Daybreak Bans/Unbans Players Using Reseller Keys

I have no idea where I stand on this whole “3rd party key” debate. I’m talking about keys bought from Green Man Gaming, G2A, etc. What I do know is that people are always looking for deals, and when buying from a fairly reputable company like GMG (which I have done a dozen times), no one ever stops to think the keys might be stolen or that what they’re doing might not be legitimate.

On June 30th, Daybreak Games banned thousands of players from its games because they were linked to keys from 3rd party retailers. They then turned around and unbanned those people and issued them a warning instead. Have a read:

This is a notification from Daybreak Game Company. We regret to inform you that the account name: [Name] has been issued a warning due to a Community Standards violation. After reviewing our records, one of the characters on this account was found to have committed the following violations:

On Thursday, June 30th, Daybreak Games identified and suspended a number of accounts across EverQuest, EverQuest 2, PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe Online. These accounts had redeemed content via keys sold on third-party key selling sites. Those keys had been invalidated due to credit card chargebacks, which is often indicative of fraudulent purchases. Players should always beware of keys sold outside of Daybreak Games or our official affiliate partners like Steam.

Daybreak understands that some players may not have known that they were purchasing invalid keys. We will be reversing the suspensions through the holiday weekend so players can continue to play and enjoy our titles. However, we want to emphasize that players should be wary of any game keys purchased from sellers other than Daybreak or Steam, as those keys may not be valid, and we cannot provide any refunds for keys that were purchased from third-party sites.

We do not take situations like this lightly and are informing you that future incidences could result in further action against you, up to and including permanent account ban. You may view the full Terms of Service here: https://www.daybreakgames.com/terms-of-service

Thank you for your consideration,
Daybreak Games Support

Punishing the player is stupid. Most of these people likely had no idea they were doing anything wrong, and in many people’s opinions (mine included) they didn’t. The player isn’t to blame because they thought they bought a perfectly legitimate copy of a game from a seemingly legitimate company. And they didn’t just ban the offending game — they banned ALL of the games on the account. Meaning if you bought an EQ2 expansion from a reseller then you lost your H1Z1 game too. Daybreak likely realized this was asinine, and that suddenly half their players went missing. What? No one to buy from the cash shop anymore?

Serious Question to Daybreak: What about those streamers (who you love to pimp out so effing hardcore) who promote G2A all over their streams? How do you reconcile THAT?

I get it. Some people buy keys from the equivalent of the back of a van and get them for $5 when the game costs $35. There’s obviously something wrong there. But that’s not the majority, that’s the exception. There needs to be ways to discourage that, incentivize people buying from appropriate (or preferred) sources, and still respect your players.

So while I still can’t decide where to find a side or a position in this debate that makes sense to me, I know that punishing good customers with blanket and overcompensating bans is not the answer.

  • I think banning people outright, waiting a few days, then re-instating them with a severe warning that next time things might not go so well is a pretty sound strategy. I’d bet most of the unbanned (well, those who are still interested in playing DBG’s games, anyway) won’t even take the risk of going to a re-seller in future.

    Possibly just removing the expansions would have had enough of an effect but that way would almost certainly have left a lot of people feeling that DBG, not the re-seller, had ripped them off. With a few days of the entire account having gone, the psychological effect of the re-instatement and loss of the account is likely to make a lot of those players feel they dodged a bullet and to feel that DBG was lenient. I remember to this day, over a decade and a half on, that that’s how I felt when SOE reversed their decision to wipe the Test server and my then-highest level character was re-instated.

    Based on experience it probably wasn’t planned that way but serendipity is powerful.

  • “Punishing the player is stupid”

    No it’s not, people are just angry they got caught. And you could say that people don’t really know what’s up with 3rd party resellers, but it isn’t 2015 anymore. By now everyone knows something rotten with sites like G2A, and yet the majority of the comments on youtube and articles is “I don’t care, I just get cheap games”, or stuff like “the developers are too greedy, they deserve to lose money”. So yeah, more banwaves please. Preferably irreversible ones.

    About the streamers: you are 100% right. But people will not stop promoting G2A anytime soon, especially since the popular streamers can make literally 10s of thousands of $ each year by doing nothing extra.

  • I buy games from G2A sometimes, I always go for the best deal.

    Example Pillars of Eternity was only $5 on G2A when its still $40 on every other website.. Can’t pass that up

  • Also G2A is a huge sponsor of esports they give millions every year to Esports prize pools.

  • So wait…. a company can’t keep track of keys they have sold, enabled, and then redacted for whatever reason…

    And this is somehow our problem?

  • @Rawblin: The keys from the company are purchased with stole CC, so they look like a legit sale until a few days later (assuming the CC is reported and a chargeback occurs), and by that point they are already sold on G2A.

    So yea, I’m all for banning people who bought those keys. G2A isn’t some wonder site that just has better prices than Steam or other legit sites, it has cheap prices because the stuff on there is stolen. And as others have said, its 2016, most people are aware that paying $5 for a $30 game is a rounding error away from getting it off a torrent, with the major difference being that the torrent came via a crack, while the $5 copy fuels CC theft and other issues.

  • They should be banned, and G2A should have to refund the purchaser – who can then go buy a legitimate copy. It really is that simple.

  • So what happens when Daybreak promotes, features, or showcases a streamer and that streamer has a big banner on their Stream to buy from Green Man Gaming. Let’s say 100 people go buy their game from GMG and the keys turn out to be flagged. Daybreak bans them. How is that good for business?

    You can’t have it both ways. Daybreak can’t promote streamers who promote this “illegal behavior” while still expecting people to play by their rules. The excuse of “oh we can’t control what the streamers do” doesn’t fly. The streamers become brand ambassadors.

  • Green Man Gaming is not the same as G2A.
    While they both sell games, GMG sells keys from publishers/devs and has agreements with them.
    G2A sells third party keys or brokers people selling their own keys, without dev/pub contacts.

    GMG is basically another steam, or a legitimate online store. Perfectly fine to buy here.
    G2A is the kid/guy from school selling you a game. Perfectly legal to buy here as well, just, you don’t know if the kid got the game legal or not, and if it is illegal, he won’t provide support to get your moneys worth.

  • Go after the sellers themselves not the player. If I go to a website and purchase a game, why would I care how they purchased it from the developer? None of that is my problem. If I go to store and buy a hard copy of a game, is it my problem if that store did not purchase it legitimately? Go after that store for theft. It’s not like anyone is going to meet up with some game dealer in a back alley somewhere.

    Daybreak is really pushing it. I am glad they reversed the decision but to put out the bans initially is just ridiculous.

  • @Caldazaar: Except GMG has ended up with stolen keys before… And they also buy keys through currency exchange and who knows what else. I think that’s a grey area. However, I do think that all things considered, GMG is a much more legit operation than G2A. But replace GMG with G2A in my scenario and make Daybreak justify that. They whore out plenty of streamers who are fully engulfed in the G2A scheme.

    @Topauz: I agree.

  • Sites like g2a have ratings for sellers. Sellers that sell stolen keys do not have good ratings if they get pulled and customers get pissed off.

    I find greenman to expensive. I prefer to buy at Keysites. Never had a problem, as long as you do your research and find out which ones are dependable.
    My current favorite is.. nah I do not want to make the impression I am advertising.

    I do not believe in this whole story of grey keys in the end the publisher received money. maybe not as much as they hope in afterthought and that is why they are sour. Of course there have been cases of stolen keys, just like goods get purchased with stolen cards and put on craigslist, but those are a minority otherwise there would be no high reputation sites or sellers.

    The customer buys in good faith. They should go after the one that made the fraud not the end user.
    Now if the product said stolen key and someone bought it, then it would be a different story.

  • I think invalidating a key is a legitimate step but banning the account is too much. If only one person has their account mistakenly banned it is one person to many. Simply invalidate the key and move on with it. The responsibility is then on the account holder to deal with the seller of the key and their credit card/bank.

    To be honest I have bought a lot of games on GMG over the last few years and it was not until the Witcher 3 incident that I ever heard anything about them selling grey market keys. To me their prices were really good but not outlandish. Getting 20% off a new game is a good deal but not unheard of. Hell, Amazon now does that with Prime so should we assume they are not legitimate too??

  • Also, know this is not relevant to the post but have you guys checked out Shards Online yet? I know they are still in early alpha but it looks like something that might appeal to your tastes in old school style MMOs. One comment I saw in a video described it as being Ultima Online 2.0 with Neverwinter Nights aspects. There does not seem to be much out there at the moment on it but just curious if you had seen it.

  • I’ll drop my 2 cents in…My thought is this, cancel the keys, steam charges back the developer for CC fraud. Steam/developer cancels the key. Customer with disputed key either gets refund from 3rd party they bought it from or disputes the charge on their credit card, IE Green Man or G2A. G2A/Greenman is left holding the bag. They took the risk in buying a key from a 3rd party they should be the one that it impacts if the key is actually a fraudulent item. If they want to be in the business of reselling keys they should understand that is a risky business and they might be liable if they sell something that is stolen.

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