TinyBuild, the publisher behind games such as Party Hard, SpeedRunners, Clustertruck, and developed No Time To Explain are saying that game code marketplace G2A sold over $450,000 worth of their games, with many of these games being acquired through fraudulent means. Due to this, TinyBuild were issued a large amount of chargebacks, which is when the bank that provided the card asks the seller for the money the product was worth. As a result, the company lost thousands in revenue and put them in a bad place with their payment provider. This is also packed on top of the fact that TinyBuild was in the process of attempting to make official a relationship with G2A so that they could sell authentic game keys.
“Websites like G2A are facilitating a fraud-fueled economy where key resellers are being hit with tons of stolen credit card transactions,” Alex Nichiporchik wrote on the official TinyBuild blog, which as of this time, is currently down as the result of a DDoS attack, according to the publisher. “These websites are now growing rapidly due to low pricing of game keys.”
If you’re unaware of G2A, you’ve probably seen the G2A Goldmine logo on a YouTuber like PewDiePie. If you just don’t understand how it works, the website resells game codes via their marketplace. At a more basal level, if you pass their approval process, you can put anything up for sale anonymously. If something’s wrong with the product, G2A has a program called G2A Shield that, if you pay a fee, G2A promises that they’ll make things copacetic.
While this may seem great, the cost of dealing with someone like G2A can be greatly impactful to a developer or a publisher. In the blog post mentioned above, Nichiporchik explained how TinyBuild once had an online store where they sold legitimate copies of all their games. He claims that fraudsters purchased thousands of codes through the aforementioned store, and then turned them for profit on G2A.
“The shop collapsed when we started to get hit by chargebacks,” Nichiporchik said, I’d start seeing thousands of transactions, and our payment provider would shut us down within days. Moments later you’d see G2A being populated by cheap keys of games we had just sold on our shop.”
Here’s a look at the comparison beween G2A versus if it was sold it was sold at retail price.
|G2A Pricing||Retail Pricing|
|total EUR||171,460.64||total EUR||391,479.42|
|total USD||$197,179.74||total USD||$450,201.33|
Here’s the response G2A gave when Nichiporchik asked the origin of the keys sold on their website, as well as the type of compensation G2A would give to him for the fraud.
I can tell you that no compensation will be given. If you suspect that these codes where all chargebacks aka fraud/stolen credit card purchases I would be happy to look into that however I will say this requires TinyBuild to want to work with G2A. Both in that you need to revoke the keys you will be claiming as stolen from the players who now own them and supply myself with the codes you suspect being a part of this. We will check to see if that is the case but I doubt that codes with such large numbers would be that way.
Honestly I think you will be surprised in that it is not fraud, but your resale partners doing what they do best, selling keys. They just happen to be selling them on G2A. It is also worth pointing out that we do not take a share of these prices, our part comes from the kickback our payment providers.
TinyBuild’s story comes after many months of G2A trying to rebuild their image in the eyes of the public after numerous outlets, related horrible first-hand accounts of using their marketplace and many others out there.
Source: TinyBuild’s blog and an email sent to us after the DDoS attack
My Take: I’m quite familiar with G2A, before I bought my PS4 and Xbox One, and I can say it’s not the best experience.I knew it was dubious on how G2A acquire their game codes, but I just didn’t care. I cared more about saving money. Now, after this story, and multiples over the years, I think I’m finally ready to separate from G2A completely.
Either way, G2A should respond to this, it looks worse if they don’t. I’ll be very interested to hear the full story.