G2A have stated they will replay Wube Software for ten times the value of any chargebacks due to “illegitimate” Factorio keys sold on their platform.
Developers and consumers have decried G2A as a “grey market”. In short, users can sell game keys independent of the retail price. On paper this should allow for a better reflection of supply and demand, but it can lead to issues such as users using stolen credit cards to buy a large number of keys, then resell them for profit.
When the credit-card owner discovers this, they then charge back with additional fees and penalties for the developer. Other issues also arise when keys are bought cheaply in one region, and sold to western regions for profit (but still less than the official western outlets). This in turn can result in the keys being deactivated, and users losing access to those games they bought.
In 2019, G2A stated they would pay back developers ten times the money lost from chargebacks. They also offered a key-blocking tool to developers.
Now, that very blog post has been updated, revealing only Wube Software was the only developer to take up their offer “after discovering that illegitimate keys to its construction and management simulation game Factorio had been sold online.”
What made the keys “illegitimate” was not elaborated upon, though later language by G2A would imply they were acquired through theft, hacking, or other fraudulent methods.
Wube Software stated that 321 keys for Factorio had been “sold online illegitimately.” Unable to find an independent auditing company that would beet the requirements of both Wube Software and G2A, G2A made an internal investigation.
“This investigation confirmed that 198 of Wube’s keys had been sold via its Marketplace between March 2016 – June 2016. It is assumed by both parties that the remaining 123 illegitimate keys were sold via other online marketplaces or other online stores.”
G2A have agreed to compensate Wube Software for “ten times the value of any bank-initiated refund costs that Factorio paid in relation to each of the 198 illegitimate keys sold via its Marketplace.”
GamesIndustry.biz reports that they understand “from Wube that each order was approximately $20.” This would put the chargeback fees to an estimated $3,960, and compensation of $39,600. Wube Software told GamesIndustry.biz they had received the money.
G2A concluded their updated post, standing firm by their commitments and terms.
“When we launched this offer, we wanted to send a clear message to the gaming community that fraud hurts all parties. As we spell out in this blog, fraud directly hurts individuals who buy illegitimate keys, it hurts gaming developers and it ultimately hurts G2A because we are forced – as the transaction facilitator – to cover costs related to the sale. We wanted to amplify that message and capture people’s attention, so pledged to compensate developers ten times the value of any chargeback fees they incurred, despite the fact that we had nothing to with the illegal acquisition of these keys.
The gaming developer community has our solidarity and sympathies on this issue, and we want to continue building bridges. With our main point being made, about the seriousness of fraud in the industry, from now on we will compensate developers the full value of any chargeback fees they incurred for any keys sold via G2A Marketplace, if they are able to prove they were illegitimate.”