G2A

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G2A.COM
G2A logo transparent.png
Type of site
Video game marketplace
Available in Arabic, Czech, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Spanish, Taiwanese, Turkish, Vietnamese
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s)
  • Bartosz Skwarczek
  • Dawid Rożek
Employees 700 (as of 2016)
Website g2a.com
Alexa rank Positive decrease 843 (as of February 2017)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration Yes
Users Over 12 million

G2A.COM Limited (commonly referred to as G2A) is a global digital marketplace which specializes in gaming products. It is headquartered in Hong Kong, but has offices in various countries including Poland, the Netherlands and China.[2][3] The site claims to have over 12 million customers, 260,000 sellers, 50,000 digital products and 700 employees throughout all locations.[4] The main product offering on G2A.COM is game key codes to such platforms as Steam, Origin and Xbox. Other products found on the marketplace include software and prepaid activation codes.

G2A.COM does not purchase or sell any digital products itself, it delivers the platform for others to do so, acting as an intermediary by connecting the buyer to the seller.[3] For frequent customers, G2A runs a subscription program called G2A Shield.[5] Besides the marketplace, G2A has a lineup of other products and services, including G2A Direct, a partnership program for video game developers, and G2A Pay, an online checkout gateway. G2A is also involved in eSports, and sponsors professional gaming teams such as Cloud9, Natus Vincere, and Virtus Pro.[6]

History[edit]

The company (under the original name Go2Arena) was established in 2010 by Bartosz Skwarczek and Dawid Rożek in Rzeszów, Poland as an online game retailer. G2A.COM's main demographic was young gamers with a lack of disposable income, so its objective became to sell video games at the lowest possible price. Skwarczek said that he had approached many large game developers at various events such as Gamescom, E3 and G-Star to secure partnership deals in order to become an official seller of their games. Due to a lack of interest from developers, as well as variations in market trends, the company’s business model changed from retailer to marketplace.[7]

Products and services[edit]

Starting in 2015, G2A began to focus on other projects and products outside of its digital gaming marketplace. In January 2015, G2A introduced its online payment gateway G2A PAY – a checkout solution for businesses which currently integrates over 200 global payment methods.[8] Later that same year, G2A created its first virtual reality application G2A Land, a VR amusement park.

In early 2016, G2A entered the 3D printing market by introducing G2A 3D, an online marketplace for buying, selling, and sharing 3D designs and models.[9] In July 2016, G2A launched G2A Direct, a partnership program for video game developers and publishers.[10] In December 2016, G2A introduced two new projects – G2A Gear and Blunt Force. G2A Gear is an online shop which sells G2A branded clothing, as well as clothing and accessories with images and slogans from games, movies, TV shows, and comics. The company claims it will soon add items designed in partnership with gaming streamers and YouTubers to the store.[11]

2016 numbers show the platform has processed 22 million transactions throughout the entire G2A ecosystem, which is valued at $313 million.[12]

In conjunction with MWU 3D MODELS project, led by Assoc. Prof. Marcin Wiechec of the Jagiellonian University, G2A is devising new methods in order to teach doctors how to better detect congenital heart issues among infants.[13]

G2A began a partnership with Microsoft in 2017 that would utilize Azure cloud technology to help minimize the risk of potential fraud.[14]

Marketing activities[edit]

Throughout 2014 and 2015, G2A established partnerships with numerous eSports teams such as Cloud9, Natus Vincere, and Virtus Pro [6] and has invested over 10 million USD in the industry to date.[15]

In August 2016, G2A partnered with Sporting Clube de Portugal, who had previously signed Portuguese FIFA player, Francisco Cruz.[16]

In December 2016, G2A.COM became the title sponsor of the biggest Exhibition & Congress Center in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland. The center, located next to Rzeszow International Airport, has been renamed G2A Arena[17][18].

G2A states it collaborates with many YouTubers and streamers such as PewDiePie, Towelliee, Maximus Black and Castro 1021.[19]

Charity[edit]

G2A, partnered with Bachir "Athene" Boumaaza, the creator of Gaming for Good, and created the Humanitarian Emergency All-Out Response Team (HEART).[20] Both projects were designed to help and support children, charities and aid in disaster relief. G2A states that it has been working with Gaming for Good since 2013 and had previously partnered with Boumaaza in projects like Gamers got Hearts.

Between 2014–2015, G2A says that it raised over 500,000 USD for SaveTheChildren which was then amplified to five million USD.[21]

On 1 December 2015, multiple Twitch.tv streamers, YouTubers, websites and gamers participated in a program dubbed #GamingTuesday[22] in order to raise funds for the charity Save the Children.[23]

In January 2016, G2A states that it participated in the Polish charity auction event, The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation, and bought a 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) tall statue of the character Geralt of Rivia from the game The Witcher.[24]

Awards[edit]

In the first half of 2016, G2A won seven international awards in multiple categories including Customer Service, New Product and Virtual Reality.

In 2016, G2A was recognized at the Stevie Awards For Sales & Customer Service.[25]

In 2016, G2A received awards for Outstanding Fast-Growth Business, Outstanding Customer Service Team, Outstanding New Product / Service at the Global Business Excellence Awards.[26]

In 2016, G2A was presented with an award for Innovation in Customer Experience at the UK Financial Services Awards.[27]

In 2017, G2A won Business Insider's "Innovation Initiator" award.[28]

In 2017, eBay HK (Hong Kong) awarded G2A the Best Deal of the Year.[29]

Controversies[edit]

G2A has been subject to a number of controversies regarding the validity of the sources for its keys. Publishers and journalists consider G2A to be a grey marketplace for redemption keys, often allowing the reselling of keys purchased in one regional market at a much lower price into another region where the same game is priced much higher, a legal route but one that denies publishers some profit in the latter region. They also claim that as basically G2A acts as an intermediary for individuals selling their keys, keys bought with stolen credit cards are sold, ensuring cheap prices for these keys.[30][31][32]

G2A had countered those claims, stating that their critics do not understand their business model, and have implemented programs like G2A Direct and G2A Shield to assure publishers still get a proper share of key resales and customers are protected from fake keys, respectively.[33] However, some game developers involved in the G2A Direct program claim that they only did so because they "couldn’t get G2A to take down the keys for (their) games that were already on sale".[34]

In July 2017, to further provide transparency in their business model in response to complaints, G2A started requiring all key resellers to disclose their identity and address, and require all purchasers to confirm their geolocation as to apply proper VAT taxes.[35]

Sergei Klimov, the owner of the Lithuania studio behind Gremlins, Inc., Charlie Oscar, said that G2A itself is not a problem but instead the mismanagement of indie owners with their keys when they participate in game bundles or other programs that require them to generate a large number of keys, alongside the nature of economics between Eastern European companies and those in Western Europe and North America. Klimov said that just as retail boxes could sit in shelves, unsold, keys provided in bundles could remain unsold or unused, and that a site like G2A is inevitable to offload and resell those keys.[36]

Riot Games sponsorship ban[edit]

Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, banned G2A from sponsoring teams during the 2015 League of Legends World Championship. Riot believed the keys sold on G2A were illegally obtained and made further claims that G2A was selling fully leveled accounts, which breached Riot's terms of service.[37]

G2A replied that it had tried hard to find a "win-win" situation in order to resolve the issues with Riot Games and had banned accounts selling Elo-boosted League of Legends accounts, which was a key factor behind the ban. G2A claimed that Riot did not cooperate with it in its attempts to fix the issue and Riot instead made further demands such as banning the sale of game guides on G2A’s marketplace.[38]

INTZ’s Tockers Gabriel 'Tockers' Claumann, was later fined over 1,000 USD at Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) 2016, for wearing a shirt with the G2A website logo on the shoulder. Midway through the game, he was asked to apply masking tape over the logo and later told he would be fined.[39] G2A paid this fine, stating that "no e-sports organization should be punished so severely for wearing a G2A branded T shirt."[40]

tinyBuild allegation[edit]

In June 2016, CEO of tinyBuild, Alex Nichiporchik, accused G2A of allowing key resellers to resell fraudulently-obtained game keys, costing the company 450,000 USD. G2A responded to tinyBuild's claims, stating that it offered to help to identify which keys had been fraudulently purchased as to determine which resellers had committed illegal chargebacks and remove them from G2A. G2A also questioned the 450,000 USD figure arrived at by tinyBuild, noting that its games had either been discounted several times on other sites or given away for free[41] and consequently felt the figure was inflated. tinyBuild added that in communication with G2A, the company felt it was being pressured to participate in G2A's payment platform, which would take some of the sales revenue back to G2A, in exchange for rooting out fraud on its platform.[42]

The official G2A statement went on to say that it "gives full support to developers with prompt communication channels, uses advanced tools (exchanging blacklists, identifying suspicious merchants and auctions and 'KYC'-Know Your Customers procedures), and offers award-winning protection solutions with G2A Shield."[43]

Following this debate, G2A announced strengthened front-end verification steps for its marketplace security which included social media profile and phone number verification, with further verification required after 10 or more products have been sold through one account[44] while introducing its and publisher partnership program G2A Direct.[45]

Gearbox partnership[edit]

On 3 April 2017, Gearbox Publishing announced a partnership with G2A.COM for exclusive collector’s editions of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, to be created and sold by G2A.[46] YouTube game critic John "TotalBiscuit" Bain was critical of this move, citing G2A’s negative press coverage as well as accusations made against the company, and threatened to withhold covering Bulletstorm, or any other Gearbox game, unless Gearbox cancelled the deal. On 6 April 2017, one day before Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition was due for release, Gearbox published a list of ultimatums made together with Bain for G2A to accept, or else it would back out of the deal. The ultimatums focused on G2A’s Shield service, an open API for game developers, and G2A’s payment system.[47] The following day, Gearbox Publishing publicly announced that it is ending its cooperation with G2A, due to a lack of response from the company concerning the ultimatums.[48] G2A responded to the assertions on 10 April 2017 stating, "All of the requests made of G2A.COM in the ultimatum have in fact long been part of our marketplace", and ascribed the problems to the unfamiliarities that Bain and Gearbox have in regards to how G2A operates its marketplace.[49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "g2a.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "G2A.COM contact details". G2A.COM. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Jim Martin. "How does G2A work?". PC Advisor. International Data Group. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Marcin Strzyżewski (7 December 2016). "W sześć lat od pomysłu, do siedmiusetosobowej korporacji – z wizytą w G2A" (in Polish). Onet.pl. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Richard Scott-Jones (22 December 2016). "G2A unveil game bundles in overhaul of controversial Shield service". PCGamesN. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Gregory Ibañez (22 July 2016). "G2A Becomes Title Sponsor for Virtus.Pro and Na'Vi". PVP Live. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Early History of G2A". PR Newswire. 3 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "G2A Pay". G2A.COM. 
  9. ^ Scott J Grunewald (10 February 2016). "The G2A 3D+ Project Brings 3D Printing and Video Games Together". 3DPrint.com. 3DPrint.com. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "G2A Direct". G2A.COM. 
  11. ^ "G2A Gear". G2A.COM. 
  12. ^ Rożek, Dawid (August 2017). "Zachowaliśmy energię start-upu w dużej firmie". Harvard Business Review. 
  13. ^ "Using VR to Save Lives". G2A.COM. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  14. ^ Madan, Asher (February 12, 2018). "Game marketplace G2A partners with Microsoft for recommendation and fraud protection systems". Windows Central. 
  15. ^ "G2A Approved Fact Sheet". G2A.COM. Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
  16. ^ Mike Stubbs (21 July 2016). "Sporting Lisbon enters eSports with top Portuguese FIFA player". MCVUK.com. MCVUK. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  17. ^ "Wyborcza.pl". rzeszow.wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 2018-04-16. 
  18. ^ INTERIA.PL. "G2A Arena – nowoczesne centrum wystawiennicze zyskało nową nazwę" (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-04-16. 
  19. ^ "Why G2A – Partners". G2A.COM. Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
  20. ^ "G2A, Together With Gaming for Good and Save the Children, Activate Gaming Community Avengers for Humanitarian Emergency All-Out Response Team (HEART) in Ethiopia". 
  21. ^ "G2A.COM and Gaming for Good Announce: 'Humanitarian Emergency All-Out Response Team' (HEART)". PR Newswire. 3 January 2016. 
  22. ^ "Gaming Tuesdays". Save the Children. 
  23. ^ "Gamers, Streamers and Vloggers Gear Up for Giving Tuesday to Give Back to Save the Children". Save the Children. 
  24. ^ "The Witcher is at Home in the G2A.COM Office". Yahoo! Finance. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. 
  25. ^ "2016 Stevie Award Winners". March 4, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Global Business Excellence Awards 2016". November 30, 2016. 
  27. ^ "G2A Wins UK Financial Services Award 2016 in London". July 25, 2016. 
  28. ^ McKeand, Kirk (June 8, 2017). "Key marketplace G2A win a business award for unconventional methods". PCGamesN. Retrieved June 8, 2017. 
  29. ^ "G2A Presented Best Deal Award". G2A.COM. Retrieved October 19, 2017. 
  30. ^ "How The Controversial Steam Key Marketplace G2A Got So Big". Kotaku. 2016-01-08. It's cheaper because individuals are selling the keys, not Blizzard. But it also means you don't know where the keys came from. Did someone simply have an extra key, or did they use stolen credit cards to defraud a game developer? There’s no way to know, and unlike other prominent marketplaces, G2A doesn’t automatically provide consumers with insurance for their purchases 
  31. ^ "The truth behind those mysteriously cheap gray market game codes". Polygon. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2017-04-23. 
  32. ^ "G2A : haro sur les flibustiers de la clé Steam". Canard PC. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  33. ^ Dring, Christopher (20 April 2017). "G2A: "We're not a grey marketplace, people just don't understand our business"". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  34. ^ "G2A heckled by developers at its own panel". Polygon. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-23. Polygon reached out to many of those developers involved in the G2A Direct program. It's a partnership that allows developers to, among other things, keep a 10 percent portion of every game sold on the G2A marketplace regardless of its provenance. Most of those who answered our questions were lukewarm about the program, with one stating that the only reason he joined up was because he couldn’t get G2A to take down the keys for his games that were already on sale. 
  35. ^ Hall, Charlie (28 June 2017). "G2A is back in the business of reselling game keys, announces changes to its marketplace". Polygon. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  36. ^ McKEand, Kirk (22 January 2018). ""G2A is not evil," it's a symptom of indie devs mismanaging their keys". PCGamesN. Retrieved 22 January 2018. 
  37. ^ Charles Pulliam-Moore (7 October 2015). "Riot Games has banned G2A from sponsoring teams in the 2015 League of Legends World Championships". Fusion.net. 
  38. ^ Andy Chalk (9 October 2015). "G2A calls League of Legends sponsorship ban "an aggressive attack"". PC Gamer. Future plc. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  39. ^ Mike Kent (19 February 2016). "Brazilian LoL Player Fined For G2A Logo". 
  40. ^ "G2A Pays Young Gamer's Fine for Banned Logo at e-sports Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) 2016"". Yahoo! Finance. 15 February 2016. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. 
  41. ^ "The tinyBuild Summer Madness Giveaway". tinyBuild. 
  42. ^ Charlie Hall (22 June 2016). "As war of words between indie dev and reseller intensifies, IGDA distances itself". Polygon (website). Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
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  44. ^ Wesley Yin-Poole (8 July 2016). "Game key reseller G2A moves to legitimise its business". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  45. ^ Wesley Yin-Poole (28 June 2016). "G2A to give developers royalties on third-party auctions". Eurogamer. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  46. ^ "Gearbox Publishing and G2A.COM team up on a collector's edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition" (Press release). Gamasutra. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  47. ^ Wawro, Alex (6 April 2017). "Gearbox partners with G2A, then vows to back out unless G2A takes steps to fight fraud". Gamasutra. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
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  49. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (April 10, 2017). "G2A responds to Gearbox's withdrawal and TotalBiscuit's demands". Retrieved April 10, 2017. 

External links[edit]