Green Man Gaming denies selling “grey market” games, will disclose where every game comes from

GMG transparency

Update 18th Nov, 2015: As promised when they spoke to us, Green Man Gaming now display the source of their codes on their site. Black Ops 3’s codes (pictured), for example, are listed as coming from an ‘authorised distributor.’ The company also released a statement via Facebook informing users not only of the source listing, but that they’ll now get more information on when their key will arrive. 

Original Story: Online retailer Green Man Gaming is at the centre of a new controversy on Reddit. TheGamesDeals sub-Reddithas banned any posting of Green Man Gaming products, claiming that the retailer is selling game keys sourced from the “grey market”, and not game publishers. GMG state that they are selling games that have been “responsibly sourced”.

Claims have been made that GMG are selling unauthorised keys for Ubisoft and Activision games. By selling keys acquired from the “grey market” and not publishers directly, this would mean publishers are getting no cut of the sale. But GMG deny the claims, stating that while they may not be an authorised seller, they are purchasing keys from responsible outlets.

“Let’s be clear here; there is a difference between being an authorised retailer for some titles, and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorised third parties with revenue going back to the publisher,” said GMG’s chief executive Paul Sulyok in a statement addressed to Reddit.

The GameDeals sub-reddit explained that the retailer was being eyed with suspicion since their Witcher 3 keys were obtained from an “unknown source”, and thus provided no revenue to developer CD Projekt RED.

“Ever since it was made clear that their keys for The Witcher 3 were not coming directly from CD Projekt RED or the proper channels, there has been a lingering concern about Green Man Gaming,” the Reddit mod explains.

“It has now come to our attention that Green Man Gaming’s library of unauthorized game sales has expanded, or this library has just now come to light. You may have noticed recently some ‘too good to be true’ deals on Green Man Gaming. We received a few modmails/emails on the subject so we investigated.”

The sub-Reddit’s moderator claims to have been monitoring sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops III from the retailer, and found “mixed results” as customers received various editions of the game, which the mod believes is due to GMG having purchased unauthorized keys.

Talking to PCGamesN, Green Man Gaming further clarified the situation to us. Some publishers provide keys directly to GMG. Where there is no direct relationship with a publisher, GMG work with a range of outlets to “responsibly source keys”.

“Going forward, we are going to make this clearer on our site for every product, so a customer knows exactly where they key is coming from – work has started on this already,” Green Man Gaming told us.

The full, original statement from Green Man Gaming – as seen on Gamespot – can be found below.

“Dear Reddit

First of all, we are very disappointed that we were unable to come to a mutual understanding with the Reddit Game Deal moderators: /r/GameDeals

Over the past year, we have been repeatedly asked to supply sensitive information regarding contracts between us and publishers, which for legal reason we simply cannot share, nor should we be expected to. We believe that other retailers featured on Reddit Game Deals have not been afforded the same level of scrutiny and investigation that we have endured, and that ultimately, customers will be missing out on information and deals.

We find the research carried out by the Reddit Game Deal mods has been subjective or inaccurate. We know they share the same aims as we do; to offer customers great value on great games, so it brings us no pleasure to publicly state – they are wrong.

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We have always been transparent that for us, the customer is our priority. We have withdrawn from Reddit Game Deals as we no longer have the time and resources to keep offering proof and statements to their persistent group of moderators. Our focus as always should be and is our customers.

We reiterate that we source our keys from a range of over 400 publishers, developers, and distributors to meet customer’s demands on a title by title basis. Let’s be clear here; there is a difference between being an authorised retailer for some titles, and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorised third parties with revenue going back to the publisher. If a key unlocks, it is an authentic key. This isn’t a perfect science as human error can affect the supply chain. Where possible, we work directly with publishers and distributors to make sure customers have the very best experience with us.

Whenever things outside of our control have happened, we have instantly and fairly tried to make it right. We accept that we don’t always get it right, and we are sorry for any inconvenience caused. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, the Reddit Game Deal community, and everyone who has supported us.

Thank you

Paul Sulyok CEO Green Man Gaming

and The Green Team”