G2A says it will develop a new ‘key-blocking’ tool if indies are prepared to use it

In response to a petition pushing for G2A to stop selling independent games through its site, G2A has detailed a new system that enables developers to block keys they don’t want to be sold on its marketplace. After verifying the authenticity of the developer’s identity, they will then be able to block keys it does not wish to permit G2A to sell by tagging them as either “review” or “giveaway” codes. 

Interestingly, if a user tries to sell more than three keys tagged by devs as problematic, G2A says it will tell the user that its system will not permit their sale.

G2A insists these only “represent a very small fraction of all the keys sold on the marketplace” but admits they “may still be a real problem for the devs”, especially as G2A often undercuts the price of the game on the developer’s own stores, with some thought to have been obtained fraudulently. It’s also thought keys won via giveaways may use “unethical” bots to “win” them.

Before it commences development of the key-blocking system, however, G2A wants to be sure indies will use it. Citing the project as being “time-consuming and expensive”, the company has asked for developers to register their interest. If the project receives 100 signatories between now and August 15th, it will go ahead with the development of the new system.

“We are aware that this proposal doesn’t solve all the issues,” the company said in a statement. “Many developers would like to permanently remove their games from the free market. While we understand their point of view, it’s not a black or white situation. 

“Both sides have valid points and should respect each other’s arguments. G2A, like any other marketplace in the world, is to assure that independent sellers can offer the products they own for others to buy. This results in lower prices on games, electronics, gadgets and everything else gamers need. And this is what we’re all about.”

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.

The email explained 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”.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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