G2A admits they sold stolen keys
G2A has rightfully earned a very poor reputation as a grey-market key reselling market for PC games. The practice that they build their business on is simple, have various semi-anonymous sellers sell PC games for various services on their site. The company itself just collects fees from the sales to make money. The problem with this approach is that it led to huge amounts of alleged fraud.
Many publishers and developers pointed out that thousands of the game keys on the site were stolen or otherwise obtained under false pretenses. Credit card fraud is big business, and it seems that there was a thriving market on G2A to flip keys using stolen cards. This led to a pretty common perception of G2A as an untrustworthy service for gaming.
That toxic influence only got worse over time. As more and more people complained the issue only got worse. G2A eventually had to give in and try to clean up their act. The company tried to make it possible for developers to track their keys on the site. They even took things a step further. G2A was so confident in their moral position that they offered to reimburse affected developers 10 times what they lost in fraud charges. An offer that was so poorly executed that only a single developer took them up on the offer.
And it turns out the one company who did was right all along. Factorio developer Wube entered into an agreement where the reseller would audit a batch of keys looking for stolen ones. Wube provided 321 keys that they say had been stolen. Of these, 198 were sold via this one reseller. This means that the gaming reseller now has to pay Wube a total of $39,600.
The grey-market company announced the move via a baffling blog post titled “Keeping Our Promise”. Within, they engage in some of the strangest moral grandstanding I think I’ve ever seen from this one sleazy group.
G2A Really Screwed Up
Their response is so laughably out-of-touch that it just boggles the mind. G2A has seemingly completely misunderstood why they’re to blame here as the marketplace that the fraud is occurring in. They just refuse to acknowledge any part they play in a serious way. Read the statement below and see what you think.
A G2A spokesman tells Kotaku:
“We did enter into discussions with several international auditing firms. Unfortunately, we learned – during these negotiations – that major auditors, as a matter of general policy, are unwilling to communicate the findings of their private audits in public. Clearly, it was imperative for both G2A and Wube to make the results of this investigation public. Therefore, in the interests of reaching a resolution as quickly as possible, we offered to conduct the investigation ourselves.
When we launched this offer, we wanted to send a clear message to the gaming community that fraud hurts all parties. As we spell out in this blog, fraud directly hurts individuals who buy illegitimate keys, it hurts gaming developers and it ultimately hurts G2A because we are forced – as the transaction facilitator – to cover costs related to the sale. We wanted to amplify that message and capture people’s attention, so pledged to compensate developers ten times the value of any chargeback fees they incurred, despite the fact that we had nothing to with the illegal acquisition of these keys.
The gaming developer community has our solidarity and sympathies on this issue, and we want to continue building bridges. With our main point being made, about the seriousness of fraud in the industry, from now on we will 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.”
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