Every avid gamer is always on the lookout for buying new game keys for a low price. There is nothing more amazing than getting the game you’ve waited for so long, without spending too much money.
One of the more popular places for purchasing game keys is G2A. The site became so popular that its founder, Dawid Rozek, was included in the Forbes’ annual “30 under 30” list. The popularity and fanfare are certainly there, but what about security?
Gamers are always skeptical and dither when they have to trust an unknown website with their money. G2A is no exception. Much of the site’s traffic comes from very reasonable prices, but is their business method illegal and illegitimate?
Many new gamers have wondered “Is buying from G2A safe and legit?” To answer that question, we’ve prepared a full breakdown of the sites features, methods and more. Let’s take a look at how does one of the most popular websites on the planet function.
Who owns G2A?
G2A was founded in 2010, by Dawid Rożek and Bartosz Skwarczek, who are still the owners of the brand. Their aim was to satisfy the needs of young gamers all over the world. When they were growing up in Poland, they saw a lot of kids wanting to play games but were unable to due to high prices.
They felt something had to be done, so they started GO2ARENA (the company’s original name). The initial idea was to sign contracts with big name publishers, but there was a significant lack of interest in such an unknown company.
Instead, the two entrepreneurs decided to switch from retail to marketplace. The company currently has over 700 employees in several offices in Poland, China, Holland and more. Aside from the marketplace, G2A is actively involved in eSports, where they sponsor teams such as Virtus Pro and Natus Vincere. It is estimated that they have invested more than $10 million in sponsorships already.
How does G2A function?
Think of the website as gaming version of eBay and Amazon. Therefore, it’s safe to say that G2A is a marketplace for all sellers interested in providing customers with digital goods. While this part is relatively clear, gamers often ask “how it’s work?” when encountering this method of sale. So, what’s the catch?
G2A is actually not the source of the project. Instead, the whole site and enterprise are marketed as a platform for facilitating sales. Any person, company or group of people can register on G2A and pass a series of verifications to be registered as a retailer. G2A mainly earns money due to payment processing fees and other services.
The bottom line is – you don’t buy keys directly from the producers/developers of a game. Instead, you purchase verified game keys through a mediator. While there are millions of satisfied customers, this method of business has caused some derogatory terms to be thrown around.
Is G2A is a grey market?
Let’s take a look at what grey market really means. “…A trade of goods and services that is technically legal, but is conducted through channels that weren’t originally intended by the manufacturer, trademark owner or other involved party.” Therefore, G2A is technically a grey market. Even though the term sounds pejorative, it also applies to popular websites like eBay or Luxury Bazaar.
Every site that isn’t owned or run by the creator/manufacturer of the product is considered a grey market. While there are some security and quality concerns, hundreds of millions of people purchase products from grey market sites. They provide commodities and lower prices, which makes them a competitive rival to the brands’ actual sites. It’s organized resale, if you will.
Is G2A Legal?
Yes, the business method of G2A is completely legal. According to both US and international law, a game developer cannot forbid or control the resale activities of their products. Grey market websites like G2A usually have contracts with sellers that buy key in bulk, from the developer directly. Basically, everything is legal. Even though there are no legal issues, gamers still actively ask “Is buying from G2A safe and legit?”
The bottom line is that G2A is cleverly using a loophole based on laws and differences between prices in various regional markets. A key that was originally bought legally can be distributed an infinite amount of times before being actually used. In cases of illegally obtained keys, engines such as Origin and Steam have deals with developers to automatically revoke or disable the said key.
Is G2A Legit?
Yes, G2A most certainly is legit. There are more than 16 million users registered on the website. In addition to the users, there are over 400.000 different sellers offering their digital products. Gamers and industry experts have praised the diversity of sellers and products on the website. With various sellers, you can save even more money by searching for special deals, offers and bundles.
Gamers around the world purchase keys from the site daily and play the games without any problems. However, there are still negative experiences that you can read about online. People have reported receiving faulty keys or experienced situation where their key just stops being valid all of a sudden.
Why Are Game Keys on G2A So Cheap?
With the advantage of low prices, G2A has caused many experts to ask – is buying from G2A safe and legit? Even though the prices might seem a little too good to be true, there is nothing fraudulent in looking for the best prices. In fact, there is a perfectly logical explanation for the difference in prices between direct sellers and grey market websites like G2A.
Sellers usually contact the developers in a select regional market. It’s usually areas such as India, Africa or Southeast Asia, where the games cost significantly less than in western markets. Not only are the keys individually cheaper (to cater to regions where people have less disposable income), but they are bought at a bargain price in bulk quantities.
Although developers don’t approve of this method of circumvention, they are legally unable to do anything. Regional representatives in different market still fall under the same company name, even though they lose significant money. Forbidding resale is virtually impossible, as it would jeopardize the basic rights of every consumer. If the acquirement is legal and the game key is used like it’s supposed to, there is nothing any developer can do.
While the prices are very reasonable and sometimes surprising, it’s still a site that requires you to share personal information and conduct transactions. There are always some risks involved.
What Are the Risks of Buying G2A Games?
When there are holiday sales, sellers on G2A invest money in buying game keys through bulk deals and re-sell them to customers. This is a clever way to earn extra money and give every gamer a chance to play a game of his choice without financial crippling. Even though G2A has implemented measures to keep their customers safe (more on that later), there are still risks involved.
Like we’ve said, G2A is a mediator and a platform for transactions of digital products. As a mediator, G2A can only do so much to verify the validity of products that appear on their website. One of the only risks is unknowingly purchasing game keys that were acquired illegally. Credit card frauds are at an all-time high in the entire world, meaning that any key may have been bought with an illegal credit card.
Can I get in trouble if I purchase a stolen key?
No, you can’t. There is no possibility for you to know the origin of game keys on G2A. Therefore, no developer or publisher has the legal right to prosecute you for that. G2A is also safe from legal repercussions for the most part. While their game key investigations are thorough, it’s impossible not to miss a seller that’s selling stolen keys.
What can happen is that the key gets revoked the moment you purchase or use it. It’s illegal to use stolen goods and the developers have the right to block the key so that it can’t be used.
What is G2A doing to keep their customers safe?
G2A has endured a fair amount of criticism from both gamers and developers, especially in the first few years of the site’s existence. One of the most alarming problems was the fact that G2A allowed sellers to be anonymous. Their explanations was that “anyone should be allowed to sell products in a legal manner, without invading the seller’s privacy.” This particular approach resulted in illegally acquired keys becoming more and more abundant. G2A has a clear security problem, which led to a declining reputation.
However, they responded with some very interesting and effective measures. The first step involved discontinuing their anonymity policy. Instead, sellers today have to provide the sight with their phone, social media accounts and functional email addresses. This move led to a significant decrease in the number of unresponsive or revoked keys on the websites.
Next, G2A adopted seller profiles, just like eBay has had for some time. With this feature, you can easily access the seller’s history and the reviews of the said seller. The moment you enter a profile, you can see the average rating and read the comments by other users. A welcome addition, this method of verification allows you to see if the seller is doing something “fishy.”
As effective as this solution is, many industry experts have stated that it’s very easy for anyone to create fake accounts and spam positive reviews. Is this method of protection perfect? Certainly not. Is it better than the previous “anonymity policy”? Indubitably, yes.
In addition to in-site features, G2A have launched their own protection service – G2A Shield. It has been the subject of a lot of controversy, and a lot of it is completely justified.
What is G2A Shield?
G2A Shield is a special subscription program catered to regular customers of the site. Although it’s theoretically a good move in terms of security, it ended up being a disaster. The project was being announced for a long time, as the site wanted to add yet another security layer to protect their customer. So, what is the problem with this subscription service?
At first glance, it seems like a good deal. The benefits mentioned on G2A.com include “a guarantee that all purchases will be satisfactory,” “24/7 chat support with faster email response times” and “cash back for a number of purchases.” It all goes downhill from there. Many users viciously slammed the effort for prioritizing customers who pay extra over those who don’t.
“While in theory it is a good idea, G2A Shield is a big mess. In 2019, it sounds weird that people who pay more get better customer support”, said one of our industry contacts. “Isn’t a site or company supposed to provide equal service to everyone?
If you have to PAY to have customer support 24/7 (which is the norm in every industry and niche) and get people to respond to your emails, what are you even doing? It’s a blatant scheme if you ask me.”
It just gets worse when you look at the pricing. G2A shield costs €1 per month and €3 per game. While the numbers might seem low, it’s just a trick to pay for the monthly subscription and buy more games. In reality, G2A shield doesn’t guarantee that you will get functional CD keys. They don’t guarantee cash back for fraudulent keys, nor do they protect you from scammers. This led to many gamers to ask “Is buying from G2A safe and legit?”
Do we need a G2A shield to buy games from the G2A?
With this security feature, is buying from G2A safe and legit? Absolutely not. There are several reasons why you should avoid this subscription service at all costs. Firstly, as we’ve already mentioned, the whole idea is for users to pay money to get proper customers service. Even the smallest startups and most unknown developers offer 24/7 chat support. It’s a norm in the industry and it’s not even worth paying a single cent for something that every customer deserves.
The next reason is perhaps the worst case of conversion rate manipulation we’ve ever seen.
Every customer should have the right to cancel their contract or subscription at any time, right? Absolutely. Yet, G2A Shield makes what should be a regular cancellation a living hell. It takes a whopping 11 pages of begging, offering and manipulating for you to cancel the service. The whole process takes a little less than half an hour, which would be preposterous even 20 years ago!
There are also other serious violations encountered throughout the process. Why are they asking us to type in the last 4 digits of our credit card to cancel the subscription? Why all the incessant offers and begging? Perhaps the worst “offense” during the cancellation process is the fact that you can only cancel the subscription 2 days before the renewal date is due.
The bottom line is that G2A Shield is nothing but a borderline-illegal system of extorting money and conversions. Lots of gamers will get confused during the process and give up on canceling because it takes a lot of work. When you look at the statistics, they still receive money and score conversions.
When faced with ultimatums and accusations, G2A refused to make G2A Shield free on the grounds of that “critics don’t understand how the system functions.” Both owners and sales representative Marius Mirek admitted the service “isn’t perfect” and that they will “look at ways to improve it.”
While G2A Shield was intended to be a benefit program for regular customers, it failed miserably and That is why G2A Shield is no longer available for purchase, However, G2A has another, more interesting feature for regulars, called G2A Goldmine.
What is G2A Goldmine & is it legit?
G2A Goldmine is called a “money making system” and an “innovative profit generator” by the company’s executives. It functions as a glorified pyramid scheme, generating more income as you and your friends keep buying more game keys. Every purchase gives you a chance to generate a “reflink” that can potentially earn you money. Sending this cashback code to your friends adds them to your team.
As your team grows, you get more opportunities to earn money whenever a team member makes a purchase. It goes even further, as you get more money if your team member adds other people to his personal team. This all sounds like a pyramid scheme, but is it legit?
Yes, this affiliate program is an excellent idea and it’s completely legit. The truth is – there is no “goldmine” involved and you won’t get filthy rich. However, G2A Goldmine is a great way to earn some extra money on the side without doing too much work. All in all, the Goldmine program is a very useful and interesting feature. It almost makes up for the disaster that is G2A Shield.
G2A has always been keen to provide additional services and perks for buyers and sellers. Recently, they have developed a new incentive for developers – the G2A Publisher Program. Is the service legit and should developers use it? Let’s take a look.
What is the G2A Publisher Program and how do developers benefit from it?
This recent change is an effort to include actual publishers as real, active sellers on the G2A.com website. A publisher can join the website and sell the codes directly to interested customers. You can access their profiles by typing the name in the search bar or accessing it via the page of the game. This is a big benefit to customers, as they can be sure that the codes are functional and that they won’t be revoked in the future.
Through the G2A Publisher Program, publishers get the opportunity to have G2A investigate stolen keys for their games. This is where the problems begin. Why do publishers have to register with G2A for the right to prevent theft? We’ve talked to several publishers who participated in the program and they said that the investigation services were far from satisfactory. Another common complaint is related to the revenue share.
G2A offers the publisher a 10% revenue cut from every purchased code, with the aforementioned promise of protection. When sites like Steam offer 70% of the revenue to the publisher, this makes the G2A Publishing Program seem like legal racketeering. Publishers have to bind themselves to the site and give up 90% of the revenue just to be protected from fraud.
Numerous YouTubers and publishers have refused to work with G2A for this racketeering system. If G2A keeps only the transaction costs when dealing with independent sellers, where does 90% of the publishers’ money go?
In conclusion, the G2A Publisher Program is far from ideal for publishers. It’s G2A sending a message saying “give us a 90% cut and we will protect you or don’t pay anything and lose more and more money”. It’s an interesting feature, with the only glaring flaw being the borderline insulting 90% revenue cut.
Is G2A safe place to buy game keys?
So, is buying from G2A safe and legit? If you buy keys from verified publishers, then you can be 100% sure that you have acquired a functioning key. However, due to the conditions of the G2A Publisher Program, there aren’t many publishers active on the site. It’s worth praising the efforts G2A has invested in improving security, but you still can’t be too sure about the validity of the keys.
Use seller profiles and reviews to be sure about the legitimacy of an individual seller. While it is technically a grey market, they have made significant improvements, making it one of the safest game key marketplaces. Even though they can still improve several features, G2A is showing promise and we are eager to see how will they respond to future security challenges.
The G2A Pay system includes over 200 methods of payment worldwide. It’s safe, inclusive and easy to use.
Sites like G2A
The most popular sites like G2A are Steam, Kinguin and G2Play. Steam is the world’s most popular gaming marketplace and platform. Everything comes directly from the publisher and there is not even 0.1% that you get swindled.
What you purchase stays in your library forever and you’re free to play it whenever you want. Although games are more expensive than on G2A, there are several sales during the year where you can save money. The higher price is 100% worth the lack of security risks.
Kinguin and G2Play are similar sites to G2A. G2Play is renowned for its very efficient customer service, with a clear step-to-step guide on how to deal with fraudulent keys. They are generally regarded as the less popular, but more customer-friendly solution. It’s important to mention that both sites don’t offer guarantees about the keys’ origin. This means that you aren’t entitled to a refund if the key is revoked.
The bottom line – Is buying from G2A safe and legit?
To conclude, G2A’s method of business is 100% legal and legitimate. There are no legal issues whatsoever. The platform is big and ideal for gaming aficionados looking for popular games at cheap prices.
Is buying from G2A safe and legit? Yes! However, the site is still a grey market, where the legitimacy of the product isn’t guaranteed. If you buy from the publisher directly, you may be sure that the key will function. There are still some glaring issues and standing accusations, making G2A one of the most controversial and most popular sites.