TinyBuild Games, developers of SpeedRunners and Punch Club, have written about their experiences with game keys purchased with stolen credit cards showing up on the marketplace of G2A. If the site is still down (probably due to server strain), use this image of the same page.
G2A are a key selling site and major affiliate for streamers and YouTube channels, but they also provide an Ebay-like marketplace for users to sell unwanted keys from GPU deals, bundles, and the like. When it comes to policing the legitimacy of some of those keys, however, G2A appear to show little interest.
The situation outlined by tinyBuild’s Alex Nichiporchik has become a familiar one. Their store was the victim of a large number of purchases made on stolen credit cards, followed (inevitably) by charge-backs. Meanwhile, thousands of keys for tinyBuild-developed games were, at that same moment, appearing on G2A’s marketplace. The exact same scam was explained in a March post by IndieGameStand.
When this happens, the person stealing credit card information and flogging cheap keys makes a quick profit (and effectively engages in money laundering), the developer or distributor hit with charge-backs loses money, and G2A takes a share from the payment provider on every marketplace sale.
In response to tinyBuild’s queries, G2A suggested that the keys sold on their marketplace were unlikely to be the result of fraud, and that they were instead being sold by tinyBuild’s distribution partners. They offered to look further into tinyBuild’s claims, but only if the developer entered into direct partnership with G2A.
In all, $450,000 USD worth of suspicious keys were sold through the marketplace.
As tinyBuild put it, “G2A claims our distribution partners are scamming us and simply selling keys on G2A. They won’t help us unless we are willing to work with them. We are not going to get compensated, and they expect us to undercut our own retail partners (and Steam!) to compete with the unauthorized resellers.”
In a reddit thread on the subject, Trion’s Scott Hartsman contributes his own views on G2A. He calls their claim that tinyBuild’s distribution partners are the ones selling keys on the marketplace “a complete garbage statement” and says Trion have regularly told G2A to “go piss up a rope” regarding ‘partnership’ deals.
“They’re a large part of why we’ve almost entirely moved to keyless in favor of account entitlements on our own platform and deeper integration with trustable (e.g. Steam, Amazon, etc) partners,” Hartsman continues. “Storing it all in our own platform and having human beings manage/review is the thing that keeps the chargebacks to an acceptable level. Without it, the fraud is just overwhelmingly insane.”
League of Legends creators Riot Games have a long-standing ban on any G2A sponsorship of their teams or events.