G2A apparently screwed the pooch with Gearbox and the publisher is currently in the process of exiting their partnership with the distributor after failing to execute terms of their agreement over the release of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. Last year the company were accused of key fraud by tinyBuild of having re-sellers using stolen credit cards to buy multiple game keys, which were sold on G2A for a profit, and accused G2A of creating “a black market economy” for Steam keys. G2A made attempts starting in July 2016 to curb the problem and give publishers better access to their site’s info that included sales and a better percentage. But many remained skeptical as it didn’t eliminate the root of the problem, which with the current pay structure, still doesn’t fix the lingering problems that tinyBuild originally addressed. In fact, in a reddit AMA with G2A, one user showed how easy it was to bypass the new systems, which G2A didn’t like and also didn’t fix.
Gearbox had apparently come to some kind of agreement with G2A that it would clean up this issue before giving the company copies of special editions to sell on their site, but according to Gearbox, the company made no movement in changing the status quo. Now facing the same issue with Bulletstorm, Gearbox’s head of publishing Steve Gibson went online to issue a statement about the situation and made it clear that a list of demands were sent to G2A for them to follow through on.
“Gearbox Publishing will be doing their part to not directly support a marketplace that did not make the new public commitment to protecting customers and developers requested by Gearbox Publishing,” said Gibson. “We do not control G2A’s marketplace or where they may obtain keys from parties outside of Gearbox Publishing, but we can confirm that today we have begun executing on our extraction process.”
Waypoint posted a list of the demands that Gearbox is demanding G2A adhere to.
- Within 30 days: G2A Shield (aka, customer fraud protection) is made free instead of a separate paid subscription service within terms offered by other major marketplaces. All customers who spend money deserve fraud protection from a storefront. To that end, all existing G2A Shield customers are notified by April 14th that fraud protection services are now free and they will no longer be charged for this.
- Within 90 days: G2A will open up a web service or API to certified developers and publishers to search for and flag for immediate removal, keys that are fraudulent. This access will be free of charge and will not require payment by the content holders.
- G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 60 days implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers at the title, user-id, and account payable levels for a fraud flagging process. This is to protect content providers from having large quantities of stolen goods flipped on G2A before they can be flagged
- G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 30 days, G2A restructures its payment system so that customers who wish to buy and sell legitimate keys are given a clear, simple fee-structure that is easy to understand and contains no hidden or obfuscated charges. Join the ranks of other major marketplaces.
G2A has yet to respond to this, beyond a statement made by John “TotalBiscuit” Bain on Twitter refusing to work with Gearbox in the future. The way things are going, it appears G2A will eventually lose Gearbox, but what happens to all the assets currently in play is anyone’s guess. Regardless of how you may personally feel about G2A, the marketplace is still in a bit of chaos following the original allegations, and several Twitch streamers who once had G2A as an advertiser or promoted their company have since removed them from their content. How everything will unfold over the next month will be interesting to watch as it could set a tone for future publishers to back out of deals with the distributor.
Pulling coverage plans for it and future Gearbox titles. No support for crooks.
— John Bain (@Totalbiscuit) April 5, 2017