A dead colonist with the word "LIAR" daubed across his chest in Frostpunk 2

[Updated] Frostpunk 2 Dev Calls Kinguin "Crook" For Misleading Preorder Page

August 19, 2021

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

Frostpunk 2 developer 11 bit studios has taken to social media to call out gray market key reseller Kinguin. In a sweary social media post, the developer called Kinguin a "crook" for selling Frostpunk 2 preorders using a misleading information page.

Why is the Frostpunk 2 studio mad at Kinguin?

Making an announcement via Twitter, 11 bit pointed out that it's currently possible to purchase a Frostpunk 2 preorder via Kinguin. Since Kinguin often lists keys from other resellers, 11 bit called the lister a "shitty scammer" and described Kinguin as a "crook" for selling the preorder. Perhaps unbeknownst to 11 bit, the lister is G2Play, another reseller that merged with Kinguin last year. In essence, this means Kinguin is directly listing Frostpunk 2 keys for preorder, giving the game an 18 rating despite there being no release date and no official age rating for it yet.

 

This is far from the only game available for preorder on Kinguin despite little information being available for it. Remarkably, Kinguin has a preorder page live for Grand Theft Auto VI, despite that game not existing (to the best of our knowledge, anyway). You can also find preorder pages for upcoming Bethesda space RPG Starfield, as well as From Software's Elden Ring, Obsidian's The Outer Worlds 2, and Asobo Studio's A Plague Tale: Requiem. Several of these titles are accompanied by age ratings, all of which are fake; the ratings process usually happens close to release, and only one of the listed titles (Elden Ring) actually has a release date.


Update August 19th: Kinguin has released an official statement about the 11bit Studios comments:

 
 

“We know there is much excitement surrounding the upcoming release of Frostpunk 2 and want to connect fans with merchants who are offering the key. We apologise for the inclusion of unconfirmed information that appeared in the listing on Kinguin.net in regard to Frostpunk 2. We have since removed this and made it clear to anyone visiting our site that the game is available for preorder only.” - Brandon Doerfler, acting CEO and CFO at Kinguin

They then elaborated on discussing they are a 'marketplace', and that they spend a lot of time and money to have merchants follow 'best practices'. Nothing in their statement addressed the fact that the only lister is G2Play, who as noted above, is owned by Kinguin. We have inquired about this.

While the rating for Frostpunk 2 was taken down it wasn't for games like Elden Ring, and The Outer Worlds 2 which still have ratings posted despite the fact that they have never been rated. Additionally, Grand Theft Auto VI, which hasn't been announced, is still posted on the site, with a rating. We have asked about this further, following up on previous questions.

 
 

Update August 20th: 11 bit studios responded to our request for comment and elaborated a little on its relationship with gray market sellers. While 11 bit did acknowledge that gray market platforms can sell products legitimately, the studio also said sites like Kinguin often sell "non-existent pre-order keys...frauds like keys obtained via stolen cards or other sources". 11 bit says it hasn't sought or received a rating for Frostpunk 2 yet and that it has never worked with and will never work with Kinguin officially.

In regards to whether 11 bit has ever sold keys via G2A or Kinguin, as well as the studio's official retail partners, business development lead Piotr Bajraszewski had this to say:

 We really do everything we can to make our game as accessible as possible. We sell the first Frostpunk on PC on all platforms so Steam, GOG.com, EGS (Epic Games Store). On top of that we work with more than 20 key distributors like Humble Store, Fanatical, Gamersgate or even with smaller local distributors like Nuuvem, Sonkwo or Muve.pl. But never G2A or Kinguin. Moreover, Frostpunk 2 can not be preordered now. It can only be added to wishlist on Steam, GOG.com and Epic Games Store.

Original story continues below


Some ice-covered machinery in Frostpunk 2
Frostpunk 2 was only announced last week, but gray market retailer Kinguin has already listed it for preorder.

What exactly is Kinguin, and what's a gray market reseller?

Kinguin can essentially be described as a "key reseller". Unlike authorized platforms like Steam, as well as digital storefronts like Gamesplanet or Fanatical, Kinguin - as well as other "gray market" sellers - usually doesn't sell keys directly acquired from the publisher. Instead, it's a marketplace where users can sell keys on a third-party basis, although Kinguin does list keys itself (as seen through the Frostpunk 2 listing, which was created by Kinguin subsidiary G2Play). Sometimes, these keys have been acquired through dubious means; they may, for example, be repurposed review keys, or they could be stolen, or use credit card chargebacks. Another major gray market seller you might have heard of is G2A, which has been the subject of controversy over the years.

 
 

How do you feel about gray market sellers like Kinguin? Let us know in the comments below!