Following various controversies and questions regarding the legitimacy of game reseller G2A. We wrote an extensive article to explain the differences between other platforms, and also came to the conclusion that buying games from marketplaces was worth the risk.
Martin Bell shared his perspective saying “In my opinion, game marketplaces might not be entirely legit, but one should definitely take his chances. Steam itself was ruled out by the District Court of Paris in France, that games under the EU law must be allowed to re-sell. In other words, game reselling has now become more legal than ever. Take your chances with these game marketplaces, read their reviews, and make sure the seller has an excellent reputation. I’m sure you won’t be scammed.”
In the same research article about G2A, we also made several remarks and questions regarding their authority keeping in mind various background cases, that have now been answered through an in-depth interview by Maciej Kuc, Head of Communications at G2A.
We asked Maciej about several topics ranging from controversies to on-going game price hike in the market. Other than that, Maciej also clarified various misunderstood theories about game marketplace, and how the company looks forward to minimizing risks and potential scams.
Bartosz Skwarczek told gamesindustry.biz that only 198 keys were illegally obtained and sold on G2A. How accurate was this data, were these numbers taken from a proven algorithm or solely based on the fact that Wube Software was the only developer to seize upon the 10x chargeback offer?
“Data and facts massively confirmed what we were sure about — that out of over 10 million transactions annually, we only have 198 [illegally obtained] keys sold through our site,” he says. “That’s like zero point zero zero zero something percent. That’s exactly what we wanted to prove, that this is a super safe and transparent platform.”
We took all allegation very seriously and, in 2019, offered all developers ten times the money they lost on chargebacks, providing that they could prove that illegitimate keys for their games were sold on our marketplace – subject to an examination by a reputable and independent auditing company.
The offer was extremely generous and widespread. We welcomed any affected parties to come forward and there was nothing further we could do to encourage this. Only Wube Software stepped forward and, as promised, we found a compensation agreement following an internal investigation.
The reality is that it is very difficult to verify the origin of a product. We do everything in our power to verify sellers on our platform – that’s something we pride ourselves on – so if they are selling products that legitimately work then do not need to step in. Of course, if we receive any credible information that a product has been illegally obtained, that is a different story and we can intervene.
Additionally, we have deployed specialist monitoring and a strict seller verification process to achieve a fraud detection rate that leads the way in this industry. Our Know Your Customer process is extremely difficult to breach for anyone inputting fake data. This means that anybody using our platform for illegal purposes would have provided their full personal data, which, if suspected of illegitimacy, we can pass onto the relevant authorities.
Obviously, it’s very hard for a developer to prove that an x amount of keys were illegally sold through your platform. Would it be possible that you publicly provided sale metrics of that specific games to the developer who has doubts?
There is a common misconception around the term “illegally sold keys” when – in reality – keys can only be illegally obtained. Developers are the only ones that can generate game keys. Selling on G2A is completely legal, as with any major online marketplace, and we do not play a role in how our sellers obtain their products.
We want to ensure our platform is a safe place to for our community to buy legitimate products. We frequently collaborate with developers to provide them with live data and provide all the support they need to fight fraud. In terms of our own protection methods, on G2A, we use specialist monitoring and a strict anti-money laundering verification process to achieve an industry-leading fraud detection rate that we’re very proud of.
For reference, over 95% of sales on the marketplace come from wholesalers who have most often purchased game keys straight from the developers and publishers in bulk. Many wholesalers purchase a large number of products at once, they purchase them at much lower prices. This means they can, in turn, offer their customers great discounts.
In terms of sharing data, we would not be able to share any information publicly – as that would be illegal – however we are in constant contact with developers to provide them with any requested data that we are able to share. Additionally, by signing up for G2A Direct, developers can manually check whether any key they generated has been put up for sale on G2A. We also provide additional data – such as price sold for – on request.
Last year, your decision to pay ten times was heroic and brave; however, that offer was available for a limited time. Why is that? Don’t you think an open offer like that was a good representation of G2A’s openness to speculations?
When we launched this offer, we wanted to send a clear message to the gaming community that fraud hurts all parties. It directly hurts individuals who buy illegitimate keys from dishonest sellers, it hurts gaming developers and it ultimately hurts G2A because we cover costs related to the sale. We wanted to amplify that message and help to dismantle any impression that G2A somehow benefits from the sale of illegitimate keys via our Marketplace.
From now on – as an ongoing measure for companies who have been impacted – we have committed to 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.
Above all, G2A is committed to making its marketplace the safest place for gamers and geeks to buy and sell products and maintain a zero-tolerance approach to fraud or illegal activity. Moving forward, we will be focusing on how we can support the bigger problems in the gaming industry: the often unfair perception and stereotypes of gamers, for one. In the coming year we have some interesting initiatives planned to support this mission, including a course to help teachers use video games in their classes. We want to be a power of good for gaming, and this is just the beginning.
With so many game retailers like Steam, GOG, Green Man Gaming, and Epic Store at our disposal, why should one bother buying games from G2A? What quality separates it from the rest?
At G2A, we are a community built by gamers, for gamers. We care about those that come to our platform to develop their passion of gaming and strive to offer them the best convenience, variety and pricing.
Few platforms, if any, offer more convenience than G2A when it comes to buying gaming products. Our Marketplace is full of products from various platforms, making it a “one-stop-shop” for any gamer looking to purchase something. Having introduced physical products to our Marketplace, gamers can now build a whole new setup on our site if they so wish.
Our customer experience is simple, especially when it comes to making payments. Our customers can use over 200 payment methods on G2A, both local and global. We must remember that, in many parts of the world, people don’t have credit cards or PayPal. We are an inclusive platform and strive to enable gamers to make purchases, wherever they are. As an additional perk, we also provide customers with a free gaming title if their purchase exceeds a certain value.
Finally, our price is unrivalled. By allowing wholesalers and casual gamers to sell or re-sell gaming titles at a value that is fair to them, we open doors to games that some people might not have otherwise. This is something that we find really rewarding and is part of our wider journey to make the power of play accessible for everyone. The reduced prices on our marketplace also combat the temptation of people to pirate games that they would not be able to purchase at full price, benefitting the wider industry as well as our customers.
When someone purchases a GTA V Code on your site and activates it on Steam, which is perfectly fine, but in cases like these, Steam is not making any profits; how do you think your business will be impacted if someday Steam or any other platform decided not to allow keys purchased out its store to be redeemable?
When you buy a new book from the bookshop, you have the option to resell that book to whomever you want, and at whatever price that you feel comfortable. The same principle applies when you purchase a painting, a cup, a table or a new pair of jeans or a game key. You bought it. You own it. You can resell it. At G2A, we empower individuals to exercise their right to resell.
In this particular example, you cannot purchase keys via Steam and, subsequently, it would not make sense if gamers couldn’t redeem any keys that hadn’t been published on the site. In other words, as long as keys exist, it will be possible to buy, sell and redeem them outside of the Steam ecosystem.
We must look at the bigger picture here. G2A is an important revenue stream for many publishers in the gaming industry. By offering customers the chance to purchase keys at competitive prices, we drastically reduce the chances of them turning to pirating titles that they would otherwise not be able to afford. If torrents – and other pirating methods – infiltrate the gaming sector, then everyone will get hurt. Our platform is a solution to combat piracy, and we have already seen levels plummeting in recent years as a result.
With Industry Pioneers like Jim Ryan and Strauss Zelnick agreeing game prices above $70 are completely fine, do you think game G2A and game marketplaces, in general, will see growth during this transition period? I say this because games are always significantly cheaper on G2A.
We must all remember that gamers lie at the centre of this industry. We want people from all backgrounds and economic situations to be able to embrace themselves in a videogame for a few hours without having to worry about the financial implications. The $70 video game may be inevitable – but the pricing out of gamers needn’t be.
For this industry to remain the inclusive community that makes it so unique, it is time for developers and retailers alike to collaborate and get creative to keep the price of gaming reasonable.
Additionally – as a competitive marketplace with hundreds of thousands of active sellers – G2A can help make the power of gaming accessible through the power of natural competition. Each seller knows they must offer the best prices to attract more customers, opening the door for consumers to access games they might not be able to on other sites.
In May 2014, Developer Digital said, “Games purchased on @G2A_com are not legitimate, not guaranteed, and not supported. We are actively cancelling those keys.” Why was Developer Digital, a prestigious game developer, unhappy with your store?
It is hard to give details about allegations that were made against us nearly 7 years ago, but there is one thing I can assure you of – we have a zero-tolerance approach to fraud or illegal activity on the platform, generous loyalty and partnership schemes for our sellers at all levels and we have large global teams dedicated to working with developers to ensure their needs are being met by our business.
We encourage all developers who believe that their product ended up on G2A illegally and can provide evidence to contact the G2A Direct team. Our team will be on hand to help with everything to ensure the proper authorities are informed about any illegal activity.
There is a lot of misconception about game marketplaces and G2A in particular. Many users do not understand it as eBay or Amazon of Games; how do you go on and clarify to someone that’s always heard game marketplaces are “grey.”
The G2A marketplace is a place for sellers and buyers to come together – we operate according to all applicable laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions, invest millions of Euros in protecting consumers and sellers alike and have always been transparent about how we work.
The fact is, there are a number of people who feel that any “marketplace” is automatically something shady and on the edge of legality. But the other fact is, a grey market is a neutral term referring to the sale of products outside of a producer’s main supply lines that should not be used as a negative one.
Referring to G2A as a grey market to abuse or insult the company shows a clear misunderstanding of the way we – and other marketplace businesses – operate. G2A is a marketplace and operates in the exact same way as some of the world’s biggest digital companies, such as Amazon and eBay. Our community of 20 million happy customers appreciate this and enjoy our platform.
“Developers can also make a profit on each third-party sale of their game on G2A. Imagine you buy an iPhone for $300 on eBay, and after a successful transaction, Apple gets $30. For nothing. Just because someone else sold a phone manufactured by them, no other marketplace does that.” These are words from G2A Direct; what percentage of sales went to developers in this scenario?
We have a strong programme of engagement with the developer community, and as part of that, we wanted to demonstrate that we were taking our role as a member of the ecosystem with a responsibility for protecting developers, publishers and customers seriously.
As part of G2A Direct, which we launched back in 2016, developers can monitor which keys to their titles are being sold via G2A Marketplace and take up to a 10% from every third-party sale of their intellectual property. If their game was sold 1000 times for €10 euros, for example, they can earn up to €1000 just for being part of the G2A Direct community, without having to sell a single copy on G2A themselves.
“G2A Shield is no longer available for purchase.” Would you like to tell us why this additional premium membership was cancelled?
Firstly, it’s worth noting that G2A Shield was discontinued four years ago so it is certainly a topic of the past. When we launched it, we had anticipated that the service would help reassure customers who were concerned about allegations about the high prevalence of fraud via our marketplace. Soon after its launch, we realized that this service achieved the exact opposite of this intention – by further perpetuating the notion that stolen keys were prevalent via our site. G2A Shield was a mistake on our side. We’ve learned that in the hard way and will never make the same mistake again. We introduced a Money-Back Guarantee scheme in its place, completely for free.
In case you don’t know much about G2A, it’s a global digital marketplace that deals in reselling of redeemable game products. The company according to Wikipedia has more than 20 million active users, 600 employees, and 400,000 sellers across the globe. It’s reasonable to presume that these numbers indicate strong growth, especially for a company that was properly started after the year 2010.
Having said that, this has still not stopped the controversies from coming in, and what’s good about G2A is that they have always been transparent and never treated their critics like mushrooms. This can be seen across all cases, whether that is Gearbox partnership problems, or Riot Games claims regarding the game marketplace.
Besides, all the sales’ characteristics prove time and time again, that the number of scams as compared to the successful transactions are very few. Martin Bell repeated this in the G2A article, concluding that many users have a general idea about the game marketplace, while very few bother to filter the store and come across authoritative sellers. Going forward, it’ll be relatively interesting to see how the Corporate world sees G2A, and what role do the game marketplace’s play in the event that game prices are further increased.
We would like to thank Maciej Kuc for taking the time out and addressing all the relevant questions.