Update February 3, 2017: G2A got in touch with us after we covered their AMA yesterday.
Probably the biggest story to emerge from G2A's AMA session on Reddit (see original report, below) came from a user who claimed to have proven their seller verification process was inadequate. G2A wrote to PCGamesN after our coverage yesterday to give their side of the story.
Last year we took an in-depth look at G2A, their business model, and how they say they protect users.
G2A say the user "was not telling the truth when he said that he hasn't been verified", because he's been through their process and they have all his personal information.
He was able to add new keys to their database quickly because "he had hundreds of transactions, over 99% of which went well. As his rating was very high, he was treated as a more trustworthy seller in our system than someone who, for example has only sold a few codes." G2A say that if he'd tried to list larger numbers of keys at once, he would've been subject to stricter checks, and add that "for the additional protection of our buyers, withdrawing money is only possible 14 days after a successful transaction."
After the user tried to prove how easy it was to list a fake key for sale by doing exactly that, G2A banned him for violating the terms and conditions of their marketplace. However, this was interpreted by many on Reddit as a petty punishment for his having "exposed" them.
G2A say "the biggest misconception here is that people are mixing up two different things: a user showing he could add a fake key versus a seller adding a fraudulently obtained, but working key... if you post a fake key, it will hurt both the buyer (for a short time, as he or she will get a refund) and you, the seller" because "you will face the ramifications for cheating."
If you post a fraudulent but working key, G2A say there are two possibilities. If they were told by the publisher/developer and given a list of stolen keys, "you will never post the 'stolen' key. It just won't be possible, and we will cooperate with the proper authorities." If G2A are not given a list of stolen keys, "it's purely impossible to distinguish legally acquired keys from those acquired illegally. All we can do is react when a customer faces a problem with a purchase, help him or her, and then make sure the thief meets the consquences."
In summary, G2A say that user's claims to have "exposed" them are based on a misunderstanding of their verification procedures. Meanwhile, they continue to argue that if the industry won't cooperate with them, there's only so much they can do to identify stolen keys on their own.
Original story February 2, 2017: Key marketplace G2A have been making some big claims recently about wanting to tidy up their service. That’s because they’ve come under heavy fire from throughout the industry for seemingly shady practices. Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman said the service didn’t sell any legitimate keys that were bargain prices. Riot banned G2A from sponsoring any League of Legends eSports teams. Action Henk’s developer said he would rather people pirated his game than buy from the site. TinyBuild accused them of selling a bunch of stolen keys for their games, to the value of $450k. The list goes on.
G2A have attempted to clear up some of these issues in a Reddit AMA, but they just ended up coming under more fire.
During the AMA, they were asked about multiple topics, including shady keys, developers saying they would rather have their game pirated, and even queries about G2A Shield, which allegedly offers an extra layer of protection to buyers in case keys are revoked after a sale. Every answer they gave was downvoted into oblivion, to the point where you have to click expand to even see their answers on each topic.
The article we ran on Action Henk’s developer, linked above, was directly mentioned, with G2A suggesting that developers are doing it for publicity.
“The first two cases (Lex Decrauw & Level Up Labs) are a little absurd but we understand their approach,” say G2A.
“Let's clear that up. If the key is on G2A, that means that it came from the developer, which means they have already been paid. If you want to buy that game on our marketplace, they won’t receive any additional money out of that (actually they could with G2A Direct, but let's [not] go into that here).
“If somebody pirates the game, the dev still doesn’t receive the money. From their perspective there is no difference. So why are they suggesting pirating the game rather than buying it on G2A? We are talking about it right now so it’s a little victory for them already.”
G2A go on to say that developers don’t report stolen keys to them, so they can’t track them. They also claim that they have a good layer of security to verify the keys, despite this.
Things then escalated when one user seemingly proved that these verification steps are ineffective.
The G2A user claims they sell keys constantly and they’re never verified by anyone. Allegedly, you can bypass the verification process with a few clicks and, after you’ve done it once, you’re verified indefinitely. Even when the system doesn’t accept a key, he claims he just waits a few hours and tries again - at this point the system accepts it.
G2A respond by saying that the user doesn’t know his keys haven’t been checked, as they try make the experience as seamless as possible. At this point, the user shares a screen that seems to show the key goes on sale as soon as it’s listed, before it’s even verified. He found this out when someone bought a key as soon as he put it on the system. He even goes as far as adding a fake listing, which passes the verification process, to prove his point.
Following that, G2A promptly respond by tracking his account down and blocking it, freezing any funds he had in his wallet and making them inaccessible. Now the Reddit community are up in arms about the whole thing, adding even more fuel to the G2A hate.
When the whole point of the AMA was to prove they are doing everything they can to fight fraudulently obtained key sales, I think it’s fair to mark this one down as a loss. The thread is bursting at the seams with criticism, and the posts by the G2A representatives do very little to address it. A lot of the company’s comments come across like the video embedded at the top of this article.