***Update 1 – 2017-04-11 – 13:37 CEST***
I/we (Robin Ek, TGG) were just contacted by G2A’s Head of PR (Maciej Kuc) regarding our post and what Totalbiscuit had to say about the Gearbox and G2A deal. Well, this is what G2A told us:
We are aware that since it has taken us a few days to respond to the whole case, it may seem as if we don’t know what to say. However, the reason for our delayed response is actually completely different. Instead of reacting immediately, we want to take this opportunity to thoroughly explain many of the misconceptions that have arisen over the years. At the same time, I am fully aware that asking you to read our statement in full will make me owe you a debt of gratitude. 🙂
If anything in our statement is unclear or if you have any more questions, I am at your disposal.” – Maciej Kuc, Head of PR G2A
Furthermore, Kuc also gave me G2A’s official statement about the current events between them and the “Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition” deal with Gearbox:
“This last week brought forth a lot of confusion, and caused a lot of inaccurate information to appear on the internet about G2A.COM. Although this saddens us, at the same time we are also glad to have the opportunity to thoroughly explain many of the inaccuracies and misunderstandings tied to G2A.COM.
It all began with a few negative reactions from some YouTubers, and in particular from John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, to an announcement that G2A.COM is working together with Gearbox Publishing. Our partner, Gearbox Publishing, unfortunately decided to publicly publish a letter with a list of ultimatums, without consulting us about the truth of the allegations made by John Bain. This is an excellent example that rash actions, without full knowledge of the facts, can be harmful to both the developer and the marketplace. Especially since all of the requests made of G2A.COM in the ultimatum have in fact long been part of our marketplace.
1. G2A Shield
We agree that every buyer on the marketplace should be protected – and that is exactly how it is on G2A.COM. We firmly attest that G2A.COM protects and secures both our sellers and buyers far better than most functioning marketplaces. In the very rare cases in which a purchased key does not work properly, each user has the right to issue a complaint, and either receive a different key or a refund.
The main purpose and function of G2A Shield is to provide buyers with immense convenience and comfort, as well as additional features such as 10% cashback (which actually ensures that the Shield subscription cost and more is refunded to each person that buys games more than once every few months).
In order to best illustrate this, we will describe exactly how buyer protection works in practice on G2A.COM. Just like on any other marketplace, there are rare cases in which a purchased item does not meet expectations. Therefore, let’s assume that a key bought on G2A.COM from a seller does not work.
If the buyer does not have a Shield subscription:
If the buyer does have a Shield subscription:
G2A Shied is very well-priced given the benefits it offers. This of course does not mean that we do not realize the service still requires a lot of improvement. We are constantly working on Shield and we will debut many new solutions over the coming months.
2. Transparency and no hidden fees
G2A.COM has over 13 million clients precisely because it offers attractive terms for both buyers and sellers. We would not have been able to build such a successful marketplace by introducing hidden fees. All fees and rates are clearly and explicitly described in corresponding tables. In addition to the price, VAT is added based on the buyer’s country, and if applicable, a fee depending on the buyer’s chosen payment method. Both of these fees are independent of G2A.COM, and we clearly inform the buyer about them before any purchase is made. No one on our marketplace is unwittingly charged extra fees.
This, of course, does not mean that we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and call it day. We are constantly working on bettering the marketplace and regularly make improvements. In fact, some improvements are currently in the final stages of testing and will soon go live.
3. Developers and their access to our key database
It is of the utmost importance to us that only legally acquired keys appear on G2A.COM. Our marketplace only loses due to fraud, as G2A.COM refunds buyer’s out of our own pocket for keys that stop working, even though we have no legal obligation to do so. We even issue refunds for keys that stop working a year and a half later, regardless if the buyer had a G2A Shield subscription or not. Let us be clear here: we care about the satisfaction of every single customer.
Some developers, and a few influential YouTubers (with John Bain at the forefront) would like to spread an image of G2A.COM as a place which exists from being an intermediary in selling illegally acquired keys. This depiction is far removed from reality. The reality is that the keys on G2A.COM come from legitimate sources. Our marketplace is a leader in security and boasts one of the lowest fraud rates in the industry. G2A.COM employs over 100 people whose job is to ensure the legality of keys, transaction security, and compliance with the most stringent anti-fraud regulations.
For some developers, however, the sole problem is that their games are sold on G2A.COM – which is why they accuse us using baseless and unproven allegations.
Before we explain this more thoroughly, we want to establish two basic facts:
If someone does not agree with the above points, then we will unfortunately never reach an understanding. If you do agree, then we ask that you please read further.
Let us imagine a situation in which a developer sells a large number of keys to a service which offers bundles. The developer’s game, along with four other titles, end up in a bundle which costs two euros. A user buys the bundle, and instead of assigning all five games to the user’s account, the user re-sells them on G2A.COM – setting a price of one euro per game. The developer does not lose anything on this sale, as they have already sold the key once and received money for it. The user, on the other hand, gains three euros (simple math: the user spent two euros, and made five).
The problem is that some developers do not want to accept that people resell their games. The developers would like to control the market and all the sales channels within it, imposing higher prices and prohibiting the resale of unused games. G2A.COM does not agree with this – we respect the buyers’ rights, buyers who often unfortunately believe that the rules set forth by developers follow the law.
This is why G2A.COM will not give developers with whom we have not signed an agreement unlimited access to and the ability to modify our databases. G2A.COM has to protect every honest seller, and by giving such access to all developers, we would allow for a situation in which a developer could delete every key on our marketplace regardless of its origin. Such an action would be damaging to the industry, to gamers, and illegal.
What is the solution to this situation? G2A.COM currently cooperates with all interested developers to ensure only legally acquired keys are sold – without any contracts and, more importantly, without any fees. All a developer must to do is provide evidence that the keys that they want to block have been illegally acquired (this evidence can be, for example, a report from a financial institution). Our cooperation is not limited to just the immediate deletion or blocking of keys – we will without hesitation, and, of course without charge, provide all information about fraudulent sellers to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
This situation is different only for those developers who are in the Direct program – since we have signed contracts with these developers, we have complete confidence that they will not do anything which would contradict the two above-mentioned facts. Therefore, they are the only ones who are able to check our database independently and without limitation.
Our Direct program (which, as an aside, already counts over 100 developers) is the answer to all of the complaints developers have about not just our marketplace, but marketplaces in general. We say this not only based on the arguments laid out above, but also on the fact that G2A.COM is the only marketplace in the world which allows developers to charge a commission on the sale of their games by third-parties. An analogy of this in the “physical” market would be if Samsung received money every time an individual on eBay resold a Samsung TV which had been previously bought in a different store. Additionally, participation in G2A Direct is at no cost to the developer. This program has been crafted in such a way that there is no reason why any developer could in any way suffer losses by participating in it.
G2A.COM’s goal is to provide the best possible conditions for both buyers and sellers, while providing the best prices for legal games. We do everything in our power to uphold the best possible relationships with developers and ensure the highest standards in the fight against dishonest sellers.
At the same time, we respect our critics and believe that they have the good of the industry at heart. Unfortunately, sometimes they do not understand how G2A.COM works and as such this misunderstanding causes them to mislead the public about our company. The best proof of this are the four ultimatums formulated in part by John Bain, which, it turns out that were completely unnecessary as all of the issues raised have long been a part of the G2A.COM marketplace. Most of the allegations levied against us are based on both a lack of knowledge, and a lack of desire to learn the other side of the story. The best example of this is quoting false and defamatory statements while ignoring the facts. This is why we constantly emphasize that we are open to meetings and discussions with anyone who has doubts about how our marketplace works.
Maciej Kuc & the G2A.COM Team”
So there you have it folks, and with that said. I’m going to let you guys and girls decide for yourself what to make out of this. As I’ve already been very open about what I think of our past relationship with G2A.
Before I (Robin Ek, TGG) jump into the story about Gearbox, G2A and Totalbiscuit. I want to share a story of our own about G2A. You see, we worked together with them for about a year (we ended our business relationship with them in 2015). Well, during the first couple of months everything seemed to work just fine. As we got paid, and they hooked us up with stuff to give away. So we (TGG) were super thrilled to work with G2A. However, all of that came to change when people started to inform us that G2A is profiting from stolen goods (as in “stolen game keys”). Furthermore, we soon started to experience a change of tone towards us as well (from friendly, to anything but friendly). So we decided to drop G2A and find another sponsorship partner to work with, as we had no desire to support a company that continues to push really shady business practices.
Well, the leaving part wasn’t a big deal really. I wish the same could be said about the money part though…Because it took quite sometime before G2A paid us the money which they owe us (G2A didn’t pay us before I stated that I would publish a post about the “incident”, and that I would then inform Sweden’s biggest Gaming magazines about the matter as well). So let’s just say that I’m glad that we pulled out on G2A when we did, because the scandals surrounding G2A have kept on stacking up more and more over the years. I would also like to add that we left Steam Crate (they have rebranded themselves to”Ubercrate“) for the very same reason (thanks to Jonatthan for the heads up!). As we didn’t get paid, and they too use very shady business practices.
With that said, let’s jump into the situation with G2A, Gearbox and Totalbiscuit. For starter, just recently G2A held an AMA over at Reddit. Long story short, it didn’t turn out so well. As G2A banned a Reddit user for pointing out a flaw in their system.
It’s also worth pointing out that G2A.com pleaded to be innocent to a handful of accusations during their AMA section over at Reddit, accusations such as:
G2A sells pirated keys
G2A is a gray market
G2A doesn’t handle seller verification properly
G2A Shield is a shady service that takes too long to deactivate
And developers lose money because of the marketplace
So, how did G2A respond to these accusations? Well, here’re some of the most interesting answers by them:
“If the key is on G2A, that means that it came from the developer, which means they have already been paid. 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).”
“We have special departments in G2A (over 100 people) dedicated to protecting our marketplace. 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.” – G2A via Reddit
I don’t know about you, but I don’t find that to be a very satisfying answer at all. As it’s nothing less than a “if shit happens, then shit happens, and it’s not our fault” kind of answer. Especially since G2A has been accused of a lot of things by Gamers and the games media in the past (everything from scamming developers, selling stolen keys to ripping people off’). That is also why I almost choked on my tea when I heard that G2A had a “Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition” (It’s a collector’s edition box ) deal going down with Gearbox. Why? Because it’s quite well-known among everyone in the games industry that G2A is up to no good. So I wasn’t exactly surprised to hear that Totalbiscuit took a huge swing at G2A and the “Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition” deal (which he did on the 6th of April):
“Ok folks, here’s where we are. After hearing about the G2A and Gearbox partnership to produce a collectors edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip, I made the decision to stop covering Gearbox games. The reason was fairly simple. G2A is a company that profits directly from stolen goods. G2As existence as an easy place to sell keys acquired en-masse through credit card fraud, thanks to their lax checks and lack of corporate responsibility, has done damage to indie developers, publishers and retailers who are often hit with large numbers of credit card chargebacks. G2A actively profits from these sales in many ways, which include the practice of selling a form of insurance against stolen goods listed on their own website, an insurance that happens to be incredibly difficult to unsubscribe from due to underhanded tactics from the company.” – Totalbiscuit
I personally agree with everything that Totalbiscuit wrote, I also agree with what he said in his “What happened with G2A and Gearbox?” video (Totalbiscuit’s video summarizes the before and after events of the G2A and Gearbox “Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition” deal). Well, I’m far from alone to agree with Totalbiscuit. In the matter of fact, plenty of Gamers reached out to Gearbox via social media about what Totalbiscuit pointed out. So it didn’t take all that long before Gearbox had a change of heart about their “Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition” deal with G2A:
“Gearbox Publishing heard loud and clear the concerns voiced by John “TotalBiscuit” Bain. Gearbox was then provided with a lot of documentation on the subject, after which John was gracious enough to spend time across the last two days with our head of publishing Steve Gibson to put together a proposal and a deadline for G2A to act upon.
· Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 30 days, G2A Shield (aka, customer fraud protection) is made free instead of a separate paid subscription service within terms offered by other major marketplaces. All customers who spend money deserve fraud protection from a storefront. To that end, all existing G2A Shield customers are notified by April 14th that fraud protection services are now free and they will no longer be charged for this.
· Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 90 days, G2A will open up a web service or API to certified developers and publishers to search for and flag for immediate removal, keys that are fraudulent. This access will be free of charge and will not require payment by the content holders.
· Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 60 days implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers at the title, userid, and account payable levels for a fraud flagging process. This is to protect content providers from having large quantities of stolen goods flipped on G2A before they can be flagged.
· Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 30 days, G2A restructures its payment system so that customers who wish to buy and sell legitimate keys are given a clear, simple fee-structure that is easy to understand and contains no hidden or obfuscated charges. Join the ranks of other major marketplaces.
Gearbox Publishing won’t support a marketplace that is unwilling to make these commitments and execute on them.” – Gearbox Software
So, how did all of this end? Well, Gearbox has just made it official that they have ended their deal with G2A as they have failed to meet their demands:
“As there has been no public movement from G2A by the time Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition launched now on PC, Gearbox Publishing will be doing their part to not directly support a marketplace that did not make the new public commitment to protecting customers and developers requested by Gearbox Publishing. We do not control G2A’s marketplace or where they may obtain keys from parties outside of Gearbox Publishing, but we can confirm that today we have begun executing on our extraction process.” – Steve Gibson, Gearbox publishing
I’m glad to hear that Gearbox came to that conclusion, because you really get the idea how bad G2A is to the games industry as a whole when game developers openly state that people should just pirate their games instead of buying them via G2A (that’s because the chargeback fee’s are much more expensive than a lost sale). Simply put, G2A is pure cancer for the games industry. So we won’t work, support or buy anything via them EVER! And I would recommend everyone else to do the same, as G2A is doing the right opposite of doing the games industry a favor for the better.
And with that said, what’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
The G2A/Gearbox situation (Totalbiscuit)
Totalbiscuit loudly declares he will no longer be covering anything Gearbox due to their alliance with G2A
Gray market key resellers and what they mean for you. v2
G2A has flaw in their system pointed out to them, promptly “bans” user
Gearbox begins “extraction process” on G2A Bulletstorm deal after G2A does not meet ethics demands
G2A Den of Thieves
G2A Reddit AMA BACKFIRES – The Know Gaming News
My experience of deactivating G2A Shield. Stay well clear PCMR
G2A Scammer Explains How He Profited Off Stolen Indie Game Keys
G2A drama on Twitter
Controversial PC game key reseller G2A.com fights fires in Reddit AMA
Steamcrate is not too great
G2A Reddit AMA
The truth behind those mysteriously cheap gray market game codes
Buy games from G2A? You should just stop already, tinyBuild lost out on approx $450K of sales
G2A sold $450k worth of our game keys
Clean up our community, ditch G2A
G2A Accused of Failing to Pay Esports Organisation compLexity Sponsorship Money
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
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