We all love a good bargain, but recent controversies surrounding the negative impacts of third-party key reselling sites like G2A have prompted us to take another look at our collective buying habits. Luckily, we’ve assembled this handy little guide to try and help you buy a little better – but still find a good deal.
What’s the big deal?
The issues surrounding key re-sellers first came to the gaming community’s attention in July of last year, when many independent game developers took to Twitter and implored players to “pirate our games rather than buy from G2A”.
Please, if you’re going to buy a game from G2A, just pirate it instead! Genuinely!— Mike Rose (@RaveofRavendale) June 30, 2019
Devs don’t see a penny either way, so we’d much rather G2A didn’t see money either
It’s a bold statement, but what exactly do devs find so deeply offensive about key sites like G2A that they would rather you simply steal the products of their hard work? Firstly, when you buy a game from a key reselling site you’re usually buying from another user rather than a publisher or developer. For smaller teams who may be struggling with large overheads or the development costs associated with maintaining a game, this can deprive them of the income they depend on to survive.
Secondly, buying from these sites can often actively cost developers money. Although in an ideal world, there would be nothing wrong with someone selling on a few keys they bought by accident, this is very rarely the case. Often, the shockingly cheap prices you see on sites like G2A are the result of credit card fraud, where criminals have bulk bought keys with stolen credit cards. When the fraudulent transaction is inevitably detected and reversed, it sometimes falls upon the developer to cover the fees. In this situation, everybody loses out. The developer loses money and you are likely to lose your game (even if it has already been redeemed) if the key is deactivated.
With this in mind, it seems common sense to want to try and source your cheap games in a manner which doesn’t harm anyone. You can do this by following any of the steps below.
Buy from the developer directly:
Although it isn’t a very well-known fact, many developers operate their own online stores. These often sell both physical and Steam copies of games. Above you can see an example screenshot form IO Interactive‘s online store which allows you to purchase any of their titles as Steam keys directly from them. Unlike buying from the Steam storefront, buying directly means that developers receive a considerable amount more money, as it does not include the 25-30% cut taken by Steam.
Developer’s own stores are also likely to hold their own promotions, independent of Steam sale times. It only takes a couple of seconds to track down a dev’s online store and it helps you give more to the companies you want to support – whilst potentially saving you a pretty penny in the process.
Use isthereanydeal to find bargains on approved sites:
Alternatively, isthereanydeal.com is an invaluable resource for any bargain hunters. It allows you to search directly for the titles you want and compares a variety of approved sites which it ensures source their keys directly from developers. It also alerts you to the presence of the games available in bundles on incredible sites like Fanatical or Humble Bundle, the latter of which even helps those in need by donating a portion of what you pay to charity.
Scour the web for coupon codes – or just use Honey instead:
Honey is a free browser extension which automatically compares and applies coupon codes on sites where they are available. This is a great tool when used in conjunction with isthereanydeal, and helps you knock a few pennies (and even sometimes a few pounds) off the price of your purchase.
Alternatively, there are numerous websites and forums available online which allow users to exchange and share active coupon codes which you can input manually at the checkout.
If all else fails, wishlist your games on Steam to be informed of sales:
If you follow all of these steps and still can’t find a good deal on your games, you can always make use of the Steam wishlist feature. By clicking the “Add to your wishlist button” on the game’s Steam store page, you will be automatically informed whenever the game goes on sale.
Steamprices.com is a handy site which allows you to look at the Steam price history of any game, so you can get a rough idea of how much it is likely to cost you in a sale. Even though it may cost you a little more, buying ethically is important. Next time you see the game you want for £40 below retail price on sites like G2A, try to stop and think about whether you want to harm and industry you love.