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Controversial Key Seller G2A Hits Back at Gearbox, TotalBiscuit Claims

As expected, G2A didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing on its service, and argued it's largely already doing what was asked.

Even though Gearbox has ended its relationship with controversial key reseller G2A, I'd been told G2A would have a public response after the weekend—and this morning, it showed up. In a lengthy statement, G2A largely avoided criticizing Gearbox, instead suggesting the service improvement requests Gearbox developed with YouTube creator John "TotalBiscuit" Bain were "based on both a lack of knowledge, and a lack of desire to learn the other side of the story."

(If you aren't caught up on this, read my previous articles.)

"Some developers," said the company, "and a few influential YouTubers (with John Bain at the forefront) would like to spread an image of G2A.COM as a place which exists from being an intermediary in selling illegally acquired keys. This depiction is far removed from reality."

G2A said the back-and-forth "saddens us," but claimed it welcomed an opportunity to talk further about its service. Over the course of multiple pages, G2A attempted to individually respond to Gearbox and Bain's requests. The short version of their response: the requests are largely part of G2A already.

1) Gearbox asked that G2A's "Shield" service, which it says is for "guaranteed and safe online transactions," become free. (It's otherwise roughly $2.61 per month.) G2A's website pushes G2A Shield as a security measure, but it mostly seems to get you 10% cashback and shorter lines in customer service queues. G2A said its service already provides what Gearbox desired, and it had won't make G2A Shield free. (For kicks, read how much of a pain in the ass it is to cancel G2A Shield.)

In other words, no.

2) Gearbox requested a free "web service or API" so developers can search G2A's database for fraudulent keys. G2A argues some developers are opposed to G2A selling keys period, and wish that players didn't have the right to re-sell them. (In my reporting on G2A, no developer critical of the company told me this. Several suggested people should pirate the game, rather than purchase it from G2A.) G2A said it will take down fraudulent keys if a developer provides ample evidence. Alternatively, they can sign up for G2A's "Direct" program, where G2A signs contracts with developers that provide them access to G2A's database.

In other words, no—unless you sign a contract.

3) Gearbox wanted G2A to implement a throttling service for "non-certified" (aka not official) sellers pushing mass quantities of keys on their service. The hope would be that fraudulent keys could be discovered before they're flipped on G2A. (Flipping a key via fraud can take a matter of minutes, but a developer putting it all together can take much longer.) G2A's response to this is mixed up in the second request, but the answer is roughly the same.

In other words, no—unless you sign a contract.

4) Gearbox petitioned G2A to "restructure its payment system" to be clear about what people are buying, and whether it could potentially be a fraudulent key. Additionally, G2A should ensure there are "no hidden or obfuscated charges." This criticism stems from arguments that G2A's interface is deliberately designed to trick you into signing up for G2A Shield, which is a monthly subscription. (A Google search for "G2A shield" mostly brings up people wondering how they signed up for it in the first place.) G2A pointed to its "13 million clients" as evidence it runs a transparent business, and "all fees and rates are clearly" labeled.

"This, of course, does not mean that we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and call it day," said the company. "We are constantly working on bettering the marketplace and regularly make improvements. In fact, some improvements are currently in the final stages of testing and will soon go live."

It did not detail what those "improvements" are.

In other words, no.

This whole thing feels gross, to be honest. Gearbox didn't do its research about G2A, and when pressed with a swirl of bad press about it, they set up a series of demands for G2A that the company was unlikely to seriously consider. This made Gearbox look good after making a poor decision, and just so happened to provide loads of press coverage around the Bulletstorm remaster. (For the record, I do not think Gearbox manufactured this, it's just the way it worked out.) G2A, well-versed in dealing with public scrutiny, gets an opportunity to talk about its service to people who might not have heard of it before. Previous scrutiny hasn't done much to change G2A's approach. More free marketing.

At least Bulletstorm is a pretty good game?

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