On Aug. 12, Subnautica and Natural Selection 2 developer Charlie Cleveland’s alleged that G2A owes 10 times the $30,000 it spent on chargebacks. G2A offered a reply today via its blog, saying that it clearly doesn’t owe anything as the site didn’t exist during the time the chargebacks occurred. Cleveland fired back, saying the site existed at that time as go2arena. However, due to the evidence brought by G2A, Cleveland has retracted the claim — but he still doesn’t like G2A.
“It does appear that G2A is right,” Cleveland told Kotaku earlier today. “They weren’t the source of these original $30k keys. It doesn’t LOOK like they were selling gray-market keys at the time we had all those chargebacks. But they’ve been doing it ever since.”
In early July, G2A proposed that it would pay developers 10 times the amount of lost revenue due to chargebacks. Cleveland alleged that his studio Unknown Worlds had paid $30,000 in chargebacks in 2013 for the game Natural Selection 2. He took to Twitter, demanding what he felt was owed.
— Charlie Cleveland (@Flayra) August 12, 2019
When slinging mud, everyone gets dirt in their eye
G2A’s response to Cleveland’s allegations appeared on its blog today. It was claimed on the blog that G2A didn’t exist in 2013. However, a PR Newswire report on the company’s history, setting its founding date in 2010. Additionally, even the go2arena link redirects to G2A’s website. The cloak-and-dagger approach to disputing the claim is certainly shady. However, searching through internet archives does show that the site was a regular store front. It doesn’t appear that it dealt in grey market keys, which G2A does today as a game reseller.
“Selling keys on a marketplace which was yet to come into existence seems unreasonable at best,” G2A wrote on its blog. “Launched in 2014, G2A Marketplace was celebrating its 5th birthday this year. The said keys were allegedly stolen and sold before March 8, 2013 – 6 years ago. Charlie wrote: ‘We paid $30,000 to deal with credit card chargebacks because of G2A.’ That’s just slander, and we expect him [Cleveland] to at least edit his posts, if not straight up apologize.”
However, if Charlie Cleveland would like us to hire a professional auditing company to check if the keys from before 2014 appeared on a non-existing marketplace, we encourage him to contact the G2A Direct team, as per the initial offer.”
At an impasse
Despite retracting his claims, Cleveland still isn’t happy with G2A’s business practice, and he’s not alone. Selling grey market keys has been a hot debate topic for some time, as developers have reported losing money on chargebacks. G2A has been a thorn in the side of many developers, including Factorio maker Wube Software. In mid-July, Wube reported that it had lost $6,600 from chargebacks. Several indie developers have also spoken out, saying that it would be better for people to pirate their games in lieu of buying a key from a reseller.
G2A proposed in July that it would create a key-blocking tool that could prevent key scamming. The company, however, will only develop it if 100 developers signed up for the software. So far, the numbers are not encouraging — only 19 have signed up for it so far. The initial deadline for the proposal was deemed for today, Aug. 15. But with the lack of support, G2A extended the deadline to the end of the month.
Things seem to be simmering down in this kerfuffle — at least for now. But the saga will likely continue, as neither G2A nor developers seem to be backing away from the fight.