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G2A's relationship with Gearbox ends with the launch of Bulletstorm remake (update)

“We have begun executing on our extraction process”

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Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition characters People Can Fly/Gearbox Publishing
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.

Gearbox Publishing is formally ending its relationship with the G2A game key marketplace, effective immediately, the company told Polygon today.

In a statement from head of publishing Steve Gibson, Gearbox said that it will now attempt to exit its relationship, which started just a short time ago with the announcement of an exclusive, special edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition.

“As there has been no public movement from G2A by the time Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition launched now on PC,” Gibson said, “Gearbox Publishing will be doing their part to not directly support a marketplace that did not make the new public commitment to protecting customers and developers requested by Gearbox Publishing. We do not control G2A’s marketplace or where they may obtain keys from parties outside of Gearbox Publishing, but we can confirm that today we have begun executing on our extraction process.”

The move comes after yesterday’s ultimatum that G2A change its business practices. In partnership with YouTube personality John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, Gearbox issued a series of demands and stated in no uncertain terms that if they were not met, the company would not sell its games through the G2A platform.

Earlier this morning, Polygon received the following response from G2A: “We are in the process of talking with Gearbox, and will get back to you with an official statement after the weekend.”

Multiple, exclusive collector’s editions of Bulletstorm are still available on the G2A website, however searching for “bulletstorm” there no longer returns any results.

Update: In a four-page document sent to Polygon this morning, G2A goes to great lengths to explain that each of Gearbox’s four demands issued last week is either unnecessary or impossible. They say that Gearbox’s public statement last week was “false and defamatory.”

“This is an excellent example that rash actions, without full knowledge of the facts, can be harmful to both the developer and the marketplace,” Maciej Kuc, G2A’s head of PR, said in that statement. “Especially since all of the requests made of G2A.COM in the ultimatum have in fact long been part of our marketplace.”

With regard to G2A Shield, an enhanced consumer protection service sold as an automatically renewing membership at G2A, Kuc explains that the same kinds of resolutions are available to those who buy it and those who do not. The only difference is in the speed and convenience of the interactions required to get resolution.

“The main purpose and function of G2A Shield is to provide buyers with immense convenience and comfort,” Kuc added. This echoes a similar statement made in an interview last year with the company’s CEO.

With regard to giving developers access to its database of codes for fraud analysis, G2A tells Polygon that they adamantly refuse to give access to anyone who has not signed up for the G2A Direct program. They say that to do so would invite sabotage by those who do not agree with their business model.

“G2A.COM has to protect every honest seller,” Kuc said, “and by giving such access to all developers, we would allow for a situation in which a developer could delete every key on our marketplace regardless of its origin. Such an action would be damaging to the industry, to gamers, and illegal.”

Polygon has requested clarification on what G2A means by “illegal” as stated above. G2A’s statement did not make it clear what their justification was.

Kuc also said that his company is perfectly happy to pull down any codes on its marketplace that were purchased fraudulently, provided that a developer give evidence to that fact.

“All a developer must do,” Kuc said, “is provide evidence that the keys that they want to block have been illegally acquired (this evidence can be, for example, a report from a financial institution).”

Kuc made no mention of any changes in the relationship between them and Gearbox. The special edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is no longer available on the G2A website.

We have reached out to G2A for several clarifications.