Alex Nichiporchik, the CEO of developer tinyBuild, has recently published his findings from an investigation into global digital gaming marketplace G2A. The virtual resale store sold nearly $450K worth of tinyBuild’s games, and the developer did not get any sort of cut for those profits.
G2A allows players to sell keys to games that they don’t want or already own — usually keys that are retrieved from buying gaming bundles. The web store takes a small cut of the profits, but the rest goes to the individual seller.
TinyBuild, who frequently put their games in bundles, were aware that G2A was reselling their games, but were unaware of the extent of the profits being made from those sales. Nearly half a million dollars is a lot of money to lose to a reseller.
Alex Nichiporchik was curious and started an investigation about the impact G2A was having on his business. His investigation led him to discover that G2A has sold over 26,000 keys for tinyBuild games Party Harder, SpeedRunners, and Punch Party. Those keys come up to $450K in lost sales. The math that tinyBuild did to get to this total can be seen in the picture below.
Alex didn’t stop his research there. He wondered about where these gaming keys were coming from and how can publishers get compensation for that. He then emailed the company about his concerns.
G2A responded with a statement saying that due to the keys coming from tinyBuild’s resale partners, no compensation will be given. They also stated that if he was interested in discovering the origin of the keys, it “requires tinyBuild to want to work with G2A.” The gaming marketplace even went on to say that tinyBuild’s distribution partners are scamming them and are simply selling the keys on their website. However Alex later confirmed that Humble Store, BundleStars, IndieGameStand, and IndieGala do not resell their keys.
The global gaming marketplace has issued a statement about tinyBuild’s findings:
“At G2A we believe in being innocent until proven guilty, meaning we believe that all of our 200k merchants are legit until proven otherwise. We support merchants and assume they operate within the law. Of course, unfair “players” appear in any business, which unfortunately includes our system. Nonetheless, G2A does not hold any liability for vulnerabilities in someone’s billing system. We are sorry that tinyBuild’s shop was attacked and that it impacted their negotiations with G2A. We hope to restore a good relationship, because our door is always open for cooperation.”
In other words, they won’t be doing much to solve the problem at hand.
Most people are suggesting that tinyBuild should revoke the stolen keys by disabling the copies attached to them. However, there isn’t a way to track the leaked keys — and if tinyBuild were to disable an entire batch, it would leave fans upset. Those who had actually paid for their games would be deactivated and they wouldn’t be able to play anymore.
Hopefully another solution will present itself in the following weeks.