G2A, digital storefront and facilitators of grey market key sales, have announced a series of changes and new features for their marketplace which, they claim, will “make developers full partners”.
This comes in response to a dispute (the latest of many run-ins G2A have had with developers and publishers) with game developers tinyBuild, who accused the company of facilitating a “fraud-fueled economy” after seeing thousands of their stolen keys sold in transactions on G2A’s marketplace. At first, G2A attempted to blame tinyBuild’s key distributors (which was shown to be false), then blamed tinyBuild themselves. No culpability was ever actually admitted on G2A’s part, unless you consider these potential reforms some sort of tacit admission.
Anyway, here’s what they are proposing. It’s unclear whether these features will be available to any and all developers who have a game sold on or through G2A’s marketplace, or whether you have to be a developer in some sort of “partnership” with G2A to begin with (a system alluded to in tinyBuild’s original post). This makes a pretty huge difference, so it’s unfortunate that’s not being made obvious.
Also worth noting that G2A make money on their G2A Pay system, so there’s absolutely nothing altruistic (or indeed new) about this being offered as a “solution”.
- Royalties on Third-party Auctions: Developers may apply a royalty of up to 10 percent for any of their products sold on the G2A marketplace, which provides a way for developers to monetize third-party transactions.
- Priority Placement: Developer-managed auctions will be listed first, above third-party sellers, to provide more visibility and transparency. Developers will also be able to create their own custom storefront featuring all of their products and promotions.
- Chargeback Protection: G2A offers G2A Pay with free integration to developers as a protection on their own websites to mitigate their risk factors (especially beneficial for small developers, beginners and those who feel that their security systems are not sufficient).
- Dedicated Database Access: Developers will have access to our database information to verify sales, volume and timing to track the lifecycle of every key and identify illegal practices.
- Dedicated Account Managers: We’re expanding our dedicated account manager model to support developers and to resolve any question or issue, especially those related to security concerns.
- Developer Funding Option: Many gamers wish to support their favorite developers. For the first time, they will be able to contribute funds directly through an additional button on the developer’s product page.
- Expansive Global Access: Multi-language translation program expands exposure for developers to our 10 million global customers who are eager for new games from Indie developers.
Royalties and database access certainly sound quite promising, but again, it depends what a developer actually has to do to gain access to these features. We’ll be waiting for actual devs to weigh in on this before suggesting it represents any kind of meaningful reform on G2A’s part. This is, after all, a company that claims to want to “support” developers; but whose first action in an investigation into thousands of stolen keys crossing their marketplace is to dodge all responsibility and (falsely) blame third-party distributors.
You won’t see that in their press release, of course. That says “We monitor our marketplace extensively for any possible fraudulent activity. In the small fraction of cases where fraud may be detected, we investigate and ban offending parties from further participation.”
G2A’s new marketplace changes are scheduled to appear from 29 July onwards.