A question of what is right

UPDATE: Looks like Cyanide are not happy about being paid less than £40 for their game.

On the official forums, they have this to say:

"Jessica has confirmed that all key's sold by these websites will be blacklisted and become unusable. Any further threads regarding these keys will be deleted."

Link here.

So, if that does happen, I fully suggest that you seek out a refund from G2play. I'm going to contact Cyanide now for a response. In the meantime, I suggest you hold off from buying from G2play. Cheers to Oliver M. for the heads up.

I've just heard back from Jessica, community manager from Focus’ games, the publisher of Blood Bowl.

"Concerning the website : G2Play, they sell player keys only. Thus this suppose that the person who buyed the key has already buyed an original version of the game (retail version or digital version). Because g2play don’t give you the file or the link to download the game, they give only the 2 serials [note: "2 serials" refers to the fact that the game requires two serials, one during installation, and a different one when it is first launched - Lewie].

-> If your readers buyed a key on the website they can send all the information concerning the first purchase (the “legal” purchase) and we will able to check with them the key and find a solution.

-> If your readers didn’t buy the game before they are in an illegal procedure (if they buy only the key on the website g2play that suppose that they install the game with the CD or link of someone, it’s forbidden) and we can’t do anything for them.

Can you send me an example of a serials buyed in this website in order to see why a website can sell our game illegally."

Language barrier seems to be a bit of a problem here, but as far as I can tell, according to Focus if you bought the serial from G2play, then either borrowed a disc, or downloaded an ISO, it is illegal, and will be blacklisted. If you bought the game, then for some reason lost your serial, and can prove it, they won't be blacklisting your serial, but I think that realistically that doesn't apply to anyone.

More from Jessica:
"Concerning the serials, we are checking how the website could have the serial.

If they stolen the keys it’s illegal. Furthermore G2play is not a partner so they are not authorized to sell the game."

I agree if the keys are stolen, or generated by using some kind of keygen, then they should be blacklisted. However, if they have just been sourced from a cheaper international supplier, then it shouldn't be illegal. You can bet for sure that the packaging the retail release comes in won't all have been sourced in France, they will have gone to the cheapest international supplier, and in my opinion it would be hypocritical to accuse your own customers of being criminals just because they follow the same practise.

Why would G2play not be allowed to sell the game? If that's the case, eBay should be pretty worried. I'm pretty sure that she actually means "we want more money".

Another serial retailer, Online Key Store, who are also selling Blood Bowl serials at a discount have responded to blacklisting concerns here.

"We buy keys cheap from asian countries so they cannot be blacklisted, this is a legitimate company not some cowboy illegal operation.

The keys will work fine and they will never be blacklisted because we get them from a reliable source."

I've just heard from an Anonymous commenter that serials have started to be blacklisted, with the message:

Error occured!
Your Serial is deactivated.

Can anyone else confirm that this has happened to them too?

Original article:

It's come to my attention that Blood Bowl, a fantasy American football game based on the games workshop property of the same name, has just come out, and is £39.99 to buy.

G2Play, the slightly controversial web site that I have posted about for Steam codes before, are selling serial numbers for blood bowl for about £14. These aren't for use with Steam, these are just standard retail serials.

Now, all you will get from them is the serial number, from then on you are on your own. You will need to find a way of installing the game yourself. You could either borrow a copy off a friend (but I don't think it has had a retail release in the UK as of yet), or you could load up a torrent site, and download an ISO.

During the installation process, you will use the serial number you get from G2play, and a genuine license will be generated for you. In principal, this isn't too different to buying a game, accidentally breaking the disc, and then borrowing a friends copy to reinstall it, but using your legitimate serial number.

You will then have effectively the same game installed as if you had bought it from a shop. You'll be able to play online, patch it and the developers are being paid.

It's a very grey area, and in purely legal terms there is probably something wrong with it at some stage, but I think it is basically moral. How do you guys feel about it? Would you like me to link to deals like this in the future?

If you decide to go for it, let me know how it goes.
Blood Bowl, PC Serial - £14.02

Whilst I am at it, they have a few Steam serials for cheap:
Empire: Total War - £14.53
GTR Evolution - £10.25 (includes a free copy of Race 07)

(Those prices are using currency conversion, and might be a bit off)


Will Templeton said...

I'm actually really uncomfortable with this. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that G2Play aren't particularly transparent about how they work - do they bulk-buy a bunch of legitimate games and rip the serials out, for example? That's the only case I can see being kosher in any way, but it seems massively inefficient and it's not something I can see a business on any scale operating on for some time.

A cursory look into G2Play's WHOIS data shows that their registered email address is with Hushmail. This isn't exactly condemning, but it does make me wonder enough to not want to deal with them in future. All they offer as any sort of guarantee that they're not doing anything shady is a quick blurb on their About page that they 'understand and insist that games should be as cheap as they could be while staying legal'. Again, not exactly condemning, but worth thinking about why they have to explicitly state their legality.

It just feels a little too much on the wrong side of the line for me to be completely on board.

Martín S. Camargo said...

I'm in kind of a particular spot: I live in a third world country with an incredibly money-hungry monster of a customs machinery; so I can buy a game for, say, 20 US bucks, and it ends up costing 80 when it arrives at my doorstep.

Thus, my only way to get games legally and not having to make my family starve in the process is via Steam, Direct2Drive and such. And even then, with stuff like that "Microsoft Points" nonsense, I can't get some games and related stuff unless I pirate them.

As an example, I own Fallout 3 legally, fair and square; but if I want to play the DLC I have to get it from a torrent site, how about that? o_O

So, in my situation, something like this sounds like a godsend. So as long as it's at least marginally legal and ultimately does get my money to the right place, I'd say let's go for it.

Jaffo said...

I've had some Steam serials from them that I've had no problems with when I put them in Steam.

The one that I've noticed lately that seems dodgy is they have ArmA2 for about £10 but it's not a Steam serial so you'd have to not only grab the ISO from a torrent or similar but also do some jiggery pokery to get it running with things like YASU and Daemon tools to get it past the Securom checks and prevent FADE kicking in.

I've no probs with G2 deals being posted as I'm aware of the slight risk involved but you'd probably best put some kind of disclaimer on the posts!

Unknown said...

taken from the official game forums, posted by a moderator. make of this what you will:

"There are plenty of sites offering keycodes online, even for Blood Bowl.
The Cyanide boards however are not the place to post threads in offering these keycodes.

All active threads have been deleted and any new ones will be deleted as they come up.

As soon as more info regarding the usability of these keycodes or the possibility of de-activation of all keycodes being purchased in this way, this post will be updated straight away."

I wonder how they could spot these codes. I am assuming they are grey imports, so I suppose a certain amount of geoip stuff could be used...

Heliocentric said...

Its kind of compassionate piracy, in a way better that second hand games or bargin bin diving. But really? Its up to the dev if its okay, if not they can get no money instead as £40 is too much and i will wait for a cheaper option.

Unknown said...

further to previous, they have updated it with:

EDIT: Jessica has confirmed that all key's sold by these websites will be blacklisted and become unusable. Any further threads regarding these keys will be deleted.

Probably worth updating the main post with something about this.

Unknown said...

I might have considered this - £40 is simply outrageous! But I'd only be ok with it so long as money was getting back to the developers. Otherwise it's sort of just paying for a 'premium' (ability to play online) pirated copy.

Unknown said...

from what I understand, these people work as grey importers - the games are bought from lower price regions ( eastern europe and asia typically ) and then sold on, so (in theory) the developer should see the money.

Persus-9 said...

Seems to me that if G2Play are legitamately sourcing retail copies of games and then only selling the serials rather than sending boxed copies to cut down on postage and warehousing costs then all power to them and their customers and I really can't see how Focus can have a legal or ethical leg to stand on unless theres something in the EULA about only using the keys with the copy of the software they're packaged with.

I also think it's almost certainly the case that this is how they're opperating because I simply can't imagine they'd still be not only up and running for this long (over a year now I believe) and selling Steam and EA activation keys and not generating any bad buyer feedback that I can see. No stories of steam accounts getting locked, nothing except it sometimes takes a couple of days for them to reply to support requests over the weekend. Everything else I've found has been completely positive.

Also from Jessica's reply she has little or no idea who G2Play are so she's assuming it's illegal until she can find out for sure where the they're getting their serials. My guess is when she does find out there might be a few heated e-mails exchanged between Focus Multimeida and the bulk supplier that sold those retail copies to G2Play and the supply of keys will perhaps dry up but assuming these are legit retail serials and I'd bet heavily they are I can't imagine they'll be deactivated.

I say post the deals Lewis!

Anonymous said...

If I were Jessica I would strongly imply my intention to blacklist the keys, but never do it. I'd also imply that the keys were somehow "stolen", and that G2P were very shady.

That said, I don't see what the developers gain by *actually* culling their player base, particularly given that it isn't (at this stage clear) what it is that the players in question have done wrong, in terms of the law and the eula. I'd be very interested in a clarification!

Anonymous said...

Online key store admins responds:


LewieP said...

Thanks Anonymous.

Will Templeton said...

It's worth noting that to my knowledge, an EULA has never help up in court. If anyone can confirm this true or not, that would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

G2Play serials are been banned and now are deactivated if you buy a new one. I don´t now what happend with other serials but this night I bought one and this message appear when I try to activate the game:

Error occured!
Your Serial is deactivated.

I don´t know if Cyanide can do that and I´m waiting G2Play answer me with a solution.

Anonymous said...

Clearly tempting fate, but mine hasn't been deactivated yet, so not all have been. At least yet.

Markoff Chaney said...

My onlinekeystore key is still active as of this morning. More data. :)

Anonymous said...

The game won't install using a G2play key.

Unfortunately i bought my key before the response from Cyanide, i probably would have waited otherwise.

Anonymous said...

My G2Play key's still working fine as of now.

Judging by the way things are going, it seems likely that anyone who's already activated their key can continue using it, but newer attempts at activation have been revoked.

Even if that's true, I'm still unsure what the deal's going to be if I have to reinstall/reactivate from this key, but that's not going to happen any time soon.

Whatever happens from this point on, it's been catastrophically badly played on Cyanide's part, and I can't see it doing anything other than generating masses of entirely avoidable ill-will and losing them lots of future custom. Not only are they gouging their customers, they're going out of their way to do so, even when people are using other legitimate means of buying it. Really poor show.

Anonymous said...

I'd been holding off buying the game because Cyanide's UK price is fucking ridiculous, but decided to 'risk' a few quid on a bulk key once I found about them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Anyway, I went and found a torrent of the client after getting a key from G2P (I own the game now, so it's not illegal) and that came down nice and quick, and guess what? It works!

The company are quite clearly idiots, as evidenced by their blatant copyright infringements... and they continued in that trend by thinking they could get away with passing the bulk of the cost of reparations onto us. WRONG BITCHES.

Have some pennies for your efforts on the game and LEARN A FUCKING LESSON FROM IT.

Greedy fuckers. Honestly. Anyway, I gotta go eat... kick-off at seven!

Anonymous said...

a reply from g2p customer support after i emailed asking for a new key or refund:

"Hello mate,
recently we have aquired Blood Bowl keys from a supplier who showed up to get them in unlegitimate way.
We had unfortunatley no idea about this since the price offered to us was notcheap and the profit margin for us on these transactions is very low.

We may offer you 3 possible solutions for this issue:
1. Eiether we refund your payment via PayPal
2. We give you any other game in similar value
3. We will recieve another pack of Blood Bowl keys from verified supplier today or tomorrow (48 hours max. from now). We cam then replace you your current key ofcourse."

they seem to be handling the situation professionally (if ungrammatically) and non-shadily. assuming they make good on what they say i don't have any problems with them [:

Anonymous said...

The consumer is always right and the consumer always wins

10 point guide

1: Download the ISO "Blood Bowl (2009/ENG/MULTi5)" from any number of given sites

2: Through PayPal, buy a working serial from G2PLAY.net for only £14.03 GBP (while stocks last)

3: Receive the 2 required serials via email instantly

4: Mount and install the ISO "Blood Bowl (2009/ENG/MULTi5)" using Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120 or burn with Nero

5: Install and activate Blood Bowl online (prior to all keys being blacklisted)

6: Patch to v1.3

7: Open a dispute with PayPal over the legitimate use of the fraudulent serials obtained and the link to: http://www.cyanide-studio.com/forumBB/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3663

8: Receive your refund within 24 hrs, no need to escalate your claim as it'll take 5 days longer if a PayPal representative gets involved

9: Play Blood Bowl offline for now otherwise it'll become deactivated

10: Buy a proper boxed retail copy when it hits the shelf or wait for the price to drop

Anonymous said...

Both of the websites - G2play and OnlineKeyStore are owned by the same guy - Viktor Wanli - who is living in Poland. Do a little Google search about Viktor Wanli, and you will find out a lot more.

He is a wanted fellon in Czech Republik. He used to have a legal business in Poland - Digital Works SP ZOO, he closed and decided to go 100% illegal. Whoever is interested to find all the details about this criminal, just contact me

Anonymous said...

G2play claimed they got a "new batch" of keys. Anyone try it and have it work now?