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G2A spokesperson turns TinyBuild GDC panel into an argument about fraudulent keys

Punch Club

Update March 2, 2017: TinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik was hosting a GDC panel last night, along with Digital River’s Scott Davis and Scott Williams, co-Founder of Panopticon Laboratories Matthew Cook, and Sony’s Lee Gauld. During the panel, the subject of fraud came up, with Nichiporchik saying kids these days have more ways to launder fraudulently bought game keys, with marketplaces such as Kinguin and G2A facilitating it. 

“From our perspective,” agreed Matthew Cook, “all of these [credit card fraud] schemes only have payouts because there’s a market for them.” Cook’s company specialises in providing cyber security for the games industry. 

If you’re feeling cheap, here’s the best free PC games.

When it came time for the Q&A session, Marius Mirek, an outbound sales specialist at G2A, took to the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen… I am actually from G2A.com,” he said, via Polygon.

“I was directly involved with Alex’s case and I would like to dispel a few things, first of all. G2A.com does work with developers directly and any one of you can email me. And let’s address your codes, because I was handling your emails. You have provided not a single [game] code [for us to validate the alleged fraud].”

Mirek was shut down by the panel’s moderator, but not before Nichiporchik had the chance to reply, “You’re really going to do this at GDC?”

The original TinyBuild story about the alleged fraud on G2A is below if you need to catch up. Basically, TinyBuild say G2A facilitated the sale of $450,000 worth of fraudulent keys from their games. G2A say they tried to verify this, but TinyBuild didn’t cooperate.

Last year, developers even went as far as to say they would rather players pirated their games than buy them on G2A. G2A have since laid out how they plan to clean up their business.

Update June 23, 2016:TinyBuild have issued a response to G2A’s statement.

TinyBuild have now updated their original blog post with various responses to G2A’s statement and demand that TinyBuild issue a list of their keys within three days. They issue their own counter-demand for solutions to the problems with G2A they present, including setting a minimum price on the store.

You can read their full statement on the site, assuming it doesn’t go down again, here. They call G2A’s statements on their Punch Club piracy article “completely unrelated” and refute the tone G2A used. Here’s a summary of the rest of the statement:

  • CEO Alex Nichiporchik asks how keys were removed from G2A’s store when TinyBuild refused to provide a list.
  • He also says that it is false that Humble, BundleStars, IndieGala, IndieGameStand and others have sold keys on G2A.
  • TinyBuild won’t be sharing key batches with G2A because it would take “an insane amount of work.”
  • They suggest one or all of these solutions:
    • Allow publishers to set a minimum price for the distributed products
    • Set a minimum cut for all 3rd party sales of said keys (these would come out of merchants’ cut)
    • Verify merchants more thoroughly.

As for our own article with comments from Scott Hartsman, G2A have said to us we’ll receive a response before the end of the day.

Original story June 22, 2016: G2A have responded to the recent controversy where they allegedly allowed $450,000 worth of fraudulent keys to be sold on their platform, all from one developer, TinyBuild.

TinyBuild recently wrote a blogpost about the keys, which were apparently obtained via the use of fraudulent credit cards. According to TinyBuild’s Alex Nichiporchik,G2A wanted him to work with them but wouldn’t ever offer compensation for these keys.

G2A also said at the time that they believed most of the keys were not fraudulent and in fact sold by authorised resellers on their store because of “the reach that G2A has.”

Now G2A have offered an in-depth answer as to why they aren’t willing to offer compensation, saying that TinyBuild never cooperated with them.

G2A say that TinyBuild made “many unjustified demands”, including the removal of stock and compensation for their losses.

“All questions asked of G2A were answered, (all data requested by tinyBuild was given freely by G2A) including the number of sales and their median value for the life time of the product page (original release dates of the products right up until the 8th of June 2016),” says a G2A spokesperson.

In return, G2A apparently asked TinyBuild for a list of the fraudulent keys so they could cross check with the ones on their database and verify that they were questionable.

“All G2A asked, was to cooperate with TinyBuild to rectify the issue, which is the list of the keys they deemed without any verification, as stolen. Only then can G2A compare these keys against the confidential G2A marketplace database and report those findings back to TinyBuild,” says G2A. “Unfortunately TinyBuild never came back with the answers to resolve the issue.”

As for the claims of the value of the missing keys, G2A also have doubts about its accuracy.

“Why did TinyBuild refer only to the highest price point in their product history?” asks G2A. “While on the real market you can buy their products in a bundle on an 85% off discount. Finding a better medium price here would give a true overview. TinyBuild should explain to the media why they omitted their sales data from the revenue projection.”

G2A go on to promise that they’re still willing to look into the matter if TinyBuild cooperate, and they’re also ready to release the results of their findings. You can read the full G2A statement at that link.