At this point, Steam allows users to sell almost everything, except full games. In the absence of such functionality, sketchy key resale sites like G2A have come to thrive. It will be interesting to see if a new PC gaming storefront called Robot Cache can put a dent in that when it launches later this year.
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On torrent site The Pirate Bay, typically the domain of illegal rips of media, one username among dozens uploading the horror game Darkwood stands out: The game's publisher. Today, the Poland-based Acid Wizard Studio uploaded their own game for free with "no catch, no added pirate hats for characters," their torrent description reads.
In a response sent out to all media this morning, the key reselling website G2A has added its two cents to the debacle surrounding Gearbox and Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, alleging that Gearbox publicly issued a list of demands about the secondary marketplace as a knee-jerk response to public criticism.
Yesterday, Gearbox got hit by a tidal wave of backlash for partnering with controversial key resale site G2A. It got so bad that popular YouTuber John "TotalBiscuit" Bain publicly threatened to stop covering Gearbox's games unless something changed. To their credit, Gearbox listened, and it now has a list of demands for G2A.
Recently, Gearbox announced that it's partnering with game key re-seller G2A for a collector's edition of Bulletstorm. Problem: Over the years, G2A has been subject to widespread criticism for lax security, enabling fraud, and making money at developers' expense. Predictably, Gearbox has taken serious flack for the partnership.
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.
There's a few reasons you might have heard of G2A, one of the Internet's most popular spots to sell an extra Steam key. One, it's been the subject of intense criticism for not doing enough about fraud. Two, you can't watch a YouTube video or a Twitch stream without running into someone who's taking money to promote them. From PewDiePie down, G2A is everywhere.
MangaGamer, a localiser of adult visual novels, wanted to reward customers who'd bought games through their website with free Steam keys. Two years into the promotion, a hacker allegedly used stolen credit cards to fraudulently buy hundreds of games. The scam cost MangaGamer tens of thousands of dollars. Why'd the hacker do it? To sell keys on the controversial marketplace G2A.
The saga between developer/publisher tinyBuild and the Hong Kong headquartered key reseller has been an ongoing thing this week. The former started out by accusing G2A of profiting at their expense by not shutting down auctions of keys they say were obtained through fraudulent means, while the latter accused the studio of misleading the public and suggested their partners may have been to blame.
Yesterday, G2A publicly gave tinyBuild three days to hand over keys so they could investigate the latter's claims. And tinyBuild's response was about as dismissive as you'd expect.
Guess what? When you call out one of the world's biggest third-party resellers of keys for digital games, there's a good chance they might not be happy about it.
After the maker of Punch Club and SpeedRunners, tinyBuild, accused the site of profiting at their expense yesterday, G2A hit back. The third-party marketplace has publicly given the devs three days to provide a list of CD keys they believe were fraudulently obtained.
One of the largest differences in today's world of gaming is the way digital marketplaces have flourished and made the market more accessible for developers and gamers over the last ten years.
But it's also opened up a whole lot of grey areas, opportunities that third-party vendors have used to flourish. Some of those opportunities, however, can come at the developers' expense.