G2A is pushing its store once again on Google search results, and developers are not happy.
G2A, the marketplace specialising in game keys, recently bought a bunch of premium Google ads. What this does is that it ensures the first result you get when you look up a game on Google is one of a G2A listing.
Although these are labelled as sponsored content, they will still show up before even the game’s official site, or any of the more reputable stores where it’s being sold. This was recently spotted by No More Robots’ Mike Rose, who saw an add for extreme sports game Descenders on Google.
Rose even tried to turn off the ad, but the toggle didn’t work. “Please, if you’re going to buy a game from G2A, just pirate it instead! Genuinely!” wrote Rose in a tweet.
“Devs don’t see a penny either way, so we’d much rather G2A didn’t see money either.”
Descenders developer RageSquid joined Rose’s call, asking fans to pirate instead of buying the game on G2A.
Please torrent our games instead of buying them on G2A https://t.co/gktACBP1KZ
— RageSquid (@RageSquid) June 29, 2019
Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail likewise shared a similar stance, explaining that despite players’ best intentions, it’s better in this case to pirate the game in question rather than doing business with key sellers.
“These sites cost us so much potential dev time in customer service, investigating fake key requests, figuring out credit card chargebacks, and more,” said Ismail.
G2A landed in hot water with developers on many occasions in recent years after insisting on hosting keys from unknown sources. The site tried to legitimise its business by claiming it is no more than a middle man and can’t possibly check the source of the keys being sold through it.
Fighting against stolen keys has been a long-running issue for smaller developers, many of which fall victim to bulk key purchases with stolen credit cards and other fraudulent means. This is how most of the keys being sold on sites like G2A manage to be much cheaper than your typical discount store, let alone official portals.
The developers, on the other hand, see no return on these sales, and are left instead to deactivate stolen keys when they realise they’re part of a batch bought with stolen cards.