Beleaguered key seller G2A yesterday tried to rebuild some of the burnt bridges between itself and developers with a panel session at Reboot Develop – and it's fair to say that it didn't go all that well.
G2A was most recently in the headlines after Gearbox first partnered and then very publicly unpartnered with them for the launch of the Bulletstorm remaster. But G2A's colourful exploits go back must further and include fallings out with TinyBuild, Ubisoft and Riot. A persistent charm offensive from G2A has done very little to help.
In a talk called ‘G2A Unplugged', G2A rep Marius Mirek attempted to explain the retailer's business model and alleviate the audience's concerns.
When asked by host Dan Pearson about its status as a ‘grey market reseller', Mirek immediately pushed back, as reported by Polygon.
I know we're called a grey marketplace but as our team sees it there's nothing really grey about it, beyond people not understanding our business model,” he said, before turning to the largely development-based audience and adding: We've noticed really quickly that gamers want to access your games. They don't have $60 or $70 to acquire the game that they want.
Codes that are available on G2A, they come from various places. Either from sales or bundles or from people who have acquired keys at some point and they just want to sell it and buy the game they want.”
As anyone who was following the fallout on Twitter will know, this did not go down well:
G2A "doesn't see itself as a gray market". pic.twitter.com/SmkmnP9bm6— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) April 20, 2017
At one point UK developer Mike Bithell took to the mic and let rip, as captured by Eurogamer:
There was also a reaction of incredulity when Mirek tried to justify G2A's business by explaining that 40 per cent of its workforce is female – like that has anything to do with it.
G2A has responded via a statement to Eurogamer and essentially argued that this entire fiasco is nothing but a personal attack against the company.
"Grey market, despite the Wiki definition, works as a negative label and people who throw this name against us just want to damage our business – we cannot agree to that,” it said. Resale of keys is perfectly legal, it brings a lot of benefits to the gamers community as it introduces competition and prevents raising prices to unreasonable levels.
"Those who want to stop it act against free market and property rights that are essential to modern economy. If something is to be called grey or shady, these are the practices of making 'suggestions' aimed at hurting legally operating marketplace. If you call G2A grey, try doing the same with respect to eBay, Amazon and basically all the marketplaces – it is obvious that today we are simply a part of normal, legal market.”