G2A.com is a gray market website that offers the ability to buy game codes at a discount. But, is G2A safe to use? Is it a legitimate website? In this post, we’ll cover the pros and cons of using G2A to help you decide if you should use their service.
Right now, G2A is one of the most popular digital marketplaces for game codes. Even so, though, questions regarding the safety that G2A offers, as well as the legitimacy of the game codes sold through the platform, are asked quite frequently.
You can boil those questions down to two smaller questions: “Is G2A safe?” and “Is G2A legit?”
You will, by reading this guide, learn the answers to those questions. With the answers to those questions in mind, you can determine whether or not purchasing game codes from G2A is a wise choice.
Table of Contents
1. What is G2A?
3. Where Do the Codes Come From?
So, What Is G2A?
G2A is a digital marketplace that offers a wide variety of gaming-related products. Some of these products include game codes, software codes, computer hardware, and board games.
Unlike other digital marketplaces that sell game codes – Humble Bundle, for example – G2A, itself, doesn’t actually sell anything. Rather, every single item that G2A distributes is offered and sold by a reseller.
A reseller is someone who acquires a product – a game code, for example – and then sells that product to someone else. None of the game codes that you purchase are acquired by G2A, nor are they officially sold by the publisher or distributor of the game. Since this is the case, G2A is a “gray market”.
A gray market is a market that offers new products – in this case, unused game codes – that are sold outside of authorized distribution channels.
For game codes, an authorized distribution channel is a marketplace that developers authorize to distribute their game. Some of the most popular authorized distribution channels include Steam and Good Old Games, along with many others.
As a gray market, G2A tends to offer game codes at lower prices than normal. But, you won’t find the same support system that authorized distribution channels offer.
How Does G2A Work?
Every game code that you purchase through G2A is, as mentioned, sold by a reseller. For many game codes sold through G2A, you will find multiple sellers.
Each seller offers their own price, along with a unique profile name and feedback rating. You can use this information to determine whether or not the seller is worth purchasing from. Right after that, you can make the purchase.
Every payment flows through the G2A PAY payment gateway which, according to G2A, is “extremely trustworthy” and supports over “200 global and local payment methods, in 80 currencies from over 170 countries”.
You can make the payment and receive the purchased game code. To activate the game code, and acquire your game, you must log into the platform the code is associated with. Some of the most common platforms include Steam, UPlay, Epic Games Launcher, and Origin.
Once you’re logged in, you can input the code, and start downloading the game.
Where Do G2A’s Game Codes Come From?
The game codes sold through G2A are, according to a TechAdvisor Q&A with G2A employees, often bought during sales and promotions for various game marketplaces, or directly from the distributor.
Some insist this isn’t entirely accurate. The developer of “Defender’s Quest” made a post, back in 2016, suggesting that many of the keys sold through G2A are acquired using stolen credit cards. According to that same TechAdvisor article, a large portion of G2A’s keys are acquired from regions with lower prices, then sold to people who live in regions with higher prices.
(Similar complaints have been made against other gray marketplace websites—like Kinguin.net—as well.)
For those two reasons, many of the game codes sold through G2A cost less than official game codes sold through authorized distribution channels.
What Are The Benefits Of Buying Game Codes From G2A?
The most notable benefit G2A offers is price. A game code sold through G2A will, more often than not, cost less than it would through Steam, Humble Bundle, or some other service.
Many are attracted to G2A, for that reason alone. To go along with that, G2A is quite popular and, as a result, appears to be safer and more secure than similar marketplaces.
What Are The Risks?
Even though G2A is, for many customers, perfectly safe, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any risks. The most significant risk is twofold: purchasing a faulty game code that does not work and being unable to get your money back.
According to G2A, this is unlikely, since the platform does “everything possible to ensure that all products available on G2A Marketplace are valid, legitimate and legally obtained.” To go along with that, if you’ve purchased a game code, only to find that it isn’t as described, then you make use of G2A’s “Money Back Guarantee”.
If you go online, you can find stories from users who requested a refund, only to be met with a challenging refund process. The process, according to those users, requires that you report the fraud to your local police authority, and then send a scanned version of the police report to G2A.
Many G2A sellers are anonymous. This makes filing a proper police report quite challenging. Since many users cannot file a police report, they do not receive their money back.
Some users report going to PayPal and asking for a “chargeback”, due to not receiving the product they paid for. According to those users, this always works, but G2A may, as a result, shut down your account.
Is G2A Safe?
No matter what, when you use G2A, there’s always a risk that what you buy may not work. Even though G2A offers a “Money Back Guarantee”, making use of this guarantee can be very difficult. Since this is the case, G2A is fairly unsafe.
If you compare G2A with authorized game code distribution services, such as Humble Bundle, this becomes even more true. Authorized services offer both the certainty that your code will work, as well as an easy refund process.
G2A offers neither of those and, as a result, is far less safe than traditional online video game marketplaces.
Is G2A Legit?
The services that G2A offers are legitimate. However, as you’ve read earlier, the game codes sold through G2A are a different story.
You can find many positive testimonials from happy customers. You can also find plenty of negative testimonials from unhappy customers.
If you look at those negative testimonials, you’ll find they’re often due to one of three reasons: 1) the game code did not work, 2) the game code worked, but was later revoked, making the game unplayable, or 3) the process of refunding the broken product was extremely challenging.
As a marketplace, G2A is legitimate. But, some of the products through G2A are illegitimate, or were acquired through illegitimate means.
Should You Buy Game Codes From G2A?
Earlier, when we asked “Is G2A safe?” and “Is G2A legit?” we came to a mixed conclusion. The safety and legitimacy of G2A is mixed.
Even though many people have had no problems with G2A, there are always risks. Risks that are further compounded by the unethical means through which game codes are often acquired.
If you are comfortable with those risks, along with the questionable ethics, then go for it. If you prefer buying a game and knowing that it will work, while supporting the developers directly, then stay away.