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G2A sent over an official statement to the press about the allegations made about fraudulent keys being sold on the marketplace, issues surrounding the G2A Shield pricing, and the lack of transparency that developers have in policing content being sold on the digital marketplace.
The whole press statement that G2A sent us is four pages long.
The PR explained the reason why the statement was delayed, and why G2A didn’t immediately respond, saying…
“[…] 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.”
One of the four ultimatums set forward by Gearbox Software for G2A in terms of altering their policies related to making their consumer protection service, G2A Shield, free.
In the press statement, G2A explains that the G2A Shield offers a good “value” for its price, and that it allows users access to a service representative 24/7 in order to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. They claim that they will continue to charge for the service, and that those who don’t want to use it can continue to use their customer support services, wherein they will attempt to resolve issues.
Another ultimatum set forward by Gearbox Software was that developers need access to the backend of G2A in order to remove keys that are flagged as fraudulent. Gearbox also wanted G2A to implement a flagging and report system for resellers, so developers can flag and report these sellers and have their accounts banned from the site.
According to G2A, they have their own royalty program and they state that any developers not part of the royalty program will not be gaining access to their backend. In the press statement, they explain…
“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.”
It is true that a lot of resellers on G2A undercut market value prices by a significant amount. If developers had access to stop these keys from being sold at those prices, it would mean more even market prices on G2A that you normally see on Steam or GOG.com.
Previously the indie studio TinyBuild decried G2A’s practices because they claimed that thousands of fraudulent keys were being sold through G2A and they weren’t getting a cut of the revenue. The issue started last year during the summer, and it became so heated that it lasted all the way up until this year’s recent GDC event, where a G2A employee accosted the discussion about fraud and market pricing, as reported by PC GamesN.
Essentially, a lot of developers seem to feel as if the keys being sold on G2A have been acquired by illicit means and they want more detailed information on being able to verify the veracity of the keys.
Other publishers, like Ubisoft, ran into an issue back in 2015 where they ended up deactivating various keys for games like Watch Dogs, Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed after reports of fraud popped up from people who purchased keys from G2A, as reported by Crave Online.
The most recent controversy popped up when Gearbox initially signed a deal to sell Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition‘s Collector’s Edition through G2A, just until TotalBiscuit claimed that he would not be supporting Gearbox or playing anymore of their games if they continued to support and partner with G2A.
Gearbox then spoke with TotalBiscuit about the issue and came up with the ultimatum for G2A. They had just a couple of days to issue a response in acknowledging an ultimatum to change around how their business operated or Gearbox threatened to pull the plug on the Bulletstorm partnership. G2A didn’t respond in time so Gearbox pulled the plug.
G2A has now issued their side of the story, and they ended the press statement by saying…
”[…] 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 claims and arguments about G2A and the gray market facilitation of game key resellers has been going on for years. The company has made some changes to their policies following certain controversies, but comes under fire for other similar issues.
As it stands it appears as if Gearbox won’t be partnering with G2A anymore.
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