G2A has pissed the indie devs and publishers off once again, and the „grey” market website had to respond to the accusations.
G2A has published a very long letter as a response to the subject that we discussed previously (torrent the games instead of buying them on G2A). It’s pretty long, but we’ll point out the important points. Most of the codes sold on the site are sold by businesses who buy the codes in bulk directly from the publishers. Some publishers directly offer codes for sale via G2A Direct – you can see the publisher’s official account if you try to buy a code for a game. Regarding Descenders (one game that was behind the scandal), G2A claims only five keys showed up on the site, and allegedly, the developer has lost no money on them.
G2A also talked about the credit card fraud (the site, which doesn’t have a good reputation already, is accused by it): „Bestselling games on G2A are exactly the same games that are popular everywhere, so basically AAA titles. As a thief, your goal is to cash out the money on stolen credit cards as soon as possible, before they get blocked. If you got, say, $5,000 to cash out, you’d have to buy 250 copies of said indie game for $20 each. Considering average indie sale statistics, it’d take you about 2-3 months to sell them on G2A. Doesn’t seem like ASAP at all!
To assure honesty and transparency, we will ask a reputable and independent auditing company to make an unbiased examination of both sides – the developer’s store and G2A Marketplace. The cost of the first three audits is on us, every next one will be split 50/50. The auditing company will check if any game keys sold on G2A were obtained using stolen credit cards on a developer’s store compliant with card scheme rules from Visa and Master Card/payment provider rules. If so, G2A guarantees it’ll pay all the money the developer lost on chargebacks… multiplied by 10,” G2A says.
And it’s not over yet. Mike Rose, the leader of No More Robots, the publisher of Descenders, launched a petition that already has 2500+ signatures. He thinks G2A „hurts indie devs time and time again, by allowing anyone to sell illegitimate keys for their games only, with incredible ease, and no ramifications or checks.” And it’s still not over: Rose has posted a lengthy Twitter rant as a response to G2A’s letter: „So here’s my response: They’re lying. I did get in contact and talked to them at length. I have all the emails, so I guess I’ll have to post those soon. I never mentioned chargebacks at any point. They say I have a “pretty good at handling the keys they don’t want available on the free market”. Yes, I do! And that’s because G2A exists. I’ve had to stop giving out keys so freely to potential press + influencers because G2A doesn’t care about policing their site. Because of this “pretty good handling”, it means that we’re far less inclined to get involved with things like, for example, a Humble Bundle, as we know all the keys will appear on G2A afterwards, and tank our Steam sales from that point onwards. *This* is the issue with G2A.
They say “Just join G2A Direct!”, but this is nonsense, as they then sell your game alongside all the illegitimate keys. Why on earth would any developer want their game sold officially alongside a grey market? Do they think we’re idiots? The tl;dr is: G2A does not care about the people who make games, no matter what spin they keep frothing out. Do not fall for it. Plenty of devs have tried to reason with them, but they are not to be reasoned with. And hey, when you read this G2A: You have my phone number, I gave it to you when we were emailing back and forth. Ask your dev relations person Mateusz. I’m waiting for your call!
G2A say barely any copies of Descenders have sold on G2A, but *this isn’t the f_cking point*. The problem is the *perception of value*. If someone sees our game at a low price on G2A, they’ll automatically be less inclined to buy full price. As an industry, we are constantly fighting for players to perceive our games as valuable. If you see that Descenders is available for cheap somewhere dodgy, your brain will say “hmm, maybe I shouldn’t buy it full price?” G2A facilitate this shift every single day and don’t care.
So let’s delve into these lovely stats G2A have provided for us! Descenders have sold 226 copies on G2A… but one single person sold 45% of those. In fact, 85% of the keys were sold by 3 people! So where the heck did they get so many cheap/free keys? How is that even possible?
You can see that one guy selling 102 Steam keys on February 14, 2018. At that point, the game was only available on Steam and was 10% in the launch sale. I remember seeing these keys on G2A for around $13 at the time. So how did this one person get 100 keys he could sell for $13? Clearly, these 100 keys are a red flag. All the other 1s, 2s appearing — fine, that’ll always happen. 100 keys appearing from a single person? 3 people selling 85% of keys for a game on G2A? Come on now, haha. These are clearly flaggable, yet G2A did nothing. Descenders’ cheapest price at the time of these keys going up was $22.49. How were they appearing on G2A for nearly half the price? Is that genuinely not cause for concern to the people running the sales platform?
I love this line too. It shows that G2A has zero understanding of how games sell. *, Of course, AAA games sell way more than indie titles, you morons*. AAA games are triple the price of indie titles, have widespread marketing campaigns, and are pushed hard by sales platforms. But obviously indie titles only account for 8% of G2A’s sales, so f_ck ’em, right? Who gives a sh_t about the smaller devs, they barely make us any money anyway. Anyway, this whole post is a beautiful trainwreck, and I’m gonna print it out and put it on my wall to remind me daily that G2A is laughably bad for our industry, and clearly have no idea why, despite people telling them over and over again,” Rose wrote.
We’re not here to take any side on the matter, but it’s definite that Rose has painted G2A in an entirely different light than the site tried to do with itself. And it’s pretty sure not over yet.