TinyBuild: We lost $450,000 in revenue to grey market key sellers

Punch Club and SpeedRunners studio hits out at site G2A for ‘facilitating a fraud-fueled economy’ by offering Steam codes often obtained deceitfully
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Indie developer TinyBuild has revealed that it lost nearly half a million dollars in sales revenue for its games to key selling website G2A.

Detailing the Punch Club, SpeedRunners and Party Hard creator’s dealings with the grey code marketplace on its blog, TinyBuild’s Alex Nichiporchik posted figures based on numbers released by G2A itself.

According to the stats, 1,251 copies of Punch Club were sold at $8.72 each, 890 units of Party Hard went for $7.95 a piece and 24,517 copies of SpeedRunners shifted for $6.26 separately. The total sales generated just shy of $200,000 for G2A.

Nichiporchik then compared the numbers to the revenue TinyBuild would have earned had the three games been sold at their retail pricing – $9.99, $12.89 and $14.99, respectively. The sum shows that the studio would’ve brought in over twice that earned by G2A: $450,201.

Worse still, Nichiporchik believes that the majority, if not all, of the codes offered for sale on G2A were acquired fraudulently using chargebacks on stolen credit cards – meaning the dev saw no return at all on those sales.

"The shop collapsed when we started to get hit by chargebacks," he recalled. "I’d start seeing thousands of transactions, and our payment provider would shut us down within days. Moments later you’d see G2A being populated by cheap keys of games we had just sold on our shop."

When Nichiporchik contacted G2A to inform the company about the suspected fraud and request compensation, he was told: “No compensation will be given.”

“If you suspect that these codes where all chargebacks aka fraud/stolen credit card purchases I would be happy to look into that however I will say this requires TinyBuild to want to work with G2A,” G2A told him.“Both in that you need to revoke the keys you will be claiming as stolen from the players who now own them and supply myself with the codes you suspect being a part of this. We will check to see if that is the case but I doubt that codes with such large numbers would be that way.”

“Honestly I think you will be surprised in that it is not fraud, but your resale partners doing what they do best, selling keys. They just happen to be selling them on G2A. It is also worth pointing out that we do not take a share of these prices, our part comes from the kickback our payment providers.”

Summarising the whole situation, Nichiporchik lambasted “websites like G2A [for] facilitating a fraud-fueled economy where key resellers are being hit with tons of stolen credit card transactions”.

"G2A claims that our distribution partners are scamming us and simply selling keys on G2A,” he concluded. “They won't help us unless we are willing to work with them. We are not going to get compensated, and they expect us to undercut our own retail partners (and Steam) to compete with the unauthorised resellers.

“There's no real way to know which keys leaked or not, and deactivating full batches of game keys would make a ton of fans angry, be it keys bought from official sellers or not.

“Make your own conclusions.”

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