If you’re like me when it comes to purchasing games, chances are that you’re always on the lookout for the cheapest price. In the past year or so, I’ve noticed lots of websites cropping up that specifically sell Steam or Origin Keys at a (usually) highly discounted price than on the Steam/Origin stores. The most popular is probably Green Man Gaming, which is based in the UK - there are dozens of others, though, many head quartered out of Hong Kong, China, Australia, or Russia.
How do these work? How can they sell a product at lower prices and turn a profit? Is it an exchange rate thing? What sites have people used before, and has anyone ever run into an issue either receiving their key or redeeming their game?
The cynic in me is terrified that using one of these keys will get me in trouble with Valve, but I don’t know what their stance on these companies is.
I can attest to the validity of Green Man Gaming and GetGamesGo. Both are fantastic online retailers that I’ve made multiple purchases through without a hint of trouble.
I just bought a game through 2game.com (which has decent reviews and a great online seller rating) but I can’t give them a thumbs up right now as the game I ordered was South Park: The Stick of Truth…and they failed to send me a key on the day it released as promised. Instead, I received a form letter letting me know that they would be released later in the day. When I didn’t see it by mid afternoon, I sent them an inquiry…and was told they wouldn’t actually have them until Thursday due to a shipping issue.
Valve is cracking down on these. They’re locking down the country-code specific serial numbers and not allowing them to be unlocked through VPN in some cases. I don’t think it will ever entirely go away, but they’re working on making it very difficult.
I do know that Activision has been pretty diligent about reverting licenses that they detect being accessed from the wrong territories on Call of Duty games. They will just lock out users and tell them to go get a refund from whichever vendor they purchased the license from. Sucks for those guys.
Finally, I don’t think GMG is one of these key resellers. I think they’re actually legit. They offer preorder bonuses and other publisher-specific deals.
Southpark has been a very problematic game when it comes to region locking. Most likely 2game has RU/CIS keys and realized those are useless outside of those territories and had to scramble to look for ROW versions.