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Subnautica dev demands G2A pay $300,000 to cover lost chargebacks

Studio calls for controversial marketplace to honour its offer of 10x compensation

Update: Cleveland has since taken back the statements reported below. His full retraction is here.

Original story:

A second studio is calling for G2A to repay money they lost after illegally obtained copies of their game were sold through the online marketplace.

We reported yesterday that only 19 studios had registered interest in G2A's proposal for a key blocking tool, which would allow developers to prevent specific copies of their game being sold through the site.

Charlie Cleveland, founder and game director at Subnautica developer Unknown Worlds, commented beneath this article, sharing his own experience with G2A.

"Mike Rose is right - it IS better for players to pirate than buy a key off G2A," he wrote. "We paid $30,000 to deal with credit card chargebacks because of G2A... So, G2A, if you really want to put your money where your mouth is, you will now pay us $300,000."

He reiterated this demand to G2A directly via Twitter.

According to an Engadget report Cleveland linked to, someone purchased 1,341 Steam keys for the studio's Natural Selection 2 using stolen credit cards. The credit cards' real owners made chargeback claims against this, landing Unknown Worlds with a $30,000 fee.

The developer had to temporarily close its own online store where the keys had been purchased, and anyone that bought the illegitimate keys further down the line was unable to play the game as Valve had deactivated them.

Cleveland's comments follow G2A's offer earlier this year to pay back developers ten times the money they lost on chargeback fees -- but only if an independent auditor can ascertain that the fees relate to games that were obtained illegally (e.g. with a stolen credit card) before being sold through G2A.

Factorio developer Wube Software has already taken G2A up on this offer, although it notes the company has been very slow to respond. The latest update from Wube came on July 19, in which it states that G2A has asked the studio to agree to an independent audit.

"We said yes, and they said they will start contacting some audit companies, and that it will 'take some time,'" the studio wrote.

GamesIndustry.biz is expecting a comment back from G2A later today, although it will almost certainly reiterate the need for an independent audit first.

Elsewhere in Cleveland's comment, he questioned G2A's conduct in proposing its key blocker tool.

"It's a load of crap that this tool would be 'expensive' to develop," Cleveland wrote. "It's also suspect how they are pushing the names of developers who don't want their games to be sold on their service -- it's almost like they want blowback from players who don't understand the shadiness of their service and be encouraged to review bomb those developers.

"It's also terrible to put the impetus on developers to have to take action with G2A to get this proposal moving in the first place, while G2A profits off grey market sales and credit card fraud."

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Latest comments (1)

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada12 days ago
Glad to see devs taking them up on their offer. I'll be very surprised if G2A actually comes through, but one can hope.
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