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G2A admits it sold stolen game keys

UPDATE: "Totally committed to tackling any incidents of fraud."

UPDATE 1.30pm UK: G2A has forwarded the following statement intended to show clearer contrition than in the blog post it published last night. It does not include the words apology or sorry.

"We would be the first to admit that, in our formative years as a company, we took too long to recognise that a small number of individuals were abusing our Marketplace," a G2A spokesperson told Eurogamer. "However, the criticism we received was the wake-up call we needed, and over the last years we have been totally committed to tackling any incidents of fraud on our site. Today we [sic] some of the most sophisticated proprietary anti-fraud AI technology of any online marketplace for digital products."

ORIGINAL STORY 12.30pm UK: After years of shrugging off claims it sold stolen keys, grey-market reseller G2A has admitted to shifting copies which were "illegally obtained".

The disclosure comes as part of a backfired plan to prove its innocence, which has also cost the company around $40,000.

Last year, G2A attempted to dampen longstanding concerns it did not give a damn where the mysteriously-cheap keys it sold actually came from. It laid out a limited-time offer designed to grab headlines after a round of bad publicity - saying it would pay game developers 10 times their costs if it was proven G2A sold stolen keys for a particular game.

The vast majority of developers ignored the offer. But Factorio developer Wube Software took G2A at its word.

Nearly a full year later, G2A has come forward to say... yes, after looking into things, it had indeed sold keys for Factorio which were stolen. 198 of them, in fact.

In a blog update titled "Keeping our promise", G2A said it had held an internal investigation (the original plan was for it to be independent) and found the majority of suspect Factorio keys reported to it by Wube Software had been shifted by its own site.

Per the terms of the offer, G2A will now pay Wube Software $39,600.

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"When we launched this offer, we wanted to send a clear message to the gaming community that fraud hurts all parties," G2A stated. "As we spell out in this blog, fraud directly hurts individuals who buy illegitimate keys, it hurts gaming developers and it ultimately hurts G2A because we are forced - as the transaction facilitator - to cover costs related to the sale.

"We wanted to amplify that message and capture people's attention, so pledged to compensate developers 10 times the value of any chargeback fees they incurred, despite the fact that we had nothing to with the illegal acquisition of these keys.

"The gaming developer community has our solidarity and sympathies on this issue, and we want to continue building bridges. 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."

G2A's update offers no plan to stop stolen keys being sold on its marketplace. There's no suggestion of re-opening this offer to other developers for an investigation into other game keys. There's no apology of any kind.

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