Monday, September 12, 2016

What's up with G2a?

A couple of month ago I complained about G2A in Twitter.
Now that I have a blog, I can write about it:

What is g2a?

Turns out that it is some sort of Ebay where SteamKeys are sold.

The official idea is a website where, besides other types of sell, one can sell spare Steam Keys.
Wait... Spare SteamKeys? Who the hell has Steam Keys and are not using them?
Oh, of course! People that for instance purchased a Humble Bundle and he already owned some games, or simply he doesn't like them.

This is all mere speculation. (very optimistic by the way). But there are other real ways to obtain SteamKeys:

The deadbeat

It's just someone who visit Steam, searches a game that just came out and emails the dev studio asking for SteamKeys pretending to be a Youtuber, Twitcher or, even better, a curator of a huge community group. The standard procedure is to write asking for keys to review the game and publish it making the game more known. Well, once he has the keys, the first movement it to sell them in g2a. A fake moderator of a group can ask for 20 keys, should be sold at 5€ each he can get up to 100€ with that single game. And what's worse, he is preventing the studio to earn that money.

This happened to me with Ghost 1.0: I discovered that someone was selling SteamKeys in G2A. Thanks to Twitter, people who purchased the game in G2A wrote me and sent me the keys. I matched them with all given keys and found out the two smartasses who were selling them. One was a "fake youtuber" with an own channel and the other a fake group administrator.

It turns out that they already sold just half of them. I asked Steam to invalidate the rest, but as they did not accept (they only do this in really bad cases), I just gave them away to followers in Twitter.

The Swindler

The worst way to obtain SteamKeys is to find a game that has its own selling portal (the studio sells the game in their own web), and use stolen credit cards to purchase, for instance, 3.000 units of the game.

Once the Swindler has the keys, he inserts them in G2A and similar webs to get the maximum profit possible. Should he sell them at $5, he could earn up to $15.000.

And the worst of this way is the following:
Should the game be sold 10€ each unit, the total amount paid with stolen credit cards should be $30.000, so the studio earns $30.000 stolen to any unfortunate soul, but just thinking they earned $30.000 cleanly.
But soon or later, the owners of the stolen credit cards find out that $30.000 are gone. The bank investigates, finds the fraudulent payments and the money is refunded, taken from the studio (that maybe used part of the money to start a new game), plus a penalty fee. So, the studio turns into red numbers (earns $30.000, then these $30.000 are removed and charged with a fee) while the swindler keeps all his money.

This is an example:

What's G2A's fault?

Well, G2A is not the one who is obtaining SteamKeys in an unfair way, but are the ones who are protecting this scum even knowing who they are. They allow them to continue selling keys over and over again.
For instance, there is a guy selling keys of Unepic who has already sold, between other games, around 14.000 SteamKeys. 14.000!

I can understand that someone wants to get a few bucks by selling a few spare SteamKeys but... come on, if someone has already sold thousands of SteamKeys, isn't is suspicious?
Well, looks pretty clear that it's more profitable than suspicious.

What happens when you complain to G2A?
In my experience they asked me the list of SteamKeys to be removed from their database. My problem (the same than anyone else) was that, from all keys given to press and youtubers, I had no idea which of them were inserted in G2A. So I asked them to remove any key from Ghost 1.0 and Unepic from their store. I was answered literally "We can’t prevent other people from selling their keys, this is what our business is all about".

I read other experiences from other dev studios, like "they asked us to sell our game in their shop, cheaper that other sellers, so people will purchase them to us."

Summarizing, G2A is a paradise for those who sell stolen SteamKeys.

Where to buy?

If you wish to purchase one of my games, just do it in Steam, gog or Humble Store, or directly in the online shops of consoles. Never from G2a or similar webs.

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