Gearbox in hot water after partnering up with key resellers G2A

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Gearbox in trouble after partnering with key resellers G2A 2

Gearbox Softworks is busy prepping the launch of the remastered Bulletstorm, and in the process has announced a very limited line of collector’s editions. The packages come with the same standard fare; a figurine, some throwaway collectibles and in-game content. The confusing part of the announcement has to do with who they’re partnering up with to get the copies out. In this case it’s G2A- a traditionally digital storefront with a messy history of fraud.

G2A, if you’re unaware, has long endured claims of compromised security, fraudulent sales of game keys and pushing developers into a corner and profiting off of their sales issues. There have been many articles detailing their questionable business practices. A lengthy report from Patrick Klepek (previously at Kotaku) details how the key reseller became so big, while developer TinyBuild’s harrowing account of their dealings with the company show how severe their practices can be on smaller independent outlets.

In a nutshell, G2A have been accused again and again of facilitating marketplaces for keys to be sold that have originated from illegal means (whether it be stolen credit cards or illegally obtained keys). In recent months they’ve really tried to hammer home that they’re changing, and a deal with Gearbox could be seen as a first step towards legitimacy. That would be believable, if G2A hadn’t shown that their process hasn’t really changed in a recent Reddit AMA.

The AMA in question focused on the changes G2A was making to the way it ran business, with the company attempting to ensure customers and potential partners that they were investing in better ways to detect fraudulent keys. During the AMA, one user stated how easy it was to flip to selling illegal keys once you became a verified user, which in itself wasn’t a difficult process. The user even submitted a fake listing during the AMA, and had it approved before the session was even over. With the evidence being thrown at them, G2A responded in the only way they shouldn’t have – they banned the user.

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G2A fell back on to their typical excuses, stating that without help from developers it is increasingly difficult for them to detect when a key is fraudulent. The company claims to have a team of 100 employees combing listings in an attempt to quell the issue, but reiterated that without help their task was just impossible. Impossible to manage, but certainly not something they’re seemingly willing to turn off – even when admitting that they’re contributing to the problem.

So to have a developer/publisher like Gearbox partner with a company that is financially screwing with other competitors in their trade is curious to say the least. And the backlash has been severe, with threads on Reddit and NeoGAF lambasting Gearbox for the move. Popular gaming personality and YouTuber TotalBiscuit voiced his displeasure over the deal on Twitter, stating that he would cease coverage of the game immediately.

Speaking further with Kotaku, TotalBiscuit detailed why he thinks G2A are so toxic to the industry.

“G2A has offered its own payment system as a ‘solution’ to credit card fraud and mass-chargebacks which cost indie developers and retailers huge amounts of money and put them at risk of being blacklisted by the worlds major credit card companies. A company can decide to work with G2A directly and use their payment solution and API, from which G2A takes a fee. This has been offered to companies such as TinyBuild who claimed to have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue due to G2A as well as smaller startup retailers such as our partner chrono.gg, who also suffered significant credit card fraud and chargebacks early in its life. When they approached G2A regarding this, they offered to give them insight into who was selling stolen keys from chrono.gg but only if they switched to using their payment system and API.

G2A is providing a ‘solution’ to a problem that they created and continue to facilitate and profit from both the solution and the fraud,” he added. “G2A is essentially saying, ‘That’s a nice game you have there, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it.’ That sounds an awful lot like a protection racket to me.”

It’s clear then that this move might have been instigated by G2A, as the company attempts to move past their bad reputation and establish themselves as a more legitimate outlet. But in being the guinea pigs of this experiment, Gearbox might have just inadvertently damaged their own reputation.

Last Updated: April 6, 2017

  • Gearbox seem to lurch from bad decision to bad decision… maybe there’s something funny in that Texan water

    • Perhaps ID switched to bottled water to produce DOOM (2016)

  • Dom

    I was wondering WTF was going on when I went on the Bulletstorm site and saw G2A as the only place to buy it on PC besides Steam. What a dumb fucking decision.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Dodgy dealings, double standards, questionable ethics… it’s like Randy & G2A were made for each other.

    • Trollin_n_Rollin

      *Sandy (FTFY)

  • Captain JJ

    I’ve never had problems with G2A, it’s the sellers on G2A to watch out for. But anyone who’s spent 5min on a street market should know how to spot a dodgy item.

    • Hammersteyn

      inorite? I had to look twice but she clearly had an adam’s apple

      • Captain JJ

        Hehe. Look, I’m not defending G2A at all. But I’m also not going to say I’ve never bought from them before.

        • The crazy digital prices is why sites like G2A will always be around.

          • Captain JJ

            Some games’ licenses also run out with Steam, so they’re not available for purchase on Steam anymore. That also makes people go to G2A, where you could still find keys for those games.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      It doesn’t help if the street market is run by the mafia.

      • Captain JJ

        Just don’t piss the mafia off, I always say 😛

    • I bought from a reputable seller with 5 stars and over 10k trades or something..

      Overwatch key was revoked 4 months later.. that’s when I found out that G2A is not a reputable place to be buying things.

      How many people don’t replay games they bought afterwards and never notice their keys are revoked?

      • Captain JJ

        Yea, I never said that things like that never happens, just read my other comment below. But it definitely hasn’t happened to me.

  • Viking Of Science

    Never Support Grey Market. There are Plenty of Certified Key Sellers on the Web if you go bargain hunting.

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