Gearbox Softworks endured a hefty backlash to the news that they were partnering up with digital retailer G2A. Considering the company’s less than legitimate past and persisting issues with the way they conduct business and protect developers, critics voiced their displeasure over Gearbox giving exclusive business to a company that actively ruins other studios. Seemingly oblivious to this connection, Gearbox decided to act. Instead of cancelling their deal, they want G2A to publically change.
Contacting the deal’s biggest critic, Gearbox worked with YouTuber and game critic TotalBiscuit to understand the situation surrounding the retailer they have gotten into bed with (something you’d assume would’ve happened before the deal went through). With Bain’s help, Gearbox have issued steps that they want G2A to publically comply to, lest they want their contracted partnership to fall through. And the proposed changes are great, if not what everyone has been demanding from G2A for some time.
The full lists of demands can be seen below:
- Within 30 days, G2A Shield (aka, customer fraud protection) is made free instead of a separate paid subscription service within terms offered by other major marketplaces. All customers who spend money deserve fraud protection from a storefront. To that end, all existing G2A Shield customers are notified by April 14th that fraud protection services are now free and they will no longer be charged for this.
- Within 90 days, G2A will open up a web service or API to certified developers and publishers to search for and flag for immediate removal, keys that are fraudulent. This access will be free of charge and will not require payment by the content holders.
- G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 60 days implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers at the title, userid, and account payable levels for a fraud flagging process. This is to protect content providers from having large quantities of stolen goods flipped on G2A before they can be flagged.
- G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 30 days, G2A restructures its payment system so that customers who wish to buy and sell legitimate keys are given a clear, simple fee-structure that is easy to understand and contains no hidden or obfuscated charges. Join the ranks of other major marketplaces.
With those changes, G2A would garner all the respect they need from previously critical customers and development studios alike, given that the marketplace for illegitimately obtain keys would evaporate. Opening up the store to developers so that they can quickly cross reference and ban illegal keys is the crucial first step, while the systems G2A has in place to protect from fraud should have always been a free service.
This sort of public ultimatum is a welcome change to the entire partnership, but it’s also evident that Gearbox really didn’t understand (or previously care) about the company they were doing business with. A fallout of the deal now looks good for Gearbox publically, but it’s only really due to the outcry that this ultimatum now exists. If it results in a better, more legal G2A, then I’m all for it. But considering that these are changes G2A has been against in the past, I struggle to see this being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.