There are tons of ways to buy PC games cheaply these days. Steam sales, GOG.com, EA’s Origin service, the Humble Bundle, and others can get you bargain bin prices on five star games if you know where and when to look. Lots of other sites have those prices, too, but aren’t getting their games from the same sources. Green Man Gaming has been accused in the past of selling illegitimately acquired keys, and this time the site’s CEO is stepping up to deny such accusations.
After the GameDeals subreddit banned the vendor’s sales from the community, their standing as a legitimate reseller has once again come into question. While some companies, such as WB Games, do list the site as an authorized reseller, many others do not. The site had well-publicized issues with keys for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt coming up invalid once in customer hands earlier this year. Now keys for Call of Duty: Black Ops III are showing mixed results, with players getting different DLC bonuses for what are supposedly the same keys, while others are finding their keys are invalid.
GameDeals directly contacted a few big publishers, and received responses from Activision and Ubisoft that the site is not an authorized reseller for their games. While some of the games bought through the site appear to be solid, it seems as if others are sketchier.
Green Man Gaming CEO Paul Sulyok said that the keys the company sells are legitimate.
“There is a difference between being an authorized retailer for some titles and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorized third parties with revenue going back to the publisher,” he said in a statement to Gamespot.
“Where possible, we work directly with publishers and distributors to make sure customers have the very best experience with us,” he said, adding that “whenever things outside of our control have happened, we have instantly and fairly tried to make it right.”
Despite his clear statement, the spotty experiences users have had with games like The Witcher 3 and Black Ops III suggests there is something going on. Whether they’re legitimate or not, this is exactly the sort of situation “buyer beware” was coined for. A good deal is hard to resist, but there are benefits to knowing that the goods you’re purchasing are legitimate and that the money you’re spending is going to the people who made the game.