PC game key reselling site G2A have recently announced plans to drastically overhaul their services. G2A will give developers royalties on their products if they are sold through their market services.
This announcement comes roughly a week after G2A was outed by video game developer and publisher tinyBuild Games on Reddit for selling $450k worth of their games with supposed stolen credit cards.
G2A works like an eBay for video game keys, in that people can try to sell extra game keys to make a quick buck.
Alex Nichiporchik, CEO of tinyBuild, mentioned in his post that he spoke to a merchant on G2A who makes around $3-4k a month. He told him the business model was like this:
- Get ahold of a database of stolen credit cards on the darkweb
- Go to a bundle/3rd party key reseller and buy a ton of game keys
- Put them up onto G2A and sell them at half the retail price
Later in the post, Alex talked about trying to do business with G2A. He mentions that while in discussions for a partnership, tinyBuild's shop collapsed when they started getting hit with chargebacks. "I'd start seeing thousands of transactions, and our payment provider would shut us down within days," said Alex in the post. "Moments later you'd see G2A being populated by cheap keys of games we had just sold on our shop."
Alex wanted to find out what kind of financial impact this could be having, so he obtained the sales figures of three of their games. Here's what he found:
- SpeedRunners Early Access Global: 24,517 units sold with an average price of €6.26 per unit. (Retail price: €14.99)
- Punch Club Global: 1,251 units sold with an average price of €8.72 per unit. (Retail price: €9.99)
- Party Hard Global: 890 units sold with an average price of €7.95 per unit. (Retail price: €12.89)
After some calculations, it was determined that the total value through sales on G2A was around $190k USD. If this had been through retail, the total sales figure would be around $450k USD.
Alex reached out to G2A following this find in hopes of getting some form of compensation for selling stolen keys. They responded by placing the blame on tinyBuild's partners for scamming them and selling their keys on G2A. They also told Alex they weren't willing to help him unless he works with them.
CGM reached out to Alex to gain some more information after he made his announcement. He stated in an email that G2A was attempting "aggressive business development" by reaching out to a number of people, including tinyBuild.
Users on Reddit were asking why tinyBuild didn't just deactivate all the stolen keys. It was pointed out that it is difficult to determine which keys are legitimate and which are stolen.
"To be honest just dealing with the amount of fraud that's out there is overwhelming for any smaller size merchant," said Alex. "It seems like you can just install a plugin that'd handle all these chargebacks for you, but it's not - you need to have actual support staff working fulltime to ensure fraud checks are in place. There's just no way to automate it."
G2A issued a response around a day later stating that there is a backstory to this situation.
In the response, G2A said the original case goes back to March 22, 2016 when tinyBuild's Twitter account posted "unreliable information regarding the piracy rates of their latest title Punch Club." The announcement also read that "many unjustified demands were made by tinyBuild regarding the removal of G2A marketplace merchant stock from the marketplace and compensation for their estimated value of products."
The statement called for tinyBuild to release a list of suspicious keys within three days. This in turn prompted Alex to give a three day ultimatum of his own, calling on "G2A to provide a solution for developers and publishers to benefit from the marketplace."
All this has led into this week's development on the situation, with the plan to give royalties to developers. This is one of many tools G2A is bringing out, including priority placement, chargeback protection, and a developer funding option.
In addition, G2A is enforcing new verification steps for new sellers to prevent future fraud incidents. New sellers will be limited to 10 products sold before being required to provide verification, which includes contact information like social media profiles and phone numbers. G2A is working on adding additional verification through credit cards, PayPal and home addresses via bank statement.