Last summer, Factorio developers Wube Software became the only developer to take game key marketplace G2A up on a brow-raising offer: G2A promised it would pay ten times the value of losses from illegitimately obtained keys sold on its store. The ensuing audit has resulted in a payment of $39,600 to Wube, accounting for nearly 200 keys sold through G2A.
Wube approached G2A with 321 keys for Factorio, sold in a three-month window after the building sim's launch, that it deemed illegitimate after incurring chargeback costs for each. 198 were found to be sold through G2A, with the remaining 123 assumed to have been sold through other vendors.
Both Wube and G2A responded to inquiries regarding the process from our sister site GamesIndustry.biz. The two companies have clarified that although G2A had initially pitched ten times compensation as hinging on an independent audit, both parties agreed to an internal audit. G2A claims this was because auditing firms it approached would not allow Wube and G2A to disclose the results of the audit. Scott Klonan, manager of PR, community, and support for Wube, said this agreement was reached after "over six months with no progress" on G2A's part, leaving it "up to them to determine another way to fulfill their promise."
Klonan tells GamesIndustry.biz that Wube has received the payment and is satisfied with the results of the audit. Still, Klonan notes that "if the offer was not 10x the chargeback" Wube likely would not have reached out, saying the time investment is "probably not worth the monetary compensation" to a developer for anything less. Wube has seen success in reducing fraudulent key purchases after switching to using a Humble widget for sales and by reducing the number of keys it gives to "dodgy, often fake influencers," Klonan says.
G2A, meanwhile, frames the result of the audit as a testament to the security of its oft-criticized business model. In a statement to Polygon, a G2A spokesperson says it "took too long to recognize that a small number of individuals were abusing our Marketplace," but that the criticism "was the wake-up call we needed[.]"
All that said, the ten-times rate appears to be a one-time deal, and though G2A promises to make good on further cases of fraud brought to its attention, the onus of proof will depend on developers. "The gaming developer community has our solidarity and sympathies on this issue, and we want to continue building bridges," reads a post about the payment to Wube from G2A. "With our main point being made, about the seriousness of fraud in the industry, from now on we will compensate developers the full value of any chargeback fees they incurred for any keys sold via G2A Marketplace, if they are able to prove they were illegitimate."