In a news piece straight from the hilarity files, those old cads, G2A, are up their shenanigans again. The online key seller, now with a reputation akin to a Donald Trump campaign manager, has fallen afoul of mainstream gaming media. It seems that a certain, unnamed employee, emailed solicitous messages to 10 gaming media sites. The employer asked said sites to publish articles lauding the difficulty of attaining stolen keys on G2A. In exchange, there would be a financial reward. Pity they never emailed GamEir. We’re hard up for a few quid. I jest.
G2A is having a hard time of late. Recently, indie dev Mike Rose started a petition, lobbying people to stop buying from G2A all together. He even proffered that people pirate his own games, rather than purchase them through G2A. A tad sensationalist, but we get the point. In fact, this is the latest in a series of accusations leveled at G2A over the past few years. In 2015, Riot Games banned them as a a sponsor for their League of Legends tournaments. It was claimed the online store was selling fully leveled accounts. Riot then went one step further, banning the sale of their game guides on the site. G2A meanwhile, claimed that Riot failed to cooperate in fixing the issues raised.
2017 saw G2A fall out with Gearbox Publishing. Compounded to this was an ongoing issue with indie developer tinyBuild. While Gearbox were merely wary of the companies increasingly negative reputation, tinyBuild were making direct claims of G2A hampering their sales.
For context, G2A is a resale agent for online digital media, mostly gaming related. The simplest analogy is an online only GameStop. Suppose you bought yourself a Humble Bundle, only most of the games are cack. Which would be most Humble Bundles I guess. You could then sell the keys you don’t want via G2A, who don’t actually purchase or hold any keys, they merely act as an intermediary. Naturally enough they take a slice of the profit for themselves. That’s the basic model. The core principle for the site is to sell games at the lowest possible price.
I myself, have had two, very different, experiences with G2A. The first, I purchased a Steam Key for Total War: Warhammer. Almost immediately, I received an email with my Steam key, entered it in Steam, and hey presto, I had the game. No fuss, no muss.
The second experience, I got an altogether different email. The game in question was Divinity: Original Sin for PS4. The email I received was from the seller, with login info for a PlayStation account. The instructions I got were to log into his account, download the game, then log out of his account and back into my own. I would then be able to play the game through my own PlayStation account. I kid you not.
Naturally enough, I shied away from purchasing any more keys through G2A after that experience. It simply didn’t seem worth the risk, considering how frequently we get hit with sales events by big publishers these days. Of course, for parity, we must also consider just how many transactions go through G2A, and what security measures they have in order to curtail fraud.
The most recent information I could find was up to and including 2016. At that time, the site claimed over 16 million customers, 400,000 sellers, 75,000 digital products and 700 employees throughout Poland, China, and Netherlands. Further to that, they had processed upward of 22 million transactions; no small amount it must be said.
Since 2016 there have been numerous improvements to how sellers can flog their wares via G2A. They have implemented a registration policy for sellers, requiring name and address for accountability. Further to this, marketplace security was strengthened through social media and phone number verification procedures, with extra verification steps in place for larger sellers.
So if their security and fraud presentation measures are so tight, then why the backlash? Or, and more pursuant to this article, why send solicitous emails to gaming sites? Or why indeed, would a lone employee take it upon themselves to salvage their sites reputation, through flagrant bribery? Curious indeed. But I must, unfortunately, leave those as open questions. But as the old adage goes, there’s rarely smoke without a fire.
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