Wube Software, independent developer of the management sim game Factorio, has decided to challege gray market key reseller G2A‘s offer to pay developers 10 times the money they prove was lost due to chargebacks on pirated game keys. G2A made the offer after Mike Rose of No More Robots created a petition to remove indie games from the G2A storefront.
In an update on Factorio‘s website, Wube Software explained that the developer saw many chargeback and fraud issues after the game launched on Steam in 2016. According to the devs, more than 300 Factorio Steam keys were purchased with stolen credit cards. When a credit card is reported to be stolen, everything charged to that card must be refunded to the original card holder. In the case of video games purchased with a stolen card, it’s up to those who made and published the game to refund the lost money.
Meanwhile, the person who stole that card, bought the game keys, and sold them through a reseller may have already made a profit. In Factorio‘s case, Wube Software says the developer paid an estimated $6,600 in chareback fees from keys bought with stolen credit cards. If Wube Software is able to adequately prove those losses (though it’s not clear what G2A would accept as proof) and if G2A agrees to pay the “vowed” 10 times payment of that amount, G2A would pay the developer $66,000.
Wube Software said that it has proof of at least some keys bought with stolen cards and sold on G2A, noting several instances of Steam users who bought Factorio through G2A messaging Wube Software to say so after their keys were revoked. Wube Software said it had reached out to G2A about the $6,600 fees and that G2A said it was checking the revoked keys, but G2A had not given Wube Software any updates at the time Wube published the Factorio update post. Wube Software concluded by noting that it no longer deals with fraudulent purchases because of its switch in payment provider to the Humble Widget, but that Steam gift codes are still being sold on G2A (though these were most likely not purchased with stolen credit cards).
G2A has been surrounded in controversy since Rose tweeted that he would prefer players pirate No More Robots’ games rather than buying keys on G2A — a sentiment Wube Software agreed with. G2A most recently offered to produce a key-blocking tool that would allow developers to deny illicitly obtained keys from being sold on the platform, but developers saw this as a non-solution, as it required devs to do the work of preventing theft rather than G2A itself.
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