Home Gaming G2A’s Head of Communication, Maciej Kuc, defends company’s business practices after receiving harsh criticism

G2A’s Head of Communication, Maciej Kuc, defends company’s business practices after receiving harsh criticism

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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?”

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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

25 Comments

  1. Raptor Rants

    October 16, 2019 at 11:50

    Disclaimer: I won’t use the site as I am not convinced yet it’s legit.

    However one very important thing has been raised here. Why shouldn’t games be cheaper?

    selling 1 million copies at $2 (For arguments sake) is the same as selling 33,333 copies at $60.

    In general more people will buy something when it’s cheaper than when it’s not. Steam sales show this so often.

    That being said I know sales of your product don’t always work that way. A lower priced game may not always move more copies just because it’s cheaper. Your target audience may be smaller, etc.

    But I have to agree that the perception that games can be cheaper has nothing to do with G2A.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      October 16, 2019 at 12:12

      The issue is more complex than that. It’s not that the games are cheaper so more people will buy. Sales create more purchasing by the perceived value being much greater than normal. If your game is a $30 game vs a $60 game – there’s a perception of value that’s intrinsic to that. Is the $60 game a better one? No idea, and that doesn’t matter. Because if you can get that $60 game at $30 on sale for a week, you’re seeing it as better value than the $30 game at full price.

      If you lower the base price to try generate more sales, that’s only going to lower the initial perceived value. Sales won’t necessarily go up. Imagine if Ferrari released a car that cost less than R1M. All the same trimmings, hand-built etc. but it’s cheaper. Anyone who buys that will be seen as driving the budget Ferrari. Porsche did it with their Boxster, and there’s a lot of shade thrown on Boxster drivers. They’re said to “want a Porsche but can’t afford a real one”.

      Now I know this doesn’t directly translate to the gaming industry, but it serves as a useful example as to what perceived value is and does. It’s also important to note that $60 games have been $60 for many years, not going up with inflation. Yet they’re still considered expensive. Our local price has gone up with the exchange rate, but that’s a different matter.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        October 16, 2019 at 12:12

        tl;dr

        Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        October 16, 2019 at 12:22

        Perceived value is sadly a big driving force for humanity. We often place invalid and incorrect values on something by how we perceive it. I’ve started to question myself a long time ago about these biases and I’ve found myself often not simply buying something because of a perceived value, but rather on a basis of what suits my pocket best.

        It means I play far less “new games” but my gaming experience has been better because I’m not facing buyers remorse every other game purchase.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          October 16, 2019 at 12:22

          Indeed.

          My Day1 purchases have always been very well researched and luckily paid of mostly.

          – Skyrim
          – MYZ
          – Dishono(u)red

          To name a few

          Reply

          • Raptor Rants

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            Skyrim was literally the last time I bought a new release game. Since then I’ve done specials only.

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            Another major advantage is you get up-to-date reviews and patches, helping your buying decisions out immensely.

          • Raptor Rants

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            also my need to upgrade is significantly curbed.

          • Admiral Chief

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            How is the mouse-hunting going?

          • Raptor Rants

            October 16, 2019 at 12:23

            I’ve decided on the same stance for a gaming mouse. Is a R1000+ gaming mouse nice? Yes. Is it absolutely needed? No.
            I’m going to go buy the Gamdias one for R200 at month end. If I buy a new one every 12 months that’s fine. But if it lasts longer, bonus. But I’m not spending over R1000 on a buy on the off-chance that it fails anyway once the warranty expires. Or spending that money just to try “guarantee (no such thing)” that the mouse will last a few years.

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:31

            I buy CM Storm mice. Good value for money. I can also pass on a recommendation from a friend (and fellow lurking CH frequenter) for Redragon components. He works with their distributors and vouches for their quality.

          • Raptor Rants

            October 16, 2019 at 12:31

            I see the CM Devastator is going for like 250 now. That may be an option.

            You’re the second person to tell me that Redragon is decent in the last few days. I am surprised

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:32

            Heh, same friend and I had a conversation about their perceived value and he hates that they’re underrated because they’re ‘cheap’. 😉

          • Raptor Rants

            October 16, 2019 at 12:32

            I see their entry one is also around R250. I’ll consider it. But the Gamdias one has nice pretty rainbow RGB *Nervous laugh*
            Don’t judge me!

          • Admiral Chief

            October 16, 2019 at 12:41

            Next thing, you are wearing brony suits

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:41

            7 words from hell right there.

          • Admiral Chief

            October 16, 2019 at 12:42

            Indeed

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:41

            I don’t judge. My keyboard is pretty RGB colours. Paid R500 for that + the mouse. Gave the mouse to my ex because I use the CM Havoc, but hey. That keyboard’s been going strong for many years. And my last mouse (CM Sentinel Zero G) had loads of pretty colours too.

            It’s a gamer thing. We get it.

          • Admiral Chief

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            Always wait seven days before purchase eh?

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            I think my last major day 1 purchase was Borderlands 2. I paid R500 for it back then.

            Edit: I lie. It was No Man’s Sky. Was a bit of a fixer-upper, but I love what they’ve done with the place.

        • Pariah

          October 16, 2019 at 12:22

          And I’m sure your wallet/bank account is in a much happier place in regards to that. Not counting all the other shit we have to pay (thanks SA Government), but still.

          The luxury brand market, in all areas, works entirely off perceived value, so it’s lucrative. It plays to our baser instincts. It’s just as nasty as gambling/loot box psychology. But it’s accepted as a norm. Always important to note that in one’s musings around things like this.

          Reply

          • Raptor Rants

            October 16, 2019 at 12:22

            agreed. And game publishers know this. They know a $60 tag brings thoughts of “AAA”, “best possible game”, “Massive budget game” etc that makes folk think it will be good.

            Sadly this has proven false over and over, yet folk still get sucked in to this. I reckon games should release at $30 for AAA games and set that as the new standard for “quality”.
            But instead the opposite is happening with games often going well over the $60 mark now attributing the new perceived value that $80 is the new norm for true quality.

            I don’t think the industry will survive on that type of upward pricing trend

          • Pariah

            October 16, 2019 at 12:23

            I think if the games turned out to be WORTH that money, then it’d be fine. The issue is more that you’re paying $60 not for a full game, but for an entry point. There’s all this DLC and MTX that comes along with it, often requiring close to or more than double that initial cost. That’s where the real issue lies with the ‘AAA’ gaming world.

            All we want as gamers is to go back to a place where all games were complete on release. Maybe they had bugs that needed fixing, but the whole game was there. Honestly at $60, if all that extra “DLC” was part of the base game, or released for no extra cost, then that’s an easy ask in terms of cost. But alas…

    • Admiral Chief

      October 16, 2019 at 12:02

      While, I do agree on the “selling more games cheaper” is better than “selling less games expensively” argument, the question is HOW these games are being bought (illegally?) and sold legally

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        October 16, 2019 at 12:12

        As I said in my disclaimer, I won’t use them. But it did start making me think about why companies don’t drop game prices to try attract a larger audience

        Reply

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