Last week I wrote about how co-founder of Vlambeer, Rami Ismail, said that he would rather have people pirate his game than buy it on G2A, considering the amount of time he spends trying to filter out key scammers.
G2A replied to that since then, sending me a mail. Here is the mail, which was sent because “there are some misunderstandings we’d like to clarify”:
“First thing: keys sent to YouTubers or fans as gifts are not stolen. You can’t compare them to ones that were bought with stolen credit cards.
“We are sorry when people cheat game developers, but if we don’t know that particular keys shouldn’t be on sale, what can we do?
“When a game developer sends game keys to fans, YouTubers, or streamers, the developer loses control of them and cannot know what is happening with them. Let’s say that a YouTuber did a giveaway – how can the YouTuber predict if someone who got the key won’t sell it? Does the fan who won the key have the right to sell it? What if the fan took part in the contest and then received a game that they have already played? What should they do now? There is a difference between a key received for free and a swindled key. Someone who received a game key for free should have the right to sell it if they want to.
“Each game developer can flag game keys that they are sending for giveaways or contests and monitor them. We won’t leave anyone without help when it comes to monitoring stolen keys or keys flagged as ‘not for sale’, but we need this need cooperation from developers.
“Second thing: when a game developer sells games via bundles or special offers, there is a big chance that someone will buy more than one key or bundle, and then decide to sell the keys. This is a natural part of the free market which no one can stop. If this person decides to sell the keys on eBay, or any other digital marketplace, the developer will not get a cent from this sale. If the person decides to sell the keys on G2A, and the developer of the game is part of the G2A Direct program, the developer can get up to 10% of the profit of each key sold by third party sellers. No other marketplace gives developers the opportunity to make money on a product that was already sold and profited from before.”
While I agree that people are free to do what they want with the keys they buy, this isn’t the issue that the original post was about. Ismail is pointing to the keys that are acquired by scammers pretending to be YouTubers or streamers or media outlets in the hope that they get keys that they can then sell elsewhere. Developers spend a lot of time double-checking that emails are actually from an outlet or YouTuber, and not someone pretending to be that person for a few keys to make a quick buck. It is a time consuming task that is exacerbated by scammers having easy avenues to sell keys off.
It is a complex issue and is worth discussing more, especially considering the many facets there are to it.