G2A hits back at Gearbox over 'list of ultimatums'

April 11, 2017 // 10:44 a.m.

Tags: #bulletstorm #fraud #full-clip-edition #g2a #g2acom #gearbox #grzegorz-mazowiecki #john-bain #key-marketplace #key-reseller #key-reselling

Controversial key reselling marketplace G2A has hit back at Gearbox, the company's partner on Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, claiming that it already meets or exceeds fraud-limiting demands made in the face of public outcry - apart from the biggest and most important: giving developers a means to find and de-list fraudulently obtained keys.

Best known for its key reselling market, despite recent moves into direct publishing, G2A is a controversial service which allows users to resell excess game keys - typically in direct contravention of publishers' stated terms and conditions for their use. While in theory this allows individuals to make use of their rights under the doctrine of first sale to convert unwanted gifts into cash or alternative games, the site is more commonly used as a grey market for resellers to buy up keys cheaply in one region then resell them at a profit in another, or to buy keys with stolen credit cards, or steal them directly from publishers or retailers, then sell as many on as possible before the publishers catch wind and cancel the keys.

Despite recent moves to reduce fraud on the platform, G2A remains troublesome in the eyes of many. There should be no surprise, then, that when Gearbox announced it had partnered with the site on the release of a physical collector's version of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition there was uproar - in particular from YouTube gaming personality John Bain (TotalBiscuit), who declared a boycott on all Gearbox products as a result. Gearbox responded to the wave of negative publicity that resulted quickly and clearly, issuing demands that G2A clean up its act then announcing it was dissolving the partnership when the company remained silent.

Now, though, G2A has broken that silence, and the company is clear: It's done nothing wrong and has, in fact, already met or exceeded all of Gearbox's demands. 'It all began with a few negative reactions from some YouTubers, and in particular from John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, to an announcement that G2A.com is working together with Gearbox Publishing. Our partner, Gearbox Publishing, unfortunately decided to publicly publish a letter with a list of ultimatums, without consulting us about the truth of the allegations made by John Bain,' G2A's Grzegorz Mazowiecki has claimed in an official statement. 'This is an excellent example that rash actions, without full knowledge of the facts, can be harmful to both the developer and the marketplace. Especially since all of the requests made of G2A.com in the ultimatum have in fact long been part of our marketplace.'

In its rebuttal, the company defends its G2A Shield service in which buyers can pay extra to protect their keys against being cancelled due to reported theft or fraud, claiming that even without a Shield subscription cases of fraud are resolved in a matter of hours with the support team doing 'everything they can to bring about a satisfactory resolution for both [buyer and seller'. It also excuses what Gearbox described as 'hidden fees' by saying that said fees, region-dependent VAT and payment method surcharges, are independent of G2A and outside its direct control.

In a more controversial section of the statement, however, G2A states clearly that it has no intention of ever building Gearbox's requested web service or API for publishers to check for fraudulently obtained keys being listed by sellers - because, the company claims, publishers would only abuse such a service. 'We fundamentally value and respect the right to a free market operating within the law. The law does not prohibit the sale of digital goods by those who have acquired them legally,' Mazowiecki explains. 'If someone does not agree with the above points, then we will unfortunately never reach an understanding.

'The problem is that some developers do not want to accept that people resell their games. The developers would like to control the market and all the sales channels within it, imposing higher prices and prohibiting the resale of unused games. G2A.com does not agree with this – we respect the buyers’ rights, buyers who often unfortunately believe that the rules set forth by developers follow the law. This is why G2A will not give developers with whom we have not signed an agreement unlimited access to and the ability to modify our databases.
'

While Mazowiecki claims G2A 'currently cooperates with all interested developers to ensure only legally acquired keys are sold,' he admits that direct access to the G2A database is already available exclusively to developers which pay a subscription to access the company's Direct publishing programme - because 'we have complete confidence that they will not do anything which would contradict the two above-mentioned facts.'

Gearbox has not yet responded to G2A's rebuttal.

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