After a number of independent developers publicly requested players to pirate their games rather than buy them through key reseller marketplace G2A and called for the site to stop selling indie games, G2A’s efforts to bolster its public image backfired when people approached by the company to run undisclosed sponsored posts went public.
In an email to prospective partners, G2A said: “We are trying to improve our brand awareness and public image, especially among the indie and smaller developers. Unfortunately, the majority of public [sic] does not understand either our business model or how we try to make sure our customers can safely purchase digital products”.
— Thomas Faust (@SomeIndieGames) July 8, 2019
The email goes on to explain that G2A had prepared an “unbiased” article called “selling stolen keys on gaming marketplaces is pretty much impossible”. But while it describes the article as being “a transparent and just review of the problem of stolen key reselling”, it then went on to ask the recipient to post the article on their website without a disclaimer that the article was sponsored, contrary to FTC and ASA guidelines.
The official G2A Twitter account has since tried to distance itself from the email, stating the correspondence was “absolutely unacceptable” and sent out “without authorisation”, further promising the colleague concerned would face “strict consequences”.
These e-mails were sent by our employee without authorization, for which we apologize to @SomeIndieGames and the 9 (!) other media outlets he sent this proposal to. He will face strict consequences, as this is absolutely unacceptable.
— G2A.COM (@G2A_com) July 8, 2019
In response to the backlash from indie developers, G2A said it “will pay developers 10 times the money they lost on chargebacks after their illegally obtained keys were sold on G2A” if the developers “prove such a thing actually happened on their stores”. It also wrote a lengthy justification for its business practices, stating: “it’s a good thing that people can re-sell keys and, with or without G2A, they will continue to do so”.