Video game key marketplace G2A have had their dalliances with controversy in the past. From accusations of unscrupulous activity to their old (and now thankfully retired) G2A 'shield' program they're no stranger to controversy within the industry. Mike Rose, the co-founder of indie publisher No More Robots, hit out at the company, tweeting about some Google ads for G2A which seemed to be advertising the sale of Descenders. Rose originally tweeted saying that he would rather fans pirated the games than bought them through G2A as "Devs don’t see a penny either way, so we’d much rather G2A didn’t see money either".
G2A has since hit back, trying to explain their business model to GameIndustry.Biz. The code reseller has claimed that their advertisements are automatic and that they are "the same as any other big global marketplaces' like Amazon or eBay, with all its ups and down.". Despite this rebuttal, the feud appears to have escalated with Mike Rose starting a petition for the sale of indie games to be stopped on the site, and G2A accusing Rose of lying on their Facebook page, saying he never requested that the codes be removed from the site in the first place. The petition has picked up over 800 signatures already and has been gaining steam as this article has been in the works.
Mike Rose responded by posting a screenshot, alleging to show a response from a G2A representative which asked Rose to 'join our ranks of developers'.
Since these Tweets, G2A has posted an article offering indie developers up to 10 time the cash back on any money lost via chargebacks from illegally obtained keys, and tried to go in-depth explaining where the keys on their site come from and how much of an impact they have on game sales as a whole. In the article, after an update, the company said that Rose had, in fact, contacted them over a year ago about his company's games in general and not recently specifically regarding the sale of Descenders. They also claimed that even if they stopped selling indie keys, the sellers would just move to other marketplaces, effectively not achieving anything. This, of course, discounts the fact that G2A advertises the games and spends a lot of money on streamers and sponsors to drive their large marketplace to the point that they are the largest in the space by a significant margin.
Rose countered the argument about the number of keys sold by showing that G2A is one of the biggest key sellers, not just resellers, on the market. He states that generally secondary sources such as Humble, GOG, and others add up to at most 10% of sales. During the launch for Descenders, the number of sales for G2A alone hit 5% of total copies sold, with 85% of codes sold on G2A coming from 3 sources, including one of them selling over 100 codes.
This would appear to refute the claim that G2A made that it had no significant influence on Descenders sale, but Rose also provided another answer to that regarding the fact that the advertising and sale at lower prices devalue the games and it limits their business decisions.
Since then Rose has gone into more detail on the dodginess of the Descenders key resellers. It turns out that of the hundreds of copies being sold via G2A, none of them are actually keys, even the ones that claim they are. Instead, purchasers are sent a link to a 3rd party website through which they are eventually given the game via a Steam gift. In Mike Rose's own words these sellers then have "plenty of options regarding how to kill that key and not pay for it", essentially leading to these dodgy sellers making $100,000s of dollars.
What do you think of the G2A indie controversy? Do you agree with Mike Rose? Did you sign his petition? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.