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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Buying keys cheap from a reseller

Default Buying keys cheap from a reseller

September 9th, 2017, 11:45
Maybe we should first define what an "unauthorized" reseller actually means in this discussion.

I think no one here condones selling keys from questionable sources without caring whether they originate from credit card fraud, stealing them from retail boxes, and other similar illegal methods.

On the other hand, if I acquire keys legally (e.g. by purchasing bundles) and decide to sell them again, then it should be possible (and my good right) to use decent reselling platforms to do so. Yes, publishers and developers might not like it for obvious reasons, but I see no moral obligation to oblige to their desires.

I also have no problem with resellers who use regional pricing to their advantage. Globalization is a double-edged sword and it's hypocritical of publishers to complain about reselling keys from other regions, but at the same they outsource jobs to where there is cheap labor. Heck, people in my country even re-import cars because it's often cheaper to first ship them to a neighboring country and bring them back than to directly buy them here.
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September 9th, 2017, 12:12
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
I don't want to repeat my whole wall of text yet again.

Just one thing: If you want to make sure you buy a key from a legitimate reseller use:

www.keyradar.com

This site has a database, did some investigation and let's you check if a page is actually authorized or not. And while I don't necessarily judge whether you pirate games or buy from these resellers and harm publishers/developers by doing either, I don't think that on a page like RPGwatch we should have advertisement for piracy/resellers.
And CDKeys is listed as an unauthorized reseller there.

pibbur who personally chooses to stay away from it. And who doesn't feel discriminated by some regional price differences.
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September 9th, 2017, 13:05
Originally Posted by abharsair View Post
I also have no problem with resellers who use regional pricing to their advantage. Globalization is a double-edged sword and it's hypocritical of publishers to complain about reselling keys from other regions, but at the same they outsource jobs to where there is cheap labor. Heck, people in my country even re-import cars because it's often cheaper to first ship them to a neighboring country and bring them back than to directly buy them here.
While it is certainly true that publishers outsource some of their work to cheaper countries we have to keep two things in mind again:

1. You never know why the key was that cheap. Regional pricing might just be one reason.
2. The Game Industry is probably one of the industries which outsources the least.
Especially when we are talking about the programming part (the manufacturing of physical goods like boxes and CE content will outsourced for sure, but they aren't part of the discussion here).
Yes, big publishers certainly outsource one department or another. It's more rarely that they outsource it to a cheaper region though. They might just have divisions in cheaper reagions though as they bought smaller companies all around the world.
And once you look at companies of smaller sizes there is hardly any outsourceing going on.
So this argument is only partially valid for some AAA games. Not for the majority of games. Especially not for games we are talking about on rpgwatch.
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September 9th, 2017, 13:41
Originally Posted by abharsair View Post
On the other hand, if I acquire keys legally (e.g. by purchasing bundles) and decide to sell them again, then it should be possible (and my good right) to use decent reselling platforms to do so. Yes, publishers and developers might not like it for obvious reasons, but I see no moral obligation to oblige to their desires.
I think this is pretty much a borderline case.
Personally I don't agree to you and would welcome it if they were, for some magical reason, not resellable.

Now my reasoning for this is the following:
-If you resold it as a person on ebay you would be personally accountable for this keys. Everyone could see that it was you who sold the key and any feedback would go to your profile. Everyone is also aware that this is bought from an individual, not by a official distributor.
This is all not true when it's sold via a key reseller. Because of their heavy investment into marketing and advertisement people have the impression that these are official resellers and the argument always is "I had no problems with the keys I bought, they must be legit". Also your key might be sold next to someone who bought 100 keys via credit card fraud, and another whoch used a bot to purchase that bundle 200 times for reselling.
-The bundle is not intended to be resold. It's an offer basically from the company to the end customer. And it can only work if it is used that way.
In fact it's stated in their terms of use that you aren't allowed to use their keys for commercial purposes.
Once people start reselling it in big amounts, whether being individuals or professionals who purchase hundreds or thousands of bundles the system collapses, basically making this sale is a sell-out after which almost no sales are possible anymore.
Me personally I always go with "if everyone did it, then…".
That goes for throwing trash into nature (not a problem if only one of all humans does this) as well as working in an open office and yelling at your desk neighbour or bringing smelly food. If everyone did it, the situation would be bad for everyone.
And that's no difference with reselling bundles. If everyone did it, and professionals join in using this opportunity purely for reselling, then it won't work anymore. In effect leaving the developers/publishers with the decision whether they want to make a sell-out now after which they can't sell the product anymore (if reselling was used by everyone and everyone bought from resellers).

There is also this story about it:
http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/a…ps-profit.aspx

After which one reseller also added their terms of use that reselling bundled keys is not allowed anymore:
http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/a…ndle-keys.aspx

But of course they cannot verify where a key was bought. So it's not more than a "please don't do it" request.
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September 9th, 2017, 14:52
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
I think this is pretty much a borderline case.

Personally I don't agree to you and would welcome it if they were, for some magical reason, not resellable.



Now my reasoning for this is the following:

-If you resold it as a person on ebay you would be personally accountable for this keys. Everyone could see that it was you who sold the key and any feedback would go to your profile. Everyone is also aware that this is bought from an individual, not by a official distributor.

This is all not true when it's sold via a key reseller. Because of their heavy investment into marketing and advertisement people have the impression that these are official resellers and the argument always is "I had no problems with the keys I bought, they must be legit". Also your key might be sold next to someone who bought 100 keys via credit card fraud, and another whoch used a bot to purchase that bundle 200 times for reselling.

-The bundle is not intended to be resold. It's an offer basically from the company to the end customer. And it can only work if it is used that way.

In fact it's stated in their terms of use that you aren't allowed to use their keys for commercial purposes.

Once people start reselling it in big amounts, whether being individuals or professionals who purchase hundreds or thousands of bundles the system collapses, basically making this sale is a sell-out after which almost no sales are possible anymore.

Me personally I always go with "if everyone did it, then…".

That goes for throwing trash into nature (not a problem if only one of all humans does this) as well as working in an open office and yelling at your desk neighbour or bringing smelly food. If everyone did it, the situation would be bad for everyone.

And that's no difference with reselling bundles. If everyone did it, and professionals join in using this opportunity purely for reselling, then it won't work anymore. In effect leaving the developers/publishers with the decision whether they want to make a sell-out now after which they can't sell the product anymore (if reselling was used by everyone and everyone bought from resellers).



There is also this story about it:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/a…ps-profit.aspx



After which one reseller also added their terms of use that reselling bundled keys is not allowed anymore:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/a…ndle-keys.aspx



But of course they cannot verify where a key was bought. So it's not more than a "please don't do it" request.


I understand your point of view.

However, think of the old days of cds for games.

I was able to buy and sell games since they were cds.

I have no issues with people buying bundles and selling keys.
I think Steam has removed a whole thing people did and a whole market of second hand games.

Yes these did not give money to the devs, but it allowed people who finished games to sell them on to people who couldn't afford them.

So I have no issues with that.

Yes, some may be from credit card fraud, but how do you know that that's a large part of them ?

Also, you don't seem to care that this is the way for second hand keys to be sold basically in today's world.


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September 9th, 2017, 15:01
If I buy a game on a physical media, I am allowed to sell it again as used goods, just like I am allowed to sell any other object I own. The price of it depends on the market.
If I buy a game digitally, then I am no longer allowed to sell it as used goods?
As far as I know, by law, it would come down to ownership. If I own it, I can sell it. If I own a physical key, I can sell it. If I own a digital key, I can sell it.
I can also give a digital key I own to someone else.

The thing is of course, once you have registered the key at for example Steam, the ownership thing becomes a bit different as I apparently don't own the game. I only 'own' the right to use and play that game. And that right cannot be sold.
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September 9th, 2017, 15:25
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
If I buy a game on a physical media, I am allowed to sell it again as used goods, just like I am allowed to sell any other object I own. The price of it depends on the market.
If I buy a game digitally, then I am no longer allowed to sell it as used goods?
As far as I know, by law, it would come down to ownership. If I own it, I can sell it. If I own a physical key, I can sell it. If I own a digital key, I can sell it.
I can also give a digital key I own to someone else.

The thing is of course, once you have registered the key at for example Steam, the ownership thing becomes a bit different as I apparently don't own the game. I only 'own' the right to use and play that game. And that right cannot be sold.


Yup, that's what I meant.
In the end it's up to the user to decide how to use the keys they buy.

If someone ends up buying 100 keys and reselling at higher prices it's the same as people who lined up for PS4s and then sold on eBay for $3k…


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September 9th, 2017, 15:30
Let's also not forget the widespread abuse of video game developers by the same fat cat publishers opposing video game price competition. Specifically The Horrible World Of Video Game Crunch details the abuse foisted on developers by video game publishers:

"Spend any amount of time talking to people who make video games and you’ll hear thousands of stories… Crunch, as it’s called, has become status quo for the video game industry…

"Conversations about the morality and necessity of crunch have dominated the industry for over a decade now, ramping up in 2004, when the game designer Erin Hoffman wrote an exposé about practices at video game publisher Electronic Arts. Hoffman, who went by the name EA Spouse, wrote about how various forms of crunch were destroying her significant other’s life…

"Today, however, things haven’t changed much. Developers regularly lament having to suffer through unrelenting crunch cycles where they go weeks or months without seeing their families…

"Why does this happen?… Pretend, for a second, that you’re the head of an independent video game company… One day, you get a call from the publisher financing your game: turns out your hero didn’t test well with focus groups, so they want you to completely redo all of his design, art, and voice acting.

"[A] prominent critic of game development crunch, says she believes unpaid overtime is the result of poor planning and bad management, not an inevitable part of game-making. One of the issues, she says, is that the people on top of the food chain view crunch as something standard and inevitable rather than a toxic, avoidable practice.

Video Game Publishers. They abuse video game developers. They turn around and abuse gamers by preventing video game price competition. Meanwhile they're laughing all the way to the bank.

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September 9th, 2017, 16:08
Remember when Microsoft tried to implement their DRM system for the Xbox One during its pre-release and the furor those plans caused? Preventing people from selling their unused Steam keys which they legally obtained by accusing them of being potential fraudsters is pretty much the same concept, except it looks less scummy than what Microsoft tried to pull off.
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September 9th, 2017, 16:40
Erm… Can I buy then resell lootboxes and keys from Star Trek Online or Destiny?
I mean, I can resell chips in casinos so logically I should be able this to.

What about DLC scams? Can I resell those b3ecause I don't have the required game for some horse armor?
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September 9th, 2017, 16:52
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Erm… Can I buy then resell lootboxes and keys from Star Trek Online or Destiny?
I mean, I can resell chips in casinos so logically I should be able this to.

What about DLC scams? Can I resell those b3ecause I don't have the required game for some horse armor?
Actually things are worse than you might think. Virtual game currencies are now being used for illegal money laundering (see, for example, Virtual Game Currencies Are The New Tool For Criminals.)

And you guessed it. Video game publishers are also profiting from the video game currency transactions used in these money laundering schemes.

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September 9th, 2017, 17:17
I find it hard to compare it to the situation over 10 years ago with physical games.

Because they are digital games now, it's also possible that games are as cheap as never before. Ofc that excludes most AAA titles at release.
But back in the day, when we still had physical media it was a great deal if you got a "free game" as an addition to a game magazine you bought for 7€ or so.
Or I remember that the Gold Games Collection were a big deal in germany.
At the end of the 90s/early 2000s you could buy a collection of 20 Games or so for 50DM or 30€. A few of these games were just a year old (most were older or garbage). It was still a great deal. That's silly from todays perspective as the worth of a game decreases drastically mostly within one year. And in steam sales or bundles you get games for just a few cents (if you buy several games for one euro/dollar). So on average prices dropped massively due to being digital (as mentioned excluding release prices for AAA games and consoles)

Virtual currencies on the other end are abused to some degree ofc. But again we have to be aware that the vast majority of companies we talk about regularly have no part in that.
Also the article is actually about crimials abusing these systems. Not about the any game companies. It even states:

There are several ways for criminals to obtain large amounts of in-game currency. They can exploit accounts by infecting computers with malware to steal login credentials. Another way is to purchase in-game currencies with stolen financial information such as credit cards or PayPal accounts. All of this information is available for purchase on the deep web.
Although this market is unregulated, videogame developers do not take kindly to people buying and selling in-game currencies. Accounts will get banned eventually.
And may I remind you: It costs a lot of money to pay people supervising these systems, catching abuse and there are still huge costs connected with chargeback due to stolen credit cards.
If a fraudulent purchase is made by a stolen credit card, it's not just the worth of the game which is at stake here. Once chargebacked there are chargeback costs for the vendor of several dollars per chargeback. For example the factorio developers had to pay 20$ per chargeback.

Of course this goes back to the original issue again and not the ingame currency one:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/4275…80539828711967

After our steam release we experienced much of the same issues as many other indie developers and publishers in these regards, so I'd like to explain the problem, our experience, and some advice for any others.

In short the problem is fraud, and the process goes like this:

A purchase is made on our website using a stolen credit card, hacked paypal etc.
The purchaser sells the key on the grey market within a couple of days.
Some weeks later the owner of the credit card notices, and issues a chargeback to us.

In many cases these people use a automated bot to deal with automatically purchasing the game and trying all of details in their credit card database, and then posting these keys to these 3rd party websites. We only saw this fraud happening for us after our steam release, because the real money is in selling steam keys - not many people care about website keys. On our side, the cost is very large, each chargeback costs roughly $20 in fines, effectively a negative sale, and we were seeing upwards of 10% chargebacks on our website transactions. Also each chargeback notice had to be handled on a case-by-case basis, at one point I was spending 12 or more hours a week dealing with individual purchases.

A common saying I hear is that this isn't a problem, because 'The devs just revoke the keys', well that simply isn't true, we don't get notice of a fraudulent payment right away, it can take upwards of 8 weeks for the chargeback to be issued, at which time the key is obviously going to be already sold for profit and forgotten. We still revoke these keys, often to the dismay of the purchaser.
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September 9th, 2017, 18:00
Video game publishers need to clean their own houses. They've got plenty to occupy them doing that rather than padding their profits by preventing legitimate price competition.

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September 9th, 2017, 18:38
I'll repeat myself here but please be aware, it's not just "They vs Us".

If you accept that there is a distinction and also purchase games from different developers on different "ways" (or pirate them) conciously, then ok.
But I don't think that you should put them all in the same basket just because at some point some publisher/developer did something you don't like, treat every one of them the same way, harming everyone in the process.
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September 9th, 2017, 18:45
Well, I think the whole "authorized" and "unauthorized" reseller thing is complete bullshit for starters. Of course, the publishers -after successfully shoving DRM in the form of Steam and other such clients down our throats- want even more control and define the rules who is allowed to sell their precious goods.

[It almost reminds me of US foreign politics where "who is a terrorist" is defined solely by current geopolitical interests (like how all of a sudden Al-Nusra is no longer a terrorist organization because they are fighting Assad, the common enemy).]

Anyway, let's compare this to the pre-digital era. Was the little game store down the street an "authorized" reseller? Of course not. They did not get their games directly from the publishers but usually from distributors. So were those shops all "illegal"? What a silly notion…

Of course, there were electronics shops especially in far east cities like e.g. Hong Kong who sold stolen copies or plain forged copies as if they were original games. That was definitely illegal. No questions about it.

But is it illegal if a shop like German Okaysoft.de sells imported physical copies from the UK? Why would that be illegal in a "free trade" EU? I bought a lot of copies from them back in the day because original UK games were a) guaranteed to have the original English language versions and b) they were cheaper than DE games. Two birds, one stone.

Even back then gigs like Activision tried to crack down on these practices. They had quite a few legal battles with shops like Okaysoft.de because Activision did not want anyone to be able to buy UK copies of their games in Germany. Guess what. They lost.

So, to get back to the digital age… the differentiation between authorized and unauthorized is way too much of a broad stroke to me and it is an arbitrary differentiation made up by the publishers.

To me, CDKeys is like Okaysoft.de. To the best of my knowledge, from everything I have read on the web, they operate by buying physical retail copies in bulk from warehouses in certain countries where the game prices are low, scan the keys, throw the box in the trash and sell the keys online.
There is absolutely nothing illegal about that and I would like to see irrefutable proof to the contrary before someone calls CDKeys an "illegal" store, please.

That said, I am sure that there are stores which operate on a less legal basis (like the retail Hong Kong stores from my example above) or who don't enforce or control the legality of all of their transaction.
Examples would be G2A and Kinguin and I avoid these stores for that reason because I definitely do not want to support any illegal activities or buy a key from -sorry for the cliche- Andres Garcia from La Paz who stole the copy from a local store.

Finally, to put all of this in perspective, I currently own ~450 games on Steam, ~120 on GOG, ~45 on Origin, ~20 on uPlay, and a handful on B.net.
Out of all of those games I have bought maybe… five(?) keys from CDKeys because they have had a really good deal.
But I will definitely continue to do so and not be deterred by some FUD from devs and publishers who try to criminalize every gamer who buys games from sources that do not maximize their profits.
They need to show me some real proof that CDKeys is peddling stolen keys and then I would stop using them immediately, of course.
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September 9th, 2017, 18:55
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
Well, I think the whole "authorized" and "unauthorized" reseller thing is complete bullshit for starters. Of course, the publishers -after successfully shoving DRM in the form of Steam and other such clients down our throats- want even more control and define the rules who is allowed to sell their precious goods.

[It almost reminds me of US foreign politics where "who is a terrorist" is defined solely by current geopolitical interests (like how all of a sudden Al-Nusra is no longer a terrorist organization because they are fighting Assad, the common enemy).]

Anyway, let's compare this to the pre-digital era. Was the little game store down the street an "authorized" reseller? Of course not. They did not get their games directly from the publishers but usually from distributors. So were those shops all "illegal"? What a silly notion…

Of course, there were electronics shops especially in far east cities like e.g. Hong Kong who sold stolen copies or plain forged copies as if they were original games. That was definitely illegal. No questions about it.

But is it illegal if a shop like German Okaysoft.de sells imported physical copies from the UK? Why would that be illegal in a "free trade" EU? I bought a lot of copies from them back in the day because original UK games were a) guaranteed to have the original English language versions and b) they were cheaper than DE games. Two birds, one stone.

Even back then gigs like Activision tried to crack down on these practices. They had quite a few legal battles with shops like Okaysoft.de because Activision did not want anyone to be able to buy UK copies of their games in Germany. Guess what. They lost.

So, to get back to the digital age… the differentiation between authorized and unauthorized is way too much of a broad stroke to me and it is an arbitrary differentiation made up by the publishers.

To me, CDKeys is like Okaysoft.de. To the best of my knowledge, from everything I have read on the web, they operate by buying physical retail copies in bulk from warehouses in certain countries where the game prices are low, scan the keys, throw the box in the trash and sell the keys online.
There is absolutely nothing illegal about that and I would like to see irrefutable proof to the contrary before someone calls CDKeys an "illegal" store, please.

That said, I am sure that there are stores which operate on a less legal basis (like the retail Hong Kong stores from my example above) or who don't enforce or control the legality of all of their transaction.
Examples would be G2A and Kinguin and I avoid these stores for that reason because I definitely do not want to support any illegal activities or buy a key from -sorry for the cliche- Andres Garcia from La Paz who stole the copy from a local store.

Finally, to put all of this in perspective, I currently own ~450 games on Steam, ~120 on GOG, ~45 on Origin, ~20 on uPlay, and a handful on B.net.
Out of all of those games I have bought maybe… five(?) keys from CDKeys because they have had a really good deal.
But I will definitely continue to do so and not be deterred by some FUD from devs and publishers who try to criminalize every gamer who buys games from sources that do not maximize their profits.
They need to show me some real proof that CDKeys is peddling stolen keys and then I would stop using them immediately, of course.


I agree with this completely.

Kordanor, any reason why you think these are credit card frauds ? I mean, do you have any evidence?


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September 9th, 2017, 19:05
What about all the cases of children running up huge charges on supposedly free games specifically directed at children? Pretty darn close to, if not actual, fraud. Particularly since children are the targets of the games and advertising for the games.

Again, video game publishers have plenty to clean up in their own houses without padding their profits by preventing legitimate price competition.

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September 9th, 2017, 19:09
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I agree with this completely.

Kordanor, any reason why you think these are credit card frauds ? I mean, do you have any evidence?

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No, I don't have any evidence that cdkeys purchased their games via fraud.
All I know, coming from keyradar.com in this case (and being excluded from authorized reseller lists) is that they are not authorized. But I don't know where they get their wares from (and don't have any anecdotal references either. Proofing will be hard anyways if you aren't a developer yourself)

Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
What about all the cases of children running up huge charges on supposedly free games specifically directed at children? Pretty darn close to, if not actual, fraud. Particularly since children are the targets of the games and advertising for the games.

Again, video game publishers have plenty to clean up in their own houses without padding their profits by preventing legitimate price competition.

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And again that's irrelevant for the majority of games and companies we talk about on rpgwatch.
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Mostly playing Indie titles, including Strategy, Tactics and Roleplaying-Games.
And here is a list of all games I ever played.
Kordanor is offline

Kordanor

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Wastelander

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September 9th, 2017, 19:26
So let me get this straight. You consider allegations of credit card fraud to be relevant to discussions of Cdkeys even though you have no evidence linking credit card fraud to Cdkeys; but discussions of publishers who profit from unauthorized charges by children in supposedly free games directed at children such as Angry Birds (published by Rovio Entertainment, Activision, LucasArts, JoyCity Corporation, and Chillingo are not relevant.

Ridiculous.

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RPGFool

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September 9th, 2017, 19:27
What special authority or legitimization does Keyradar.com have to publish a list of authorized vs. unauthorized resellers? Are they God?
Why does Keyradar.com obfuscate their identity and why do they use whois protection with a PO box in Panama?
In whose best interest could it be to publish such a list and hide your identity?

Hmmm…
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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Buying keys cheap from a reseller
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