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Feud between G2A and Tiny Build sparks up during GDC panel

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Moderator tries to calm the room amid accusations of money laundering

 
Marius Mirek, outbound sales specialist at game code marketplace G2A.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

An employee of the game key marketplace G2A stepped to the microphone today at the Game Developers Conference to accuse TinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik of spreading falsehoods about his company. He was quickly shut down by the panel moderator, but not before getting his defiant message across.

Last year, Nichiporchik was involved in a lengthy war of words with the G2A marketplace when he discovered that $450,000 worth of his company’s games had been sold there without his knowledge. At the time, he accused G2A of fostering criminal activity, evidenced by the fact that a portion of the keys sold there were purchased from the Tiny Build storefront using stolen credit cards.

It is a claim that G2A vehemently denies, but it was repeated again by Nichiporchik today during a GDC panel, titled Fraud and Your Game Economy.

“There’s more and more ways for the smaller fraudsters,” he said, “people who are 15 years old sitting in their bedrooms to hack a bunch of credit cards. Now there’s more ways for them to wash or launder that money. There’s platforms like Kinguin and G2A facilitating these guys to get and to sell the keys that they have stolen.”

The other panel members, including Matthew Cook, co-founder of Panopticon Laboratories, agreed with Nichiporchik’s assessment.

The panel was moderated by Digital River’s Scott Davis, at left. Panelists included Matthew Cook, co-Founder of Panopticon Laboratories; Lee Gould, director of global fraud management at Sony; Scott Williams, senior fraud product manager at Digital River; and Tiny Build’s Alex Nichiporchik.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

“From our perspective,” said Cook, whose company provides cybersecurity for the games industry, “all of these [credit card fraud] schemes only have payouts because there’s a market for them.”

Marius Mirek, whose GDC badge indicated he was an outbound sales specialist for G2A, took offense. During the question and answer period, he came to the microphone to call out the Tiny Build CEO’s lack of cooperation in handling last year’s dispute.

“Ladies and gentlemen … I am actually from G2A.com,” said Mirek. “I was directly involved with Alex’s case and I would like to dispel a few things, first of all. G2A.com does work with developers directly and any one of you can email me. And let’s address your codes, because I was handling your emails. You have provided not a single [game] code [for us to validate the alleged fraud].”

“You’re really going to do this at GDC?” asked Nichiporchik, before Mirek was shut down by the panel moderator Scott Davis, director of games and entertainment at Digital River, the panel’s sponsor.

Mirek taking questions after the panel, titled Fraud and Your Game Economy.
Charlie/Hall

Polygon took some time with Mirek after the panel to allow him to explain himself. We asked him whether he agreed that G2A was facilitating credit card fraud and money laundering.

“You can easily look at eBay or Amazon or another marketplace,” Mirek said. “Fraud is a part of any other marketplace. But we do not contribute to it. In fact, we monitor the marketplace very closely. And you know what, you don’t have to ask my opinion. You can ask the 100 developers that work with us.”

During last year’s conflict, G2A repeatedly asked Nichiporchik to provide the game keys that he believed were purchased with fraudulent credit cards so that they could conduct an investigation. He declined, citing fears G2A would misuse the information.

“The only way you can find out about it is to talk to a particular developer and compare their fraud numbers against ours,” Mirek said, “and I can guarantee you nothing is going to be there.”