G2A have once again been the subject of controversy recently, with the company being accused by a number of parties of being "little more than a protection racket". Their business practices have come under fire before, with a number of indie developers unhappy about their way of doing things.
The latest issue is a dispute between the Polish company and Gearbox. After being given details of some of the things that G2A have been accused of, Gearbox chose to back out of a deal for the marketplace to be the official internet home of a special edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition.
G2A's full response is below. As expected, it side-steps the issue of having to fill out ten different mini-forms to cancel a G2A shield subscription, and instead accusers developers and YouTubers of having a vendetta against them.
This last week brought forth a lot of confusion, and caused a lot of inaccurate information to appear on the internet about G2A.COM. Although this saddens us, at the same time we are also glad to have the opportunity to thoroughly explain many of the inaccuracies and misunderstandings tied to G2A.COM.
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. 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.
1. G2A Shield
We agree that every buyer on the marketplace should be protected – and that is exactly how it is on G2A.COM. We firmly attest that G2A.COM protects and secures both our sellers and buyers far better than most functioning marketplaces. In the very rare cases in which a purchased key does not work properly, each user has the right to issue a complaint, and either receive a different key or a refund.
The main purpose and function of G2A Shield is to provide buyers with immense convenience and comfort, as well as additional features such as 10% cashback (which actually ensures that the Shield subscription cost and more is refunded to each person that buys games more than once every few months).
In order to best illustrate this, we will describe exactly how buyer protection works in practice on G2A.COM. Just like on any other marketplace, there are rare cases in which a purchased item does not meet expectations. Therefore, let’s assume that a key bought on G2A.COM from a seller does not work.
If the buyer does not have a Shield subscription:
1. The buyer reports the problem to the seller. If the seller sees that the problem resulted because of the seller’s error or fault, then the seller either refunds the buyer’s money or provides a new key – and the matter is solved instantly.
2. If the seller does not agree to the buyer’s complaint, the buyer writes a message to the G2A Resolution Center. The message receives a case number, and our employees (G2A.COM’s customer support team is fluent in nine languages, six of which are available 24/7, and the average wait-time is barley a few minutes) begin to investigate. Our customer support then contacts the seller, to give them a chance to clarify any doubts, and then our customer support team does everything they can to bring about a satisfactory resolution for both parties. The buyer typically receives a resolution in a matter of hours, in contrast to many other marketplaces where users sometimes must wait a few weeks to receive an answer (or never receive an answer at all).
If the buyer does have a Shield subscription:
1. The buyer opens and connects with live chat, which is available 24/7. The buyer does not have to contact the seller – but simply needs to describe the problem to G2A.COM’s customer support team. The buyer will most likely receive a refund during the chat which last a few minutes, and G2A.COM takes it upon itself to contact the seller and resolve the case on that end.
G2A Shied is very well-priced given the benefits it offers. This of course does not mean that we do not realize the service still requires a lot of improvement. We are constantly working on Shield and we will debut many new solutions over the coming months.
2. Transparency and no hidden fees
G2A.COM has over 13 million clients precisely because it offers attractive terms for both buyers and sellers. We would not have been able to build such a successful marketplace by introducing hidden fees. All fees and rates are clearly and explicitly described in corresponding tables. In addition to the price, VAT is added based on the buyer’s country, and if applicable, a fee depending on the buyer’s chosen payment method. Both of these fees are independent of G2A.COM, and we clearly inform the buyer about them before any purchase is made. No one on our marketplace is unwittingly charged extra fees.
This, of course, does not mean that we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and call it day. We are constantly working on bettering the marketplace and regularly make improvements. In fact, some improvements are currently in the final stages of testing and will soon go live.
3. Developers and their access to our key database
It is of the utmost importance to us that only legally acquired keys appear on G2A.COM. Our marketplace only loses due to fraud, as G2A.COM refunds buyer’s out of our own pocket for keys that stop working, even though we have no legal obligation to do so. We even issue refunds for keys that stop working a year and a half later, regardless if the buyer had a G2A Shield subscription or not. Let us be clear here: we care about the satisfaction of every single customer.
Some developers, and a few influential YouTubers (with John Bain at the forefront) would like to spread an image of G2A.COM as a place which exists from being an intermediary in selling illegally acquired keys. This depiction is far removed from reality. The reality is that the keys on G2A.COM come from legitimate sources. Our marketplace is a leader in security and boasts one of the lowest fraud rates in the industry. G2A.COM employs over 100 people whose job is to ensure the legality of keys, transaction security, and compliance with the most stringent anti-fraud regulations.
For some developers, however, the sole problem is that their games are sold on G2A.COM – which is why they accuse us using baseless and unproven allegations.
Before we explain this more thoroughly, we want to establish two basic facts:
1. We fundamentally value and respect the right to a free market operating within the law.
2. The law does not prohibit the sale of digital goods by those who have acquired them legally.
If someone does not agree with the above points, then we will unfortunately never reach an understanding. If you do agree, then we ask that you please read further.
Let us imagine a situation in which a developer sells a large number of keys to a service which offers bundles. The developer’s game, along with four other titles, end up in a bundle which costs two euros. A user buys the bundle, and instead of assigning all five games to the user’s account, the user re-sells them on G2A.COM – setting a price of one euro per game. The developer does not lose anything on this sale, as they have already sold the key once and received money for it. The user, on the other hand, gains three euros (simple math: the user spent two euros, and made five).
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.COM will not give developers with whom we have not signed an agreement unlimited access to and the ability to modify our databases. G2A.COM has to protect every honest seller, and by giving such access to all developers, we would allow for a situation in which a developer could delete every key on our marketplace regardless of its origin. Such an action would be damaging to the industry, to gamers, and illegal.
What is the solution to this situation? G2A.COM currently cooperates with all interested developers to ensure only legally acquired keys are sold – without any contracts and, more importantly, without any fees. All a developer must to do is provide evidence that the keys that they want to block have been illegally acquired (this evidence can be, for example, a report from a financial institution). Our cooperation is not limited to just the immediate deletion or blocking of keys – we will without hesitation, and, of course without charge, provide all information about fraudulent sellers to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
This situation is different only for those developers who are in the Direct program – since we have signed contracts with these developers, we have complete confidence that they will not do anything which would contradict the two above-mentioned facts. Therefore, they are the only ones who are able to check our database independently and without limitation.
Our Direct program (which, as an aside, already counts over 100 developers) is the answer to all of the complaints developers have about not just our marketplace, but marketplaces in general. We say this not only based on the arguments laid out above, but also on the fact that G2A.COM is the only marketplace in the world which allows developers to charge a commission on the sale of their games by third-parties. An analogy of this in the “physical” market would be if Samsung received money every time an individual on eBay resold a Samsung TV which had been previously bought in a different store. Additionally, participation in G2A Direct is at no cost to the developer. This program has been crafted in such a way that there is no reason why any developer could in any way suffer losses by participating in it.
G2A.COM’s goal is to provide the best possible conditions for both buyers and sellers, while providing the best prices for legal games. We do everything in our power to uphold the best possible relationships with developers and ensure the highest standards in the fight against dishonest sellers.
At the same time, we respect our critics and believe that they have the good of the industry at heart. Unfortunately, sometimes they do not understand how G2A.COM works and as such this misunderstanding causes them to mislead the public about our company. The best proof of this are the four ultimatums formulated in part by John Bain, which, it turns out that were completely unnecessary as all of the issues raised have long been a part of the G2A.COM marketplace. Most of the allegations levied against us are based on both a lack of knowledge, and a lack of desire to learn the other side of the story. The best example of this is quoting false and defamatory statements while ignoring the facts. This is why we constantly emphasize that we are open to meetings and discussions with anyone who has doubts about how our marketplace works.
Maciej Kuc & the G2A.COM Team