After backlash over Bulletstorm deal with G2A, Gearbox sends seller a list of demands it must meet [Update]

By Stephany Nunneley, Friday, 7 April 2017 15:49 GMT

Gearbox is in the process of dissolving its relationship with G2A after the key seller failed to publicly commit to the changes outlined by the studio.

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Update

Speaking with Waypoint, Gearbox head of publishing Steve Gibson said in the 24 hours since Gearbox issued its list of requirements to G2A, there had “been no public movement” by the time Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition launched on PC.

“Gearbox Publishing will be doing their part to not directly support a marketplace that did not make the new public commitment to protecting customers and developers requested by Gearbox Publishing,” said Gibson.

“We do not control G2A’s marketplace or where they may obtain keys from parties outside of Gearbox Publishing, but we can confirm that today we have begun executing on our extraction process.”

The original story follows.

Original Story

Earlier this week, it was announced Gearbox and online key seller G2A had teamed up on a limited collector’s edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. Now, after facing backlash over the decision, Gearbox has issued a set of demands G2A must meet in order to combat fraud marketplace.

According to the list of terms Gearbox sent to G2A, which it worked on with John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, should G2A refuse to make the changes to how it conducts business, Gearbox – which is publishing Bulletstorm: Full Clip – is willing to terminate the partnership.

The deal between Gearbox and G2A offered 54 exclusive collector’s editions of Bulletstorm: Full Clip to be sold exclusively on the site. There are two different versions of the G2A Collector’s Edition: one premium and one standard and six available G2A Premium Collector’s Editions – two with a figurine of Grayson, two with a figurine of Trishka, and two with a figurine of Sato. Each went on sale April 4.

However, as stated above, after public backlash over the aforementioned deal, the studio set its terms, especially when TotalBiscuit said he would refuse to cover Bulletstorm and all future Gearbox titles.

Below, you will find the list of demands sent to the company, posted by Waypoint (thanks, GI.biz).

  • Within 30 days: G2A Shield (aka, customer fraud protection) is made free instead of a separate paid subscription service within terms offered by other major marketplaces. All customers who spend money deserve fraud protection from a storefront. To that end, all existing G2A Shield customers are notified by April 14th that fraud protection services are now free and they will no longer be charged for this.
  • 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. This access will be free of charge and will not require payment by the content holders.
  • G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 60 days implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers at the title, user-id, and account payable levels for a fraud flagging process. This is to protect content providers from having large quantities of stolen goods flipped on G2A before they can be flagged.
  • G2A makes a public commitment to this: 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. Join the ranks of other major marketplaces.

Starting last year, G2A faced accusations of key fraud after re-sellers were accused of using stolen credit card numbers to buy game keys, and then sell them on G2A for a profit. The claims of fraudulent keys being sold through the site came from studio Tinybuild which accused the company of being “a black market economy” for Steam keys.

To try and regain trust with game developers, G2A said starting in July 2016, it would provide studios access to its sales database which would allow companies to verify sales, and whether or not the keys were obtained legally. The new policy from G2A would also have the system check keys before being allowed on the marketplace to ensure they weren’t stolen.

The new policy would also offer development studios the opportunity to apply for up to 10% in royalties from key sales. A checkout option, giving customers the option to provide additional money to the development studio, would also be added.

“We want to reassure the development community that we monitor our marketplace extensively for any possible fraudulent activity,” said a company representative in June 2016. “In the small fraction of cases where fraud may be detected, we investigate and ban offending parties from further participation.”

Even after G2A put its new policy in place, many developers remained skeptical, along with many users of the site, some of which pointed out flaws even after the new system was put in place. During a reddit AMA with G2A, one reddit user proved how easy it was to bypass the fraudulent key checks easily, something which didn’t sit well with G2A.

Yesterday, TotalBiscuit told Kotaku G2A’s solution was “problem that they created” and the re-seller continues to “facilitate and profit from both the solution and the fraud.”

It’s all a bit of a mess, and if you want to read up on it more, just head through all of the lovely links.

Developed by People Can Fly, Bulletstorm: Full Clip is out today for PC, PS4, PS4 Pro and Xbox One.

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