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

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.

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AnAuldWolf avatarWhiteCrow avatarShadowized avatardiblob avatarAever avatarAnakhoresis avatar+3
[GM] SocietyX Avatar
1 Year ago

What I find funny about this. Whether you like G2A or not, is from way this story is written. This guy comes onto a panel, starts talking about how G2A is a bunch of scum bags who allow fraud to happen. Then the G2A gets up and says "Let's talk about some facts here." And the TinyBuild's guy responds with "You really want to do this at GDC?"

So what this tells me is.. the TB guy is fine with talking trash about how bad G2A is and how it's harming his company. But when the guy defends his company, he doesn't find it appropriate to do so. This is not how you win an argument.

ThatThereTim Avatar
1 Year ago

G2A spokes person at GDC... not sure they should even be allowed in the door tbh.

Darkhog Avatar
Darkhog(5 hours played)
1 Year ago

Mariusz Mirek. Pronounced Mar-yoosh Mireck. Is this that hard to get right for you?

Btw. My name is Dariusz G. Jagielski.

AnAuldWolf Avatar
1 Year ago

I checked out G2A, out of curiosity. This is a store that has key INSURANCE in case the key you buy doesn't work. What I'm saying is that if you buy a key and it doesn't work, according to their site, they won't actually refund you for the key unless you've bought the insurance??? So, they could sell non-functional keys regularly, or keys that may be revoked down the line, and they're just shirking the responsibility of that unless you pay them even more money in advance!

I'm with Tinybuild. And frankly, I hope they wipe this off the Internet. It's just preying on people. No, really. Just take a look at their site. It's pretty much just sociopathic manipulation to part people with their money. It's basically a scam. And I don't like scams (as came up recently regarding Star Citizen).

The real question here really should be why G2A are still in business.

Aever Avatar
1 Year ago

You're missing the point. G2A itself doesn't sell keys, it only acts as a market where, in theory, people can sell keys. So, again, people are the ones putting up the sales, not G2A itself.

The problem is the source of those keys. Vast majority of them are keys purchased at high discount (through promotions) or purchased in regions with lower regular selling price and then resold to western buyers. Honestly, I don't necessarily see anything unlawful about this. Shady and speculative, yes, but in the end the developer sells a license at the intended price and gets some of the income. But ... the buyer should have purchased the key from his own region and the price of his region. OK, fuck off with this kind of argument. We live in a time when regional barriers for electronic goods cannot be enforced effectively. You're pissing against the wind if you try to force regional based restrictions and the best result you can expect is to only work to some degree.

Other keys come from giveaways, usually to streamers or part of promotions. Again, highly speculative, but not illegal, since the developer/publisher didn't expect any revenue from these keys in the first place.

Finally, the massively blown out of proportion "I've been hacked" argument. For individual players, getting an account hacked (usually through their own fault - weak passwords, mallware, etc.) doesn't mean their games can be sold, because the keys have been linked to an account of some sort. So I usually take arguments that keys from "hacked" people reach G2A with a hefty dose of skepticism. For companies I do see this as having much more sense, with keys being acquired through scamming or attacks on databases/services. This is something that companies should handle much better to prevent leaks of keys. G2A's obligation is to respond to request to shutdown sales of such keys immediately.

Conclusion, G2A is a product of our time. People want to trade electronic goods globally, without restrictions. Also, people want to purchase things as cheap as possible. That's part of our nature and won't change any time soon. G2A definitely hurts the industry and you should avoid using if possible. Maybe wait for a legit promotion, we get plenty of those for our platform. But, on the other side, understand why G2A is there and that it's not technically illegal. If you shut it down another site will popup in its place, because people want it to exist.

Anakhoresis Avatar
1 Year ago

Is it really "hurting" the industry though? While yes, there are cases of fraud, it's the developers/publishers who put their games on sale and then people buy the keys and resell them. It's not even like piracy where they're not getting paid for their game. It's like the Steam Sales. THEY'VE created a culture where everyone knows there's going to be a sale and the game will be available cheaper at some point, so why buy until it's on sale? Or, as G2A allows, buy it from someone a little bit more than was on sale but not as much as they're currently asking and get it now.

I could be totally wrong, but just a thought?

Aever Avatar
1 Year ago

That's the best view of it, in which case, arguably, it doesn't real damage. You can argue for possible lost revenue, but that's a discussion that will never end.

However, it is hurting the developers and/or publishers only when the keys are stolen (100% lost revenue) or payed for with stolen credit card. In the later case the situation is the worse possible case because the banks will force them to reimburse the credit card owner.

Arguably, most keys on G2A don't fall under the later case. So ... yeah, gray market, anything is possible.

WhiteCrow Avatar
1 Year ago

They're in business because there are gullible people out there willing to roll the dice on all those too good to be true prices. It's essentially a black market where people can sell stolen keys. There was a few hefty Reddit threads of people describing their scammy insurance; sounds great on paper, except attempting to opt out of it was nearly impossible. Support was borderline abusive in aiding these people, and once you buy in, it's very difficult to discontinue this "insurance".

Shadowized Avatar
1 Year ago

no, they're in business because things like steam don't allow you to transfer games to other people, if you could transfer ownership of games to your friends or whatnot, it wouldn't be an issue at all.

their model is no different than walk-in shops that allow you to trade in games, sure its seemingly shady if you only think about stolen CC purchases, chargebacks, etc, but really there are many sites similar to G2A that have existed for ages, and will continue to exist for the sole purpose of trading games.

until the industry fucks off with this "renting a license" model with software, it will continue to be this way.

diblob Avatar
1 Year ago

I've used G2A for years and have never had any problems at all with any game key I have purchased. All you have to do is look at the key sellers' reputation and you have a very good idea about how reliable their keys are. Some have sold hundreds of thousands of keys and have a 100% 5 star rating so you know you are in good hands. G2A is a great place to save some money on games, just be careful when buying from newer sellers who have few good reviews. P.S. I have never paid for their G2A shield insurance, and have never needed it.