To say G2A is a controversial figure in the PC gaming industry would be a dramatic understatement. The “gray” marketplace has made headlines time and time again for general misbehavior and accusations of shady business practices, such as knowingly facilitating the sale of game keys purchased with stolen credit cards.
Developers tend to be G2A’s biggest critics, and often claim that illegitimately-obtained game keys can lead to real headaches for them. Chargebacks occur due to the fraudulent purchases, which leads to buyers having their keys invalidated and then often complaining to the developer about it. This bogs down customer service channels unnecessarily, and the chargebacks directly impact a studio’s bottom line.
Developers also say that, because some keys are obtained fraudulently, they don’t make any money off them when they’re resold on sites like G2A.
G2A, for its part, tried to combat this criticism by boldly (and, some would say, arrogantly) offering to pay developers 10x the original cost of an illegitimate key as compensation — but only if fraud could be proven by a third-party auditing firm. Naturally, many developers scoffed at this concept, but it seems one studio (and only one) chose to take G2A up on its offer.
Indie developer Wube Software, best known for the creation of ultra-popular factory sim Factorio, handed G2A a list of 321 keys that had allegedly been sold illegitimately through the site. After an investigation, G2A kept its word, and agreed to pay Wube a whopping $39,600 in compensation for bank-initiated chargebacks.
There was a catch to this process, though. Though G2A initially planned to pay a third-party auditing firm to conduct the investigation, it says it was forced to change its strategy after being told by several such firms that they wouldn’t be willing to report the results publicly. This restriction, in G2A’s opinion, would have rendered the entire process useless, as transparency and restoring faith in its platform was the main goal here.
Nonetheless, Wube agreed to proceed with the internal audit, and G2A was able to confirm that 198 of the 321 reported keys were indeed sold illegitimately through G2A. That’s quite the figure, and we’re happy to see that G2A didn’t attempt to backpedal on its deal with Wube.
However, G2A has made it clear now that the deal was a one-time offer. Moving forward, with the company’s point about the “seriousness of fraud in the industry” having been made, it will only compensate developers for their actual losses; the 10x multiplier will not apply.
G2A also says developers will need to prove the keys are illegitimate, so it sounds like the burden is being shifted to the studios instead of G2A. We’ll be reaching out to the key selling platform for clarification on this point, as it’s possible we’ve misunderstood.
Update: G2A has confirmed that it will indeed be willing to conduct future investigations for free on behalf of any developers that request it. Alternatively, if said studios can find a third-party auditor willing to make its results public, G2A will foot half of the bill for their services.
If you have any thoughts on this situation, or G2A as a whole, feel free to leave them in the comments below.