After a year of allegations and complaints surrounding G2A’s arguably shady business model of reselling game keys, Kuc states that all the claims are unfounded.
G2A has become somewhat notorious around the Internet for being that online distributor that you know will have the best prices on game keys but afterwards you always feel kinda…slimy. The company has been accused multiple times of reselling game keys that have been obtained under, shall we say, suspicious circumstances. A few months ago, Mike Rose of publisher No More Robots, tweeted out that G2A was using Google ads to undercut the sale of certain video games, essentially costing the devs money.
Other developers have criticised G2A for not vetting who sells game keys on their site as keys that are stolen or fraudulent cost the studio money as they will be required to fit the bill for a new key and even more developers have cited that the reselling of game keys at such exorbitantly cheap prices reduces the public perception of how much games are worth.
It’s been a bumpy year for G2A and despite issuing an official statement regarding Mike Rose’s comments, the company has taken a hit to its reputation. Wanting to set the record straight regarding the company’s business practices, G2A’s Head of Communication Maciej Kuc spoke with GameIndustry.biz about how the company sees themselves. Kuc maintains that the vast majority of business conducted by G2A is legitimate due to their strenuous and in-depth process for monitoring and managing sellers.
“Lots of people say we don’t verify sellers. Where do they get this information from? Come to our website, become a seller, try to sell something. A few years ago, it was possible to sell something without providing personal data before cashing out. But right now on our marketplace, if you want to become a seller, the procedure is so strict we can assure you we’re perfectly aware of who our sellers are”, said Kuc.
“Putting hundreds or thousands of keys on sale for one game is something most sellers are doing every day,” insisted Kuc. “So there’s no flag there — a bigger flag would be if someone sold only one key.”
Yet when GameIndustry.biz reporter James Batchelor pushed Kuc on where sellers obtain their keys from he was answered with an “I don’t know” with Kuc suggesting Bachelor visit G2A’s site and reach out to key sellers. Which is exactly what he did, sending out messages to three prolific key sellers on G2A, all three of whom have sold tens of thousands of keys through the site. When questioned as to how these keys were obtained, the answers weren’t encouraging. One stated their keys were obtained from wholesalers and distributors, another simply replied “Steam” and the third refused to provide any information.
“Who can generate keys? Only publishers and developers. In the vast majority of cases, the keys come either directly from them or from distributors. Some people wonder why developers would sell keys to distributors when they could sell on Steam. But if you’re a company and you need to meet your KPIs, having the possibility to sell 100,000 keys straightaway to one distributor for a discounted price…absolutely [makes sense]. Yes, if you sell on Steam, you can sell for €30 but if you sell in bulk at €10, you have €1 million instantly. It’s far better to invest that in making new games — especially if it’s a long time after release”, explained Kuc.
Regarding the accusation that G2A is hurting the public perception regarding the value of games, Kuc responded by saying, “It’s G2A’s fault that the perception of value is…? Come on. You have full control, you can generate as many keys as you want, you can sell the game on Steam for a price you set. But it’s G2A’s fault the perception of value is worse? Our goal — and we’re not hiding it — is we want to raise awareness among people that games can be cheaper. That’s exactly what we do. But we’re not saying that games are not worth your money. If you’re discounting your game the first day… People who missed that, what do they do? Do they pay more, or do they wait for discount?”
Reading through the full interview, Kuc comes across as being especially defensive about how G2A conducts their business. I suppose he has every right to, given how people have questioned the system they have established around their site. Yet given how the reselling of game keys is still such strange business model caught up in a great deal of smoke and mirrors, I’ll admit that I don’t plan on purchasing a key sold on G2A any time soon.
Last Updated: October 16, 2019