold via its Marketplace.”

It’s absolutely wild that G2A, caught doing exactly the thing that publishers and studios have been attacking them for for years (by their own investigation, so who knows how accurate it really is), are out there saying that this is actually an example of them keeping their promise, and that all other studios need to do is join them and they too can recoup their costs and help prove that G2A is a company of its word.

When we launched this offer, we wanted to send a clear message to the gaming community that fraud hurts all parties. As we spell out in this blog, fraud directly hurts individuals who buy illegitimate keys, it hurts gaming developers and it ultimately hurts G2A because we are forced – as the transaction facilitator – to cover costs related to the sale. We wanted to amplify that message and capture people’s attention, so pledged to compensate developers ten times the value of any chargeback fees they incurred, despite the fact that we had nothing to with the illegal acquisition of these keys.

The gaming developer community has our solidarity and sympathies on this issue, and we want to continue building bridges. With our main point being made, about the seriousness of fraud in the industry, from now on we will compensate developers the full value of any chargeback fees they incurred for any keys sold via G2A Marketplace, if they are able to prove they were illegitimate.

I have read this four times now and each time it gets worse. G2A called everyone’s bluff, and the one studio to take them up on the offer…found a bunch of stolen keys. Imagine what a Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty game’s numbers would look like.

Apparently fraud “hurts G2A because we are forced – as the transaction facilitator – to cover costs related to the sale”. Who wrote this? Why is the onus here on helping them discover their own fuck ups, instead of G2A pledging to do a better job sourcing keys? How about you find a way to stop selling stolen keys, Jesus Christ.

Comments

  • G2A is now paying Wube $US39,600 ($60,027), 10x the cost of a single copy of Factorio.

    So Factorio costs $6,002.70?

    • Huh?

      198 copies at a value of $60,027 works out to $303.16 per copy.

      So each copy equals around $30 each, if you factor in they are paying 10x the value of each key stolen.

      Do you even Math?

      • That makes more sense, thank you.

        I’m not sure the issue is my math ability, but maybe comprehension? I found the article confusingly written in this regard.

        • I agree. It’s poorly worded. The article has since been fixed to state “ten times the value of any bank-initiated refund costs that Factorio paid in relation to each of the 198 illegitimate keys sold via its Marketplace.” So it would be 198 x 10 x original cost but also adding in any bank charges that occurred on each of those refunds.

    • 189 chargebacks roughly costed them $20.95 per chargeback (I’m assuming lost sale plus chargeback fee) equals $3,959.55, multiplied by ten into $39,595.50, round up to $39,600 and there’s your figure.

      Edit: This is ash’s answer but backwards.

  • I kinda went off them when, a few years ago, some guy contacted me asking why I’d changed the password on his Minecraft account.

    Turns out MY Minecraft account had been hacked and on-sold via G2A. Lucky for me the hackers were stupid enough to leave my email in the password recovery field and so I was able to reset the password and reclaim the game easy enough. To be honest, I didn’t actually realise that the game had been hacked until the kid contacted me. I thought I’d just forgotten my password and therefore reset it.

    I did feel sorry for the guy. Just some kid in a southern-European country trying to save a couple of bucks of his pocket money. Hope G2A gave him his money back.

    • Because it involves a crapload of work establishing to a sufficient level of proof that keys were actually stolen and nobody believed that G2A were serious. As it is, G2A only accepted that 62% of the keys Wube Software claimed stolen were actually stolen.

      I suspect that most developers will continue to assume that G2A are not serious because there’s quite a big difference between paying out one small-time indie developer and compensating an army of high-volume AAA publishers.

      Also, even interacting with G2A as if they are a legitimate storefront gives G2A a level of credibility that they don’t deserve.

      • It’d put the lie to them quickly enough if they refused to pay out someone bigger. Even a result like the Factorio one is enough to pay a junior to go investigating the data. Oh well. Shrug.

      • The wording is pretty ambiguous. It’s unclear whether Wube software claimed all 321 stolen keys were sold through G2A, or just stolen keys in general. It’s possible the other 123 stolen keys were sold elsewhere.
        Also the phrasing “198 had then been sold by G2A” could be interpretted that they had acquired more keys from the stolen batch, but hadn’t resold them yet. Especially since it was an internal investigation, they could easily omit that kind of information.

        EDIT: Actually most of this information is more clearly stated in the actual blog post.

  • company makes a promise and then follows through on it. company is still bad guy. and next up on mental gymnastics…

  • Honestly I think people will continue to use key resellers like G2A and Kinguin especially in Australia due to our grossly overpriced game prices. Absolutely ridiculous with some of the mark ups that happen over here for no reason, it’s a digital product ffs.

    • With things like the Humble bundle, i often have a bunch of keys that i either don’t want, or already have. Instead of just letting them sit there i try and pass them on to friends, if i don’t know anyone that wants them i try and sell them somewhere.

      I actively avoid G2A but it can be hard to find places.

      • I also end up with duplicates from Humble Bundle. I also try to give to friends before giving them out freely on Discord. I haven’t considered G2A, but they seem too dodgy to me.

  • This title is completely misleading.

    Company keeps its promise and still everything they’re doing is bad. Maybe instead of complaining, let’s admit they did it right

      • Easy there tiger.

        You’re publishing a claim in a public forum – in addition to an article about said company – that isn’t exactly proven.

        There’s quite a leap from G2A discovering stolen keys being sold on their marketplace to G2A facilitating fraud on it themselves.

      • @alexwalker Im not gonna defend G2A committing fraud… but the title is stupidly click baity. It makes it sound like G2A did something shadey again and fscked up… all the article says is what we already knew – they sell stolen keys.

        But instead they actually manned up on their promise and confirmed what everyone said and paid out the dev with their own investigation… doesnt seem like a fscked up and more wow they actually did something right for once moment. Now if they attempted to hide or cover up with the investigation and got exposed then yeah… i would label that as g2a “fscked up”

        Again not defending g2a business practices.. but when they basically show that they followed through about them being wrong and upholding their side i would call that a minor credit to them…i mean wont change the fact they will most likely change nothing but at least dont make it sound like doing the right thing was a dodgy mistake

        • You can just say “fucked up” around here. It’s not like every single person reading your post doesn’t know exactly what word you are saying.

          • Its a personal habit born of very a many message boards and chats in my life that comes as second narured to type “fsck” instead of fuck xD

  • I purchased 2 windows 10 keys and 1 office key from there, and all worked fine. That office key retails for $999 and I paid $12. Shady but I’m still happy

  • Glad to see a developer called the bluff and we get to see the real case:
    198 of the 321 codes Wube queried were sold through G2A, so 61% of all goods sold are illegal obtained goods which G2A facilitates to sell.

    Interesting to see that no auditor (PwC/Deloitte) wants to do the audit as they do the books of G2A, if G2A is all legit and we don’t understand the business model or keys come from give aways or are really spare keys, what are you afraid of?

    Proberly the truth: 61% of all goods sold were stolen and G2A facilitates criminals with selling stolen goods/money laundering.

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