Earlier this week, Unknown Worlds told key reseller G2A it owed the developer $300,000. This was after G2A said it would pay developers ten times what they've lost through chargebacks for keys purchased with pinched credit cards. It's an issue several developers and publishers have raised, though G2A denies that it happens.
A statement posted by G2A refutes the Subnautica developer's claims, making a bit of a show out of it in the process. The gist of G2A's post is that Unknown Worlds' losses through chargebacks came from sales of Natural Selection 2 in 2013, a year before G2A existed.
"Launched in 2014, G2A Marketplace was celebrating its 5th birthday this year," the post reads. "The said keys were allegedly stolen and sold before March 8, 2013—6 years ago. Charlie wrote: 'We paid $30,000 to deal with credit card chargebacks because of G2A.' That’s just slander, and we expect him to at least edit his posts, if not straight up apologize."
Technically, G2A did exist in 2013, however, but under a different name and with a different business model. Go2Arena was a retailer rather than a marketplace, and G2A now claims Natural Selection 2 wasn't sold there.
Factorio's developer, Wube, also took G2A up on its offer to pay ten times its losses in chargebacks, but apparently a third party auditing company is still investigating the evidence. It claims the fees for chargebacks amounts to around $6,600, so G2A may end up having to shell out $66,000.
The tone's unusual for a statement from a videogame marketplace to a developer, right down to the title of the post and its accompanying header image. It's unlikely to inspire Unknown Worlds or others to work with G2A to combat fraud. G2A's proposed key-blocking tool will only be created if 100 developers sign up, but it's attracted fewer than 20. The deadline has now been extended, but only until the end of August.
Update: G2A's insistence that it did not exist prior to 2014 has been rather dramatically undercut by, among other sources, G2A itself. As noticed by GamesIndustry, the Wayback Machine indicates that G2A was functioning as a key reseller in June 2013. G2A denied that the listing was legitimate, however, telling the site that the archive is "rather like a fun tool, not a credible source." It explained that the domain had been purchased months before it actually went live in January 2014, which is why it appeared in 2013.
But G2A's own support hub tells a different story. "The number of buyers and sellers has been rapidly growing ever since the launch of the webpage in 2013," it says. "That year there were 20 sellers and 100.000 buyers."
The page doesn't specify precisely when in 2013 the G2A Marketplace went live, but it does directly contradict the company's statement that it launched in 2014. G2A itself was founded, as Go2Arena, in 2010.
Update 2: Unknown Worlds founder Charlie Cleveland told Kotaku that G2A appears to be right in this case. “They weren’t the source of these original $30k keys," he said. "It doesn’t LOOK like they were selling gray-market keys at the time we had all those chargebacks. But they’ve been doing it ever since.”