There's never a time in the game industry that isn't chock full on controversy. And this time, a well respected developer - and publisher - has stirred it themselves, then gotten involved in slamming the problematic side with an ultimatum.
We're talking about G2A here - the ever-infamous reseller that went on to spawn countless other similar stores through the online game key comparison site Kinguin - and their recent partnership with Gearbox Software and Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition.
The group has been bombarded with hate over the last few years over their questionable policies and lack of security offered to developers who suspect the site - which allows anyone to sell their game keys - is actively selling fraudulent copies or stolen licenses. And it seems Gearbox have only just heard about the sour taste G2A leaves in the mouths of many.
Suddenly announcing plans to offer a Special Edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition solely through G2A, fans understandably questioned the bizarre marketing decision with massively popular PC game critic John 'Totalbiscuit' Bain tweeting of his plans to pull support of Gearbox coverage in light of the shady partnership. Hearing the cries of the people, Gearbox then issued G2A with an ultimatum threatening to walk out on the deal unless the company changes its ways. The terms of the proposed agreement are as follows;
- Within 30 days, G2A Shield (aka, customer fraud protection) is made free
- Within 90 days, G2A will open up a web service or API to certified developers and publishers to search for and flag for immediate removal, keys that are fraudulent
- Within 60 days implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers at the title, userid, and account payable levels for a fraud flagging process.
- Within 30 days, G2A restructures its payment system so that customers who wish to buy and sell legitimate keys are given a clear, simple fee-structure that is easy to understand and contains no hidden or obfuscated charges.
There's nothing really outlandish about the wants and concerns here - other than a rather strict deadline on a few of the systems Gearbox wants implemented. The strange thing about this whole ordeal is how Gearbox seems to be out of touch with the rest of the gaming world. How did they come to a decision to enter an exclusive partnership with G2A without catching wind of how its perceived by most other developers?
It's not like G2A's AMA really cleared the air in the end. It just made their shady business practices and lies make more headlines.