Last month G2A, owners of the controversial game key storefront known as the G2A Marketplace, made an unusual offer. After years of vocal criticism (and in-person heckling) from game developers, G2A said it would build a tool to block some game keys from sale on its website. But it would only put in the time and energy if 100 developers showed interest in using it. So far, it says, only 19 have signed up. They include high-profile companies like Eve Online developer CCP Games and publisher Deep Silver.
“Kudos to them!” wrote G2A. “We want to encourage more developers to join the cause.”
G2A has spent years defending against accusations of fraud and widespread fears that it enables international money laundering. Its most vocal critics remain game developers who must deal with the fallout from stolen credit cards. When games are purchased with stolen credit cards, developers are on the hook for related banking fees to reverse those charges. Many argue that by creating a marketplace for stolen digital goods, G2A is encouraging criminal acts.
Ironically, the “cause” that G2A referred to in yesterday’s blog post has nothing to do with credit card fraud. The keyblocking tool it’s proposing would merely allow developers to register keys they give away for free to prevent them from being sold in large numbers through the G2A Marketplace. G2A says it’s extending the offer to build the keyblocking tool until the end of August to see if more developers are willing to participate.
According to G2A, the complete list includes the following companies: Beer Money Games, Bossa Studios, CCP Games, Crimson Leaf, Deep Silver, Dirty Beast Games, Dynart, Electrocosmos, Farom Studio, Fox Byte Games, Hound Picked Games, MetalBear, Modoka Studios Entertainment, Moonlight Mouse, NYAARGH, SimaGames, Squidpunch Studios, Tate Mutimedia, and Troglobytes Games. Polygon has reached out to them for confirmation.
Just days before suggesting the keyblocking tool, G2A offered to pay developers 10 times the amount lost to fraud in the past. To participate, developers had to be willing to submit to a formal, independent, third-party audit. G2A’s head of communications Maciej Kuc told Polygon the goal was for these audits to be conducted by a “big four” accounting firm such as Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, or KPMG. G2A has not indicated that any such audits are taking place.
In other news, G2A recently admitted that one of its employees had offered to pay ten different outlets in exchange for publishing a ghost-written story favorable of the company.