The grey market for Steam keys can be seen as a way to get your favorite games for a virtual steal, but as anyone that knows the industry can tell you, you have no idea where these keys come from – you could be getting a literal steal. According to a post on MangaGamer’s official blog, this is indeed the case, as several Steam keys of their visual novels are being resold on the grey market with fraudulent purchases made on their website with stolen credit card information. The thieves were exploiting MangaGamer’s policy of offering complimentary Steam keys with purchases of visual novels on their website that are also offered on Steam. This has forced them to shut down payment processing on their website for the time being.
It appears this practice has been going on for several months. While the victims whose credit card information was stolen to make these purchases do get reimbursed for the monetary loss they receive through these purchases, MangaGamer incurs a hit to its reputation with not only its payment processors, but its creditors as well, all the while, the party responsible for these purchases makes a gain through the third party Steam key sale. To mitigate damage as much as possible, MangaGamer unfortunately announced that the practice of offering complimentary Steam keys will be suspended until further notice.
It is currently unknown if these fraudulent purchases are being done by an individual, a group, or several distinct people.
Don’t worry though, if you recently bought a game from their website, you will still be given the free Steam key, but all purchases from here on out will not have these keys until further notice. MangaGamer says they would like to revisit the offer later down the line.
MangaGamer titles on Steam’s store have not been affected in any way and are still for sale. MangaGamer says they are working with their payment processors to restore processing to their site and resume sales.
Though the grey market for Steam keys has been active for some time now, and it certainly can be argued that a player has the right to resale for their PC gamers, the issue has been a hot button one for a number of game companies, especially when fraud is involved. Ubisoft went after grey market resold keys purchased under similar circumstances a year ago going as far as to disable them before public outcry made them re-enable them.
What do you think? Was MangaGamer wise in suspending this offer, or were they better off leaving it intact as they work with their partners for a better long term solution? Let us know below!