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Indie developer issues ultimatum to gray market reseller (update)

G2A has three days to comply

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

This week consumers have been witness to a nasty public spat between indie developer Tiny Build and gray market game code reseller G2A, and as of today the whole situation teeters on the edge of absurdity.

The entire episode began when Tiny Build discovered $450,000 worth of its own products had been sold through G2A. Later, CEO Alex Nichiporchik was able to purchase his own game codes from resellers on G2A and link them back to credit card fraud perpetrated through Tiny Build’s online store.

Yesterday tensions were ratcheted up when G2A issued a demand that Tiny Build hand over any and all game codes that it believes were purchased using fraudulent credit cards so that G2A could purge them from their marketplace. The demand was accompanied by a kind of ultimatum to comply within three days.

What happens, sometime tomorrow, when the three-day deadline expires? G2A isn’t saying.

Tiny Build’s Nichiporchik issued a statement of his own late yesterday.

"In the same fashion as G2A issued us a 3 day ultimatum to share keys," Nichiporchik wrote on the Tiny Build blog, "we are issuing a 3 day ultimatum for G2A to provide a solution for developers and publishers to benefit from the marketplace."

His demands? He wants G2A to change how they do business, and give developers more control over how their games are sold on the gray market. From the blog post:

  1. Allow publishers to set a minimum price for the distributed products
  2. Set a minimum cut for all 3rd party sales of said keys (these would come out of merchants’ cut)
  3. Actually verify your merchants. I just made an account and within an hour was able to sell a ton of keys, no verification whatsoever. If Ebay allowed you to sell merchandise without verifying sellers’ credentials (they ask you for IDs, statements confirming addresses, tie it to your bank account, etc), they’d probably under similar fire right now as they’d facilitate stolen goods trade.

Just like G2A, Nichiporchik hasn’t indicated what the consequences will be once the deadline expires.

We’ve reached out to G2A for a response.

Update: In a statement issued June 27, G2A has agreed to some incremental changes in its business practices. You can read about them here.

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