G2A - Opinions?

So here is a pow-wow question. What do you guys think of G2A? If you don’t know what it is - G2A is a “grey market” games reseller that trades in gaming software keys. They only hit my radar a couple years ago when Eagle Dynamics specifically banned keys obtained through G2A due to fraudulent activity. I don’t know specifically what that activity was, but ED was not happy with what was going on.

I suspect it has to do with a few things.

Sometimes keys can be stolen in batches via stolen account information or credit cards.

And I’m guessing that some legitimate purchases have EULAs that specifically prohibit the resale of games.

Enter me, tonight, drinking a few glasses of wine, and having just witnessed Brazil getting routed out of the World Cup. Well, unfortunately, I only own Kopanito All Stars Soccer…which I love to play with my 8-year old. Him and his cousin have Switches with FIFA 18 on them…but poor old Daddy has no real soccer (football) games.

So I started looking around on the Steam store. They don’t sell FIFA games…you have to buy those directly from EA. I was like…OK, that’s cool, but I’m planning on playing this on my laptop, so I’d rather get like FIFA 16 or something a bit outdated on the cheap. I go to the EA site and see those titles are still $30. I bought FIFA 18 for my kid(s-ish)(let’s just call the cousin my kid since he effectively is…long story…) for $29!

So I Google FIFA alternatives. Pro Evolution Soccer comes up - a Steam carried title. Yay! But you can’t buy the old versions. Boo! And the reviews for the 2018 version aren’t the greatest (lots of FIFA employees I suspect on Steam).

So I go to Google Shopping - and see FIFA and PES titles, both current and older ones…for fractions of what they are retailing for. But they are on sites like G2A and Kinguin and CD-Keys dot net. Shady. But the prices look pretty good.

So (yeah…I’m gonna start every paragraph with that tonight)…I do some additional Googling to some investigative online sites that have penetrated this grey market and have written up some interesting articles on that “eco-space” or whatever. Are there scams? Sure are. Is there criminal activity? Seems to be a bit. But are there also an overwhelmingly large amount of people that manage legit transactions (perhaps ignoring EULAs though?) - most definitely.

So (yes!) I go to G2A and start poking around. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017, with all fees (you pay an “insurance fee” and a Paypal convenience fee) comes in at $16.66 and there is a direct link to Paypal so that you don’t have to create an account. PES 2018 is only $29…so we aren’t talking a major savings here…but I’m curious. I go through the Paypal process because I don’t have to make a G2A account…submit payment, and 50 seconds later, my resold key (or maybe it is an original key bought in bulk?) arrives. I nervously activate it on Steam, thinking it will be rejected…but no…it goes through.

So a painless transaction, a bit of a cost savings, and am I an avowed criminal now? Is this a skirting of rules or is it a free market thing? I’m curious what people think?


Thing I read was that sometimes the keys get resold again. So what you ‘buy’ might get sold again. I can neither validate or disprove that rumour but that was the big one that has/had me avoiding the site and avoiding recommending the site to friends looking for cheaper access to games.

Now that all could be down to companies not getting any revenue from those sales - buying keys from those sites do not result in the developers making the software seeing any money - but that could also be rumour and I can’t validate.

Your mileage may vary.

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Hmm…yeah, I can see how that could happen. But once it is “bound” to my Steam account…how is it possible for someone to unbind it?

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Steam isn’t always the least expensive option for sales anymore. I’ve avoided G2A, CD Keys, etc. I just don’t want the hassle. I use Gamersgate and Green Man Gaming though.


caveat emptor for the next guy I guess.

I never used the service as I always found the “insurance” purchase options kinda sketchy.

Left these GoG options out due to age?


How To Be A Grey Market Steam Seller Like G2A

  1. Currency Margins. Purchase keys that are region unlocked in a currency that is better hedged than the ones that people usually buy from your store in. A Steam store entry either uses a default currency conversion (set by Valve daily, based on market rates) or more commonly allows the publisher to set the per-currency price, i.e. USD $59.99 CAD $69.99 (so as to make it common shop round numbers rather than a conversion). A reseller takes advantage of an old set price in a currency to buy 1,000 copies of keys ‘stock’. Example: Total War: Warhammer in Russian ruble’s is for a USD price of $13.11, and then can resell the keys (which are not region locked) for $19.99 - hence a profit. Valve tries to kill this off, but it’s really the publishers not keeping their old ‘pinned’ prices up to date.

  2. Resell From a Legit 3rd Party. Someone big like Amazon can go to a publisher, like Activision, and say 'I want to do a special sale - give me 10,000 keys at a discount please and I’ll pay for them in batch. What happens is that a company like G2A gambles that the price is pretty good (perhaps the sale didn’t really work out on Amazon, and Amazon is left with keys so heavily discounts on a 2nd sale etc) and buys 1000 of those keys. They then mark them up (margins are pretty thin, we’re talking about 2-3% often) and then resale. Valve also don’t like this, and the primary publishers don’t like it, but it technically isn’t against Tos.

  3. Key Generators, Stolen Credit Cards are all in the past, but did happen with various resellers.

I mean, put another way, any store where you have to purchase an insurance scheme is probably at least an off-white flag…

PES is a great series, and I actually prefer it to FIFA. They aren’t allowed to sell the old ones because of the player/league licenses they hold. Surprisingly the most common reason for withdrawals of game entries from Steam is that often audio/music licenses are nearly all fixed terms, i.e. you can play this song for 3 years and no more. It’s often easier to pull the title than be bothered to patch out the music.

Something like http://www.pesmaster.com/ is good (although not personally used it for a while), as it’s easy enough to go get proper team names/kits/stadiums/players, with often tweaked stats. A serious business for football fans.


Sensible World of Soccer was my last football game. Great times! Hard to believe it was over 20 years ago now!!

Great breakdown on the hows and whys of that market. There is some bit of buyer protection as well in that you can see the merchant rating prior to purchase…so if you have a seller with thousands of positives I think that is a somewhat good marker.

Interesting about the region purchased games. I guess it’s very much like any other global commodity. Also interesting about things like the logo and music licenses… After this World Cup I’ll be happy to not hear that White Stripes song again. It is approaching vuvuzela levels of annoying to me now (not really)…

I would like current (as he sits) stats on Maradona (LOL). He was quite the spectacle in Russia.

I didn’t even read the thread just saw the title. Do not buy from g2a. End of story.


CDKeys is 100% above board and legit, bought a lot of games from them over the years. G2A are dodgy as they don’t seem to sell the games themselves but anyone can come on and sell whatever key they have and I’ve been bitten by them and lost money. Avoid.


Somewhat old at this point but…

In all honesty it’s a decent idea that’s just too prone to scammers. I’ve personally got an absurd amount of unused keys, mostly through bundle stuff with duplicates. Would be nice get something for them. They just sit here rotting away.

Buying a game though that you can’t get through Steam anymore is actually though probably a decent use for it. Too late to tell you now, but there is a free version of PES 2018, called PES 18 lite

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G2A is pretty evil honestly, I wouldn’t suggest using them if you care all for the genre:

The key reseller market can be thoroughly dodgy and I doubt G2A has done any introspective work to fix their issues, I remember a bit of a ruckus with Gearbox as well when they started having some offer through them.

Thanks for the opinions. I think that will be my one and only purchase from G2A based on the overwhelmingly negative opinions I’ve heard. I like to support legitimate companies and if the word on the street is those guys are a bit shady, I’d rather spend a couple dollars more and go with a more reputable source.