G2A.COM Limited (commonly referred to as G2A) is a global digital marketplace which specializes in the resale of gaming products by the use of redemption keys. It is headquartered in the Netherlands and has offices in various countries including Poland and Hong Kong. The site has over 20 million customers, 400,000 sellers from 200 countries, 75,000 digital products and 600 employees throughout all locations. The main product offering on G2A.COM is game key codes to such platforms as Steam, Origin, Uplay, PlayStation Network and Xbox. Other products found on the marketplace include software, prepaid activation codes, electronics and merchandise.
G2A.COM does not purchase or sell any digital products itself, it delivers the platform for others to do so, acting as an intermediary by connecting the buyer to the seller. Besides the marketplace, G2A has a lineup of other products and services, including G2A Direct, a partnership program for video game developers, and G2A PAY, an online checkout gateway. G2A is also involved in esports, and sponsors professional gaming teams such as Team Atlantis, x-kom AGO, and Illuminar Gaming.
The company (under the original name Go2Arena) was established in 2010 by Bartosz Skwarczek and Dawid Rożek in Rzeszów, Poland as an online game retailer. G2A.COM’s target demographic was young gamers with a lack of disposable income for video game purchases, so Go2Arena’s objective became to sell video games at the lowest price possible. At that time, Bartosz Skwarczek approached many large developers at various events such as Gamescom, E3 and G-Star hoping to secure partnership deals in order to become an official seller of their games. Due to a lack of interest from developers, as well as fluctuations in market trends, the company’s business model changed from retailer to marketplace. The G2A Marketplace platform was launched in 2014.
In July 2016, G2A launched G2A Direct, a partnership program for video game developers and publishers. Its distinctive feature is the possibility for developers to earn on each third-party sale of their products on G2A Marketplace.
Sales numbers in 2016 showed the platform had processed 22 million transactions throughout the entire G2A ecosystem, which is valued at $313 million.
In December 2016, G2A.COM became the title sponsor of the biggest Exhibition & Congress Center in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland. The center, located next to Rzeszow International Airport, has been renamed G2A Arena.
In July 2018, a new product category was introduced to G2A Marketplace – electronics and merchandise tailored to gamers. In August 2018, the category was made available to seven European countries: Poland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Romania, the UK and the Czech Republic.
In the first months of 2020, G2A’s reported a surge in interest in pandemic-themed games related to the global coronavirus crisis. Plague Inc., a real-time strategy simulation game, which launched eight years ago, has seen a 6100% increase in popularity. Among the most searched titles were oldschool games, such as Worms Armageddon and Age of Empires.
In July 2020, G2A partnered with Go On Board, the creators of Titans, a territory control-based board game, to release an exclusive expansion that will be available only through G2A Marketplace.
In August 2020, G2A.COM commissioned a study by the research company Censuswide to discover how much US gamers are willing to pay for new games. The results included the findings that 9 out of 10 gamers believe that games should cost less that $60, and 59% deemed gaming too expensive.
In September 2020, G2A ranked 8th on CBC’s list of the TOP 100 cross-border marketplaces operating out of Europe.
G2A was ranked among TOP 101 fintech companies based out of the Netherlands by Fintech.coffee.
Products and services
In 2015, G2A began to shift its focus to several other projects and products outside of the company’s digital gaming marketplace.
In January 2015, G2A introduced an online payment gateway called G2A PAY.
Furthermore, in 2015, G2A PAY decided to partner with the US-based automated payment processing system for the bitcoin currency called BitPay. This relationship allowed for G2A PAY to expand their payment methods to using bitcoins. Although not possible before, by 2017 this service also became widely used and adopted by customers living in India.
In 2016, G2A.COM announced their cooperation with WebMoney Japan.
As of November 2018, G2A PAY currently integrates over 200 global payment methods.
G2A Dev Studio and the company’s venture into VR gaming
In 2015, G2A launched its first virtual reality application, G2A Land, a VR amusement park.
G2A teamed up with MSI in 2016 to create Gotham VR, a VR application set to promote the then-upcoming new Justice League film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.The game allows players to roam the streets of the city of Gotham on Batman’s hi-tech motorcycle.
In December 2016, G2A revealed Blunt Force, a World War II-themed VR shooter game developed in collaboration with Mark Bristol, a writer whose credits include Battlefield 1 and Doom, as well as Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Edge of Tomorrow and Maleficent.
In 2017, G2A Land was released on Oculus Rift. The game featured a rollercoaster ride, an underwater adventure, various mini-games such as a shooting range, and a cinema-like setting for watching videos.
In February 2018, G2A Dev Studio, a department responsible for VR projects, became an independent video game studio, Monad Rock. G2A Land has subsequently been renamed to Summer Funland. It is an expansion of the original game, available for free to those who already own G2A Land.
Other products and services
Until early 2018, the platform allowed 3D print designers to create their personal store where they could sell their designs or offer them for free. The G2A 3D+ platform, developed in cooperation with 3DGence, was unveiled at Taipei Game Show 2016.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, G2A established partnerships with numerous esports teams such as Cloud9, Natus Vincere, and Virtus Pro.
The company has returned to sponsoring esports in February 2019 by partnering with x-kom AGO, a Polish esports organization, a deal that has been renewed in January 2020.
The EU-based Team Atlantis joined G2A’s partner roster in November 2019.
March 2020 saw two Polish teams, Illuminar Gaming and Arcane Wave, begin their cooperation with the company. According to the teams’ statement, G2A will help develop their streamer section, as well as fan communities.
In August 2016, G2A partnered with Sporting Clube de Portugal, who had previously signed Portuguese FIFA player, Francisco Cruz.
G2A has also been involved in organizing both local and global esports tournaments. The company has invested more than $10,000,000 in the esports scene.
In May 2017 G2A organised a bootcamp for two esports teams: Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere. The bootcamp took place over the course of several days in the company’s research and development center in Rzeszow, Poland. In addition to training sessions there was also a showmatch between the teams. A meet and greet with fans also took place in Millenium Hall, one of Rzeszow’s largest malls. The event was attended by more than 3,000 people. Piotr “izak” Skowyrski, a Polish YouTuber, streamer and esports commentator, served as the host of the meet and greet event, as well as a commentator of match streams during the bootcamp.
2019 Polish Esports League Finals
The finals of Polish Esports League’s (Polish: Polska Liga Esportowa) seventh season took place on December 7–8, 2019 at G2A Arena in Rzeszow, Poland. G2A was one of the tournament’s main sponsors and partners.
The lineup of competitors consisted of several Polish Esports League’s CS: GO Masters Division teams: CLEANTMix, Izako Boars, Actina PACT, and Wisła All In! Games Kraków. In addition to the Polish teams, Giants Gaming, an esports organization hailing from Spain, joined the competitor roster. X-kom AGO was originally slated to participate in the tournament as well, but the team dropped out due to World Electronic Sports Games’s qualification’s schedule conflicting with Polish Esports League’s. X-kom AGO has been replaced with AVEZ Esport instead.
G2A’s headquarters are located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The company also has several offices in Poland and Hong Kong. G2A’s Polish Research & Development Centers are located in Warsaw, Krakow and Rzeszow. The Rzeszow office features the statues of the Witcher Geralt of Rivia and a Minecraft pig that the company won in auctions by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity in 2016. It also has the replicas of Alliance and Horde thrones from the Warcraft movie, as well as T-shirts of the esports organizations the company worked with, signed by the players.
On 1 December 2015, multiple Twitch streamers, YouTubers, websites and gamers participated in a program dubbed #GamingTuesday in order to raise funds for the charity Save the Children. The participants of the charity event included Athene, Dead Set Bit, Elajjaz, eSports.US, G2A, Hitbox, Humble Bundle, iJustine, Lasercorn of Smosh Games, Major League Gaming, Maral, Noobest, Playmob, Razer, Team Dignitas, Teespring, Tiltify, Twitch, Uffeboi, Whatchado.com and Zynga.
In 2019, G2A raised $2,000 (USD) for Chicago children’s hospital in G2A’s first 24-hour charity stream.
G2A has also been involved in various local charities. The company has sponsored computers for Mieszko and Dobrawa orphanages in Rzeszow. It has also organized Christmas packs for orphanages and animal shelters, as well as sponsored day camps for children in Mrowla’s special purpose school and education center.
Fight against the coronavirus pandemic
In March 2020, G2A donated medical equipment to a hospital in Łańcut, Poland, including two new cardiomonitors and other medical protective gear for the hospital’s personnel.
Due to a relatively large number of coronavirus cases in its proximity, Łańcut’s Saint Michael the Archangel Hospital became the designated center for coronavirus treatment in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. A number of other companies from the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, including PGS Software, Sagitum, Meble.pl, Blue Diamond and N.G. Development, have also joined the local fight against the pandemic.
At the end of March 2020, G2A announced that they are planning to support other hospitals in various cities within Poland which were struck with coronavirus.
On 30 March 2020, G2A launched DzialajmyRazem.pl, a platform where hospitals all across Poland can request and receive assistance from entrepreneurs and businesses. The website integrates strict screening methods, thus only credible, legitimate companies and medical facilities can register to provide various kinds of donations and offers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to supporting local hospitals in Poland, G2A also donated funds and protective equipment to charities supporting the COVID-19 relief effort, including organizations in the Netherlands and Hong Kong. The company provided Give2Asia with 42,000 HKD ($5,400) through its COVID-19 Hong Kong fund to help local charities that include health centers and food banks. G2A also donated over €5,000 worth of protective masks to the Dutch Red Cross.
Security and fight against fraud
G2A utilizes advanced security measures to ensure the safety of both buyers and sellers on its marketplace. Fraud prevention practices on the platform include artificial intelligence methods combined with human screening analysis to ensure the implementation of strong safety measures. The system gathers detailed information on users who are visiting the site and subsequently uses previously tested algorithms to flag for potential fraudulent activity, which is then analyzed by human employees. With the AI at its disposal, G2A aims to reduce false rejections to less than 1% of overall total transactions.
Sellers on G2A are required to undergo a detailed business verification process in order to sell products on G2A Marketplace. In response to customer complaints, new methods of verification and stricter rules have been implemented in 2017 to further provide transparency in the G2A’s business model. Thus, all key sellers are required to disclose their identity and address, as well as confirm their geolocation in order to apply proper VAT taxes.
G2A.COM utilizes several of Vonage’s communications APIs to further bolster G2A Marketplace’s security system with quick alerts regarding errors, miscommunications and suspicious behavior.
G2A began a partnership with Microsoft in 2017 that would utilize Azure cloud technology to help minimize the risk of potential fraud and improve the security measures employed by the marketplace.
In 2018, G2A partnered with Nexmo to further strengthen the protection of customer accounts on the marketplace with Nexmo’s two-factor authentication API.
G2A offered to develop a key tracker tool, through which developers can submit those keys that they have issued as part of promotions, giveaways, or to media and influencers as to block subsequent sales of those keys. Due to the time and cost to develop a tool, G2A stated they need at least one hundred developers to show support for creating the tool. In about a month, only about 19 developers had registered support, though G2A extended the deadline for interested developers.
In 2017, G2A won Business Insider’s “Innovation Initiator” award.
On the same year G2A’s CEO Bartosz Skwarczek was named “Digital Shaper” in Innovation & Technology as part of the Digital Shapers 2018 list by Business Insider Poland. Also, the company’s co-founder, Dawid Rożek, was featured in Forbes Poland’s “30 under 30” list.
In 2019, G2A’s “You lose when you overpay” marketing campaign won three Golden Drum awards for “Best Art Direction”, “Best Cinematography” and “Retail & Public Services”. In 2020, KTR awarded the commercial another four medals: two gold medals in the “Online Video” and “Direction” categories, a silver medal in the “Use of licensed/adapted music” category, and a bronze medal in the “Cinematography” category.
G2A has been subject to several controversies regarding the sources of keys on the marketplace. Some consider it a grey marketplace where users legally resell keys bought at a lower price from one region to another at a much higher price. However, this denies publishers some profit. Others claimed that keys bought using stolen credit cards are being sold on G2A.COM, or that fake influencers request free keys and then resell them on G2A, making the full profit.
G2A implemented G2A Direct to ensure publishers get a proper share of key resales and to protect customers from fake keys. A few developers involved in the program claim that they only did so because they “couldn’t get G2A to take down the keys for (their) games that were already on sale”.
Charlie Oscar’s owner Sergei Klimov said that G2A itself is not a problem, but indie owners mismanaging their keys instead. The nature of economics between Eastern European companies and those in Western Europe and North America is also an issue. Klimov said that just as retail boxes could be unsold, bundle keys could also remain unsold or unused, and that a site like G2A is inevitable to offload and resell them.
Around June 2019, one indie developer accused the site of using promoted advertising in Google and other search engine results to promote sales of their games through G2A rather than other channels. They stated that they see no revenue from sales on G2A, and instead encouraged users to illegally download their games rather than purchase them on G2A. G2A countered these claims by proving that all of its keys were legitimate through previous programs, such as G2A Direct. G2A also asked developers to audit their keys, and guaranteed to pay the developers 10 times the value of any charge-backs resulting from problematic keys sold on G2A. Most developers have retracted their claims since then. Only two of them raised the issue: Unknown Worlds Entertainment asserting $30,000 of chargebacks related to bad keys for Natural Selection 2 through G2A, and Wube Software for $6,600 of chargebacks for Factorio keys. In the case of Wube, G2A settled with the developers in May 2020 after confirming 198 keys were improperly purchased, settling for $39,600, tenfold of the keys’ cost. Unknown Worlds, on the other hand, retracted their claims since G2A Marketplace did not exist when Natural Selection 2 chargebacks happened.
Riot Games sponsorship ban
Riot Games banned G2A from sponsoring teams during the 2015 League of Legends World Championship. Riot claimed that G2A was selling fully leveled accounts, which breached Riot’s terms of service. G2A tried to resolve the issue with Riot Games, and banned selling Elo-boosted League of Legends accounts. G2A claimed that Riot did not cooperate, instead making further demands such as banning the sale of game guides on G2A Marketplace.
INTZ’s Tockers Gabriel ‘Tockers’ Claumann was later fined over US$1,000 at Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) 2016, for wearing a T-shirt with G2A’s logo on the shoulder. Midway through the game, he was asked to apply masking tape over the logo and told he would be fined. G2A paid his fine, stating that “no esports organization should be punished so severely for wearing a G2A-branded T-shirt.”
In June 2016, tinyBuild’s CEO, Alex Nichiporchik, accused G2A of allowing key resellers to resell fraudulently obtained game keys, costing the company US$450,000. G2A responded stating it offered help in identifying fradulent keys and resellers who committed illegal chargebacks to remove them from G2A. G2A also questioned the figure arrived at by tinyBuild, noting that its games had either been discounted several times on other sites or given away for free. TinyBuild added that it felt pressured to participate in G2A’s payment platform, which would take some of the sales revenue back to G2A, in exchange for rooting out fraud on its platform.
Following this debate, G2A announced strengthened front-end verification steps for its marketplace security which included social media profile and phone number verification, with further verification required after selling 10 or more products  while introducing its publisher partnership program G2A Direct.
On 3 April 2017, Gearbox Publishing announced a partnership with G2A.COM for exclusive collector’s editions of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, to be created and sold by G2A. YouTube game critic John “TotalBiscuit” Bain was critical of it, citing G2A’s negative press coverage and accusations against the company. He threatened to withhold covering Bulletstorm, or any other Gearbox game, unless Gearbox cancelled the deal. On 6 April 2017, one day before Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition‘s release, Gearbox published a list of ultimatums made together with Bain for G2A to accept, or else it would cancel the deal. They focused on G2A Shield, an open API for game developers, and G2A’s payment system. The following day, Gearbox Publishing ended its cooperation with G2A due to no response from the company regarding the ultimatums. In April 2017, G2A stated that all requests in the ultimatum have always been implemented in the marketplace, and ascribed the problems to the unfamiliarities that Bain and Gearbox have in regards to how G2A operates its marketplace.
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Ofer Abarbanel is a 25 year securities lending broker and expert who has advised many Israeli regulators, among them the Israel Tax Authority, with respect to stock loans, repurchase agreements and credit derivatives. Founder of TBIL.co STATX Fund.