Video game key reselling is a vast market and a major pain point for games studios. Small video game development studios are now urging users to pirate games instead of purchasing them from key resellers. Developers say that the sale of keys, which are ultimately sold for a high amount in illegal markets, cost them more than they earn.
One such developer named Mike Rose from No More Robots, a Manchester-based gaming studio is running a petition on change.org. In his petition, he called out G2A, a popular online marketplace for key resellers, to stop selling indie titles on their platform.
Key reselling is not a new issue in the video game industry, but the petition is a result of G2A’s aggressive promotion of “discounted unlock codes” deals on social media platforms owing to its fifth anniversary.
G2A has defended the petition by saying that it does not sell the keys itself but is a marketplace similar to eBay where third-party sellers put it up on sale.
The marketplace says that indies benefit from their policies under which the developers get a cut of their share from the sales made by third-parties.
Speaking to the BBC, G2A’s head of communication said, “Hundreds of developers earn money from selling their keys through marketplaces such as G2A.”
He added that the marketplace has strict policies in place to combat the illegal sale of keys.
Mike Rose isn’t the only developer who has favored gamers pirating their games instead of purchasing them from key resellers.
Several other developers have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to support the petition.
If you don't want to buy it full price, please pirate Nightmare Reaper when it comes out instead of getting in on G2A.
— ItBurn (@ItBurn_) July 5, 2019
I am a developer and I have no problems with pirates because nobody is losing money or time. I have a problem with key resellers because they cost me time while they earn money for something I made with my time.
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) July 1, 2019
Please do not buy Another Star from a third party reseller. Those are stolen codes I don't see a penny from them. At least have the dignity to pirate the game instead if you're going to short change me.
— Overworld Ash (@OverworldTheme) July 6, 2019
In my brief time handling such things I found the pirates converted to sales more often than any money made their way down from resellers.
Piracy is literally better for the bottom line. Not that we want to know when you do it.
— Jon Tetrino (@JonTetrino) June 30, 2019
The reason why users prefer buying keys from such marketplaces instead of directly purchasing them from official video game sites or other sites like Steam — is the steep difference in the price of titles.
Mr. Rose complains that dealers who sell the keys cancel their credit card after making a purchase and by the time Steam gets to know about it, gamers have already played out the title.
When a dealer cancels the credit card used for purchasing a title, the sale is considered void by Steam and as a result, the developer does not get his cut.
As per Mr. Rose, “I’m seeing my sales happening – and then at the end of the month 30% of them are disappearing. I would rather people pirate the game.”
As a gamer, do you support this petition? What are your views about it?