Green Man Gaming Denies It Sells "Grey Market" Game Keys

[Update] Green Man Gaming updates store pages to list source of keys

200 Comments

[Update] Green Man Gaming has has updated its website so that information on where a key was sourced from, and when it will be delivered to the customer is now available.

"You spoke, we listened," it said in a Facebook post. "We know you want great games at great prices. In response to your feedback, rolling out from today on the Green Man Gaming store you’ll see our pages now have two new pieces of information: 1) When you can expect the delivery of a key 2) The source of that key.

"We are committed to continually improving our site, so you can expect the very best service and experience from us. Bear with us as we have over 5000 titles to update, but remember that your feedback is always really important to us, and we want to keep helping you make informed decisions when shopping with us. Thanks for your support!"[Update ends]

Online retailer Green Man Gaming has responded to claims it is selling unauthorised game keys for Ubisoft and Activision titles, stating it has sourced its games "responsibly through authorised third parties"

In a statement sent to GameSpot, the company's chief executive has said that revenue from suspected game keys "is going back to the publisher."

Green Man Gaming chief executive Paul Sulyok claims that the company's Black Ops 3 game keys have been sourced
Green Man Gaming chief executive Paul Sulyok claims that the company's Black Ops 3 game keys have been sourced "responsibly"

Accusations suggesting the retailer was using keys from the "grey market" instead of receiving them directly from game publishers surfaced on the GameDeals sub-Reddit, where a mod announced posting deals from Green Man Gaming had been banned.

The announcement referenced similar accusations that surfaced in May, when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt RED said a deal on Green Man Gaming used keys coming from an "unknown source" and, as a result, none of the revenue was being received by the studio.

"Ever since it was made clear that their keys for The Witcher 3 were not coming directly from CD Projekt RED or the proper channels, there has been a lingering concern about Green Man Gaming," the Reddit mod explains.

"It has now come to our attention that Green Man Gaming's library of unauthorized game sales has expanded, or this library has just now come to light. You may have noticed recently some 'too good to be true' deals on Green Man Gaming. We received a few modmails/emails on the subject so we investigated."

The mod claims to have been told that Green Man Gaming is not authorised to sell games from Call of Duty publisher Activision, or Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft, as well as CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 3. Screenshots of emails from these publishers confirming Green Man Gaming is not an "authorised retailer" are also included in the post.

Furthermore, the Reddit post states it monitored sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and found that customers "received mixed results."

It continues: "Some customers received a ROW [non-region locked rest of the world] copy of Black Ops III. Others received ROW+Nuketown (pre-order DLC). And others received invalid keys. This is often the result of buying unauthorized keys. Stores will often obtain the keys through different sources to meet the number of sales, but can't assure the customers are getting the same product, or if it's even valid. (There was a large number of invalid keys for The Witcher 3 as well.)"

Paul Sulyok, the chief executive of Green Man Gaming, has responded to these claims in a statement sent to GameSpot. He says that the retailer has been asked to "supply sensitive information regarding contracts between us and publishers," which he says it "simply cannot share" and should not be expected to.

Continuing, Sulyok states the conclusions that the Reddit GameDeals group has drawn are not correct, and goes on to claim that Green Man Gaming's keys are legitimately sourced.

"Let's be clear here; there is a difference between being an authorised retailer for some titles, and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorised third parties with revenue going back to the publisher," he says.

"Where possible, we work directly with publishers and distributors to make sure customers have the very best experience with us ... Whenever things outside of our control have happened, we have instantly and fairly tried to make it right."

The statement can be read in full below.

Dear Reddit

First of all, we are very disappointed that we were unable to come to a mutual understanding with the Reddit Game Deal moderators: /r/GameDeals

Over the past year, we have been repeatedly asked to supply sensitive information regarding contracts between us and publishers, which for legal reason we simply cannot share, nor should we be expected to. We believe that other retailers featured on Reddit Game Deals have not been afforded the same level of scrutiny and investigation that we have endured, and that ultimately, customers will be missing out on information and deals.

We find the research carried out by the Reddit Game Deal mods has been subjective or inaccurate. We know they share the same aims as we do; to offer customers great value on great games, so it brings us no pleasure to publicly state - they are wrong.

http://i.imgur.com/jEjIIzu.png?1

We have always been transparent that for us, the customer is our priority. We have withdrawn from Reddit Game Deals as we no longer have the time and resources to keep offering proof and statements to their persistent group of moderators. Our focus as always should be and is our customers.

We reiterate that we source our keys from a range of over 400 publishers, developers, and distributors to meet customer’s demands on a title by title basis. Let’s be clear here; there is a difference between being an authorised retailer for some titles, and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorised third parties with revenue going back to the publisher. If a key unlocks, it is an authentic key. This isn’t a perfect science as human error can affect the supply chain. Where possible, we work directly with publishers and distributors to make sure customers have the very best experience with us.

Whenever things outside of our control have happened, we have instantly and fairly tried to make it right. We accept that we don’t always get it right, and we are sorry for any inconvenience caused. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, the Reddit Game Deal community, and everyone who has supported us.

Thank you

Paul Sulyok CEO Green Man Gaming

and The Green Team

In May, responding to the controversy surrounding Green Man Gaming's The Witcher 3 keys, Sulyok released a statement saying he approached CD Projekt RED to work with the studio, but the developer chose to focus on its own platform, GOG.com, rather than give players more options for where they can buy the game.

"Following a six-month dialogue with [CD Projekt RED] about the launch of The Witcher 3, we were disappointed that despite the offer of significant cash advances, and other opportunities to officially work together, (we even offered to fly to Poland to discuss in detail how we could and wanted to support this launch), CDPR chose not to engage with a number of significant, reputable, and successful retailers, including ourselves, as they instead focused on supporting their own platform GOG. " he said.

Sulyok also explained that GMG chose to essentially go around CD Projekt RED by acquiring digital copies of the game from third parties and retailers that were approved by CD Projekt RED. According to Sulyok, this means that CD Projekt RED is getting the revenue from sales of these games, and that any additional discount is absorbed by GMG.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 200 comments about this story