In a world where video games are a lot more popular than actual sports, it’s only natural that supply of the products is in such high demand. Logically the answer to high demand prequels elevated supply, which in turn results in lower prices. Right? The thing though is this; game developers aren’t like other manufacturers. Games, unlike other products, cannot be mass produced. They require code writers, testers and several labour hours input. Thus the prices.
For many avid gamers however a good game might be priceless, but the same game at a cheaper price is everything.
GRAY MARKET RESELLERS
The gaming universe can be reduced to a business like any other. A business that responds to supply needs in the market. Enter resellers.
Resellers are merchants that acquire game codes from official publishers then make them available, with a varied selection, on their own platforms. Authorized resellers include the likes of Steam, Origin, Humble Bundle (that dedicates some of its profits to charity), Gog.com, Battle.net and Uplay.
These guys enable you to purchase, download and play the game you want on their site. You can also purchase a code elsewhere but still partake of it on the provided platform.
Most resellers are legitimate and have the backing of game developers as they play the role of retailer between the gamer and the publisher.
There are however those who aren’t exactly drinking the kool-aide.
These are the third party resellers; G2A, Kinguin and Games Deal.
Aka gray market merchants, these resellers aren’t really doing anything illegal. They are, however, not helping the greater good either.
Case in point- Games Deal offers an online shop that acts as a middle man between the customer and a mostly anonymous supplier. From whence the supplier acquires the keys can never truly be specified. All Games Deal needs you to be concerned with is the fact that ( according to their site) they regularly receive new stock within 2-3 working days.
One can speculate on the source of such keys. There have been instances where ‘gift keys’ from developers have been resold. Such is the case of Gravity Ghost games that usually came in pairs as an intended strategy to encourage a gamer’s non playing friends to take up the hobby. The extra keys have however been found resold online.
There are other common cases, such as of promo codes being resold and the anonymous purchase of enormous numbers of codes days before their official release.
Such keys can only be sold and bought on platforms the likes of Games Deal.
Could such activities be considered piracy? Perpaps in the mildest form. However, it stands that they result in the massive loss of profits for game developers.
And, albeit not acting as direct proprietors, forums such as Games Deal could be held responsible for such abuse of business ethics.
In response to gray market reselling, developers like Ubisoft and EA have been at the forefront protesting these dubious hustling tactics. As of two years ago, they have been banning codes bought illegitimately whilst educating the public on the importance of following the right procedure for purchase.