Green Man Gaming forced to defend itself against grey market key claims

Ben Parfitt
Green Man Gaming forced to defend itself against grey market key claims

Retailer Green Man Gaming has questioned the motivations of a Reddit games deals thread after it made a string of what it believes are unfounded accusations.

Chief among them is the claim that GMG is selling illicitly sourced digital games keys from outside the official channels. The retailer, however, points out that stock obtained from non-official distributors is not dodgy by default.

It all stems from a kerfuffle in May of this year when CD Projekt asked gamers not to buy their Witcher 3 codes from GMG as the retailer was not an official retail partner. GMG at the time said that, yes, it had been forced to obtain its keys from a third party, but only because CD Projekt was cutting retail partners out of the loop so it could sell the title through its own service, GOG.

Now Reddit moderators have said their concerns are more wide-reaching.

It has come to our attention that GreenManGaming's library of unauthorised game sales has expanded, or this library has just now come to light,” it said. We observed the sales on Activision's Black Ops 3, and we noticed that their customers received mixed results. Some customers received a ROW [rest of world, not region specific] copy of Black Ops 3. Others received ROW+Nuketown (pre-order DLC). And others received invalid keys. This is often the result of buying unauthorized keys.

Stores will often obtain the keys through different sources to meet the number of sales, but can't assure the customers are getting the same product, or if it's even valid. (There was a large number of invalid keys for The Witcher 3 as well.)

Because of this we have decided to once again ban GreenManGaming from /r/GameDeals indefinitely. We contacted the GMG rep to try and discuss this matter, but we have not heard anything back or even been acknowledged.”

In reply, GMG Paul Sulyok told GameSpot in a statement that it has tired of being asked to divulge the details of its retail partnerships, and that fundamentally ‘grey' or non-official stock is not problematic.

Over the past year, we have been repeatedly asked to supply sensitive information regarding contracts between us and publishers, which for legal reason we simply cannot share, nor should we be expected to,” he said.

We believe that other retailers featured on Reddit Game Deals have not been afforded the same level of scrutiny and investigation that we have endured, and that ultimately, customers will be missing out on information and deals. We find the research carried out by the Reddit Game Deal mods has been subjective or inaccurate.

We know they share the same aims as we do; to offer customers great value on great games, so it brings us no pleasure to publicly state – they are wrong. We have withdrawn from Reddit Game Deals as we no longer have the time and resources to keep offering proof and statements to their persistent group of moderators.

We reiterate that we source our keys from a range of over 400 publishers, developers, and distributors to meet customer's demands on a title by title basis. Let's be clear here; there is a difference between being an authorised retailer for some titles, and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorised third parties with revenue going back to the publisher. If a key unlocks, it is an authentic key.

This isn't a perfect science as human error can affect the supply chain. Where possible, we work directly with publishers and distributors to make sure customers have the very best experience with us.”

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