Grey Market key selling websites have become a controversial topic in the last few months as questions arose about the legality of their activities. Originally, Steam’s incredibly aggressive sale strategy meant the majority of purchases were conducted on Valve’s own client. However, this has dramatically altered as sale discounts dwindled and third-party sites offered significantly better pricing. As a result, many consumers simply purchase a Steam code from sites like G2A.com, and insert this into the client.
While there are trusted alternatives such as GamersGate and GreenManGaming, many acquire keys through suspect behavior. For example, Ubisoft revoked a wide array of keys for being stolen and were traced back to G2A. Whether or not they were complicit in this activity, it does raise a great deal of questions about G2A and other key resellers. Strangely enough, many YouTubers, Twitch streamers and even game developers have allowed public sponsorship from G2A.
This seems absolutely bizarre considering the unscrupulous key resellers are actually hurting each developer’s sales and profit margins. In all honesty, you cannot blame consumers for trying to find the best price, but there needs to be better protection to avoid games being suddenly removed without any notice. Thankfully, things might be turning a corner as Riot Games has publicly banned G2A as a sponsor in lieu of primary evidence regarding stolen keys. The developer released a statement which reads:
“We’ve already formally banned them as a sponsor as of September 18th, and have no plans to reconsider the decision at this time.”
“This was NOT a decision we made lightly, and came after many weeks of back and fourth conversations with G2A to find a resolution, which we were not able to reach an agreement on. We do not at all enjoy affecting the income of the teams, but the LCS rules include guidelines specifically against this sort of thing. We did however keep teams in the loop during the process in an attempt to avoid any surprises.”
“To clarify, it seems the wording I used was a bit ambiguous on “an agreement”. Rest assured, “Remove all account selling an [sic] boosting-site links” was indeed our request. We weren’t going to compromise our values on that one in the sake of preserving the sponsorships.”
To clarify, I believe market competition is an essential component to the open nature of PC gaming. Although, sites engaging in proactive marketing who acquire keys for a pittance and exploit regional deviation for profit shouldn’t be encouraged. Regional pricing exists due to the huge gap in wages between various countries. I wouldn’t be concerned if the worst offenders like G2A folded because they are inherently anti-consumer despite the cheap and cheerful image they try to portray. More specifically, I’ve spoken to Tomáš Duda, from SCS Software, the team behind Euro Truck Simulator 2. His experience alone should be enough to stop people buying from G2A, and help protect the industry from companies who could lead to the death of many indie or Triple-A studios.
Have you ever used G2A?
Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.