The many problems with G2A
First thing first, G2A is not a second-hand resale store. There’s no such thing as activating a game on Steam, enjoying it for many years and then one day deciding to detach the key from your account to sell it to someone else. It’s just not possible.
All keys sold there never have been “consumed” / enjoyed by anyone else. All keys sold there provide you with the exact same product you’d get if you’d buy a game directly on Steam. So every keys sold there are simply being sold to allow a third-party (well, 2 third parties actually if you count G2A) to make money without having to create anything or provide any service.
But, but, but the dev was paid anyway right?
If your game appeared in a bundle for a very cheap price then you can bet your game will end up being sold on G2A in the following hours for a price slightly under the no-discount price you’re selling it for on Steam. So yes, the dev was paid for the key but the way it is then used is a perversion of how it was initially intended to be used. At this point why couldn’t I myself take 50,000 keys given away by Steam for free to devs and sell them myself for $2 less than what they are sold on Steam… Well, I could just sell my game for $2 less on Steam no? What do I gain by going through G2A? Doesn’t matter as the keys sold on G2A would then be sold for $4 less…
And the answer to “the dev was paid anyway” is also not always. Key can be bought by stolen credit cards and then chargebacks can occur. What did the dev get then?
Some keys you sent to a bundle could be sold by this bundle organization directly on G2A and they could simply lie to you about how many keys were actually sold when they return you the keys (that’s why there are only a tiny few number of bundles I would recommend using).
Some keys you sent for press purpose could also be sold on G2A. I’m not talking the typical case of “please send us 4-5 keys for me and my friends so we can write a Steam review” case (please, never do that). No, it can be legitimate youtubers who are just no interested to cover your game and sell the one key you sent them on G2A.
The bottom line here is that you have no idea if a dev was really paid for the key you bought on G2A. If you can’t guarantee a dev is paid for his work through your store then there’s a big problem with it.
It’s the devs’ own fault for selling their games at a discount price
Breaking news! Games don’t constantly sell the same number of copies for eternity. Even popular games see their sales decline at some point so discounts are used to try to reach a part of the market you might not be able to reach otherwise so your creation can keep making decent money for you to keep making a living.
Discounts are time limited events. They create an urge for some players to get your game right now. Some people will wait for some deeper discount it’s true but then each time a discount is applied to a game, all devs see their sales going up. That’s why we use discounts.
When a game is constantly sold at a discount price though, because G2A exists, then there’s no reason whatsoever to keep selling your game at full price ever. By this logic we should stop using discounts and just keep lowering the price of your games over time right? Wrong. You won’t create any excitement that way and won’t receive any visibility simply by lowering your price every 6 months by $1. This is not how it works. If you think it’s a sustainable business model then I invite you to go first and report to all of us how well it goes…
And it gets even stupider!!!
March of the Living was never in any bundle, was released with a 10% discount and is now sold for 20% less during the Summer sale. It’s nothing fancy and apparently not deep discounts enough to start seeing a ton of keys sold on G2A.
But wait! Yes, MotL is still sold on G2A anyway and for at least $3 more than the regular price on Steam… Who would be stupid enough to pay more money on G2A instead of buying directly on Steam you ask me? Well you can get free money on G2A through their Goldmine system.
Yes, eventually they’ll still have to buy the game legitimately from Steam (and if they don’t scam you, you might even get the game) so I’ll still be paid but why would I want anyone else to make money by selling my game on some other platform? Why not join G2A myself and sell my own game through this platform? Because no matter how lower than anyone else I’ll try to sell my game, someone will end up going lower because they don’t care if they only make $2 out of every sale why on my end I can’t deal with such low profit margin. When you’re the middle man you don’t care if your profit margin is low because you really don’t need to provide any service. Me I need the money to pay for the development of my next game so there’s a limit I cannot cross.
Steam has the solution
Time-limited keys activation and better tracking of keys distribution. There, problem solve. Oh sure, some cases would appear here and there about “people who forgot to activate their keys in time” but it would honestly be a tiny percentage. It would be the best warning to people using G2A to buy games that they have no clue what they are actually buying. It wouldn’t be the dev or Steam responsibility but G2A for having sold a product that doesn’t work.
Being able to track in a better way keys would also be helpful. Right now if you send 5,000 keys to a bundle and they then return you 2,000 unsold keys there’s no easy way to deactivate these 2,000 keys. In theory you’d need to somehow contact a Steam employee (through the forums as most of us don’t have representatives assigned to us anymore) and hope someone would notice and deactivate the keys. A dev simply cannot deactivate keys buy himself.
There’s a service called Keymailer which is interesting to distribute keys to youtubers. It helps a lot to track who received a key for your game and also helps to discover new legit persons to send your game to. It would however be much more better if such service was directly part of Steam. Instead of sending keys that might get lost, stolen, traded, sold you just activate the game directly in someone’s Steam account and there! Problem solved! You’re then sure no youtuber will ever be able to sell keys of your game.
It would also eliminate all scams of people pretending to be press or youtubers or some Steam community requesting 5-6 keys to resell as you’d simply activate the game in an account without having any keys for these people to sell someplace else.
Finally I’d like to point to you to this rant of TotalBiscuit about G2A if you’re still not getting the many problems with G2A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7Bi6PCQ39o&t=2h18m30s