This has been quite a week for the indie developer Tinybuild, after the studio’s blog post on G2A’s grey market practises spread widely across the web. This isn’t the first time that sites like G2A have been called into question but in this case, Tinybuild lost out on $450,000 worth of keys through fraudulent transactions and chargebacks, all of which were then sold on G2A for less than half of retail price. Now, the indie studio is looking for solutions, giving G2A an ‘ultimatum’ to provide a better solution for developers.
G2A initially gave Tinybuild a three day ‘ultimatum’ to agree to work with the company in order to receive help putting a stop to fraudulent key sales. In response, Tinybuild has offered G2A an ultimatum of their own: “Provide a solution for developers and publishers to benefit from the marketplace”.
Tinybuild’s CEO has thought of three ways that G2A could begin to improve the situation for developers, the first solution is to allow publishers to set a minimum price for their games as they do on Steam. The next step would be to set a minimum cut for 3rd party key sellers.
Finally and most crucially, was a call for G2A to actually verify its merchants. Right now, a lot of people like to claim that G2A is somehow like eBay- except it isn’t at all as eBay has many more verification steps in place before someone can begin selling. If G2A began verifying its merchants by asking for credentials, confirming addresses, and other security measures, people would be less likely to get away with selling keys bought using stolen credit card information.
The whole blog is an interesting read if you have ever been interested in how a company like G2A actually operates. There is also a good video from LevelCapGaming that sums up the situation quite well and outlines various reasons as to why grey markets shouldn’t be supported.
KitGuru Says: When keys are bought in bulk using a stolen credit card, it can take months for the chargeback to hit, by which time all of those keys will likely have been sold due to the low price. On top of then losing that money, the publisher also needs to pay out a chargeback fee so it actually costs the studio more in the long run. Sure, you might get cheap games now but supporting this kind of business is doing harm to the industry as a whole, especially smaller indie developers.