#1 Edited by bakoomerang (85 posts) -

If I buy a Steam key for a game from a legitimate re-seller (e.g. Green Man Gaming) for less than what it would cost to buy the game on Steam itself, does that still count as supporting the developer? These places must have to purchase the keys in the first place to sell them (even if it's not at retail price) so does it still count as a sale for the developer if I buy one or am I screwing them by trying to get a game as cheaply as possible?

#2 Edited by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

They got the keys some how so ya your supporting the dev.

#3 Edited by ThunderSlash (1544 posts) -

@the_laughing_man said:

They got the keys some how so ya your supporting the dev.

This. Unless you are buying from one of those shady Russian keys sites. There was an article on Rock Paper Shotgun saying how those keys might have been bought using stolen credit cards. In that case, you might actually be hurting the developers.

Edit: The article I was referring to.

#4 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@the_laughing_man said:

They got the keys some how so ya your supporting the dev.

This. Unless you are buying from one of those shady Russian keys sites. There was an article on Rock Paper Shotgun saying how those keys might have been bought using stolen credit cards. In that case, you might actually be hurting the developers.

But green man gaming is legit. They are great.

#5 Edited by ThunderSlash (1544 posts) -

@thunderslash said:

@the_laughing_man said:

They got the keys some how so ya your supporting the dev.

This. Unless you are buying from one of those shady Russian keys sites. There was an article on Rock Paper Shotgun saying how those keys might have been bought using stolen credit cards. In that case, you might actually be hurting the developers.

But green man gaming is legit. They are great.

I agree. I bought Hitman off of them for like half off the retail price on launch day. Only problem I had was that my bank thought they were a gambling site for some reason.

#6 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@the_laughing_man said:

@thunderslash said:

@the_laughing_man said:

They got the keys some how so ya your supporting the dev.

This. Unless you are buying from one of those shady Russian keys sites. There was an article on Rock Paper Shotgun saying how those keys might have been bought using stolen credit cards. In that case, you might actually be hurting the developers.

But green man gaming is legit. They are great.

I agree. I bought Hitman off of them for like half off the retail price on launch day. Only problem I had was that my bank thought they were a gambling site for some reason.

HOT DAMN. Krater is like 5 bucks.

#7 Posted by Bishna (334 posts) -

On a slightly related note, I actually contacted GMG customer service a while ago and asked them if the publishers (up to them to give any to developer) receive any money for sales on their used-game-like 'Capsule' service (which is interesting and you should read about it btw) and they promptly sent this answer to me.

Hi,

Thank you for your ticket.

All Steam keys that we sell are brand new keys to guarantee that they are valid and not already in use.

In the case of second hand Capsule games a percentage of every used game sale goes to the publisher/developer (this percentage can differ from publisher to publisher) - either way, publishers/developers always get a percentage of the revenue from the sale!

Hope this answers your question.

Kind regards,

Green Man Gaming

Customer Service

They seem nice and legit to me.

#8 Posted by bakoomerang (85 posts) -

Ok cool, good to know :)

#9 Edited by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -

As long as people keeping buying high priced games, Steam and Origin will continue to keep those prices high. If these two official stores couldn't sell at that price they'd obviously lower it to a more reasonable level to see customers again. We're not there yet.

I suspect that a lot of gamers simply don't know of any other ways to get digital game keys. What the Steam/Origin Stores are doing is collecting the extra cream at the top for extra revenue that goes straight into their own pockets. Keep in mind these are digital products. There are no production of physical disks/covers and such. However what remedies this in many people's eyes is that they have the large annual holiday/summer sales where they in some cases have great deals.

Oddly enough, with the prices of Steam/Origin I've noticed time and time again that even a 50% off on those services it barely lowers those games to the Green Man Gaming's (and others) price level. That alone is crazy to me. Outside the big sales Steam and Origin comes across as the saviors of game distribution when they stamp 50% OFF on a game, and people who doesn't know of other game key stores feel that it is a too good offer to skip. Its really weird in many ways that they have been allowed to maintain this practice throughout these years.

Then there's the whole ongoing :

1€ ≠ 1$

Debate on Steam.

#11 Posted by bakoomerang (85 posts) -

As long as people keeping buying high priced games, Steam and Origin will continue to keep those prices high. If these two official stores couldn't sell at that price they'd obviously lower it to a more reasonable level to see customers again. We're not there yet.

I suspect that a lot of gamers simply don't know of any other ways to get digital game keys. What the Steam/Origin Stores are doing is collecting the extra cream at the top for extra revenue that goes straight into their own pockets. Keep in mind these are digital products. There are no production of physical disks/covers and such. However what remedies this in many people's eyes is that they have the large annual holiday/summer sales where they in some cases have great deals.

Oddly enough, with the prices of Steam/Origin I've noticed time and time again that even a 50% off on those services it barely lowers those games to the Green Man Gaming's (and others) price level. That alone is crazy to me. Outside the big sales Steam and Origin comes across as the saviors of game distribution when they stamp 50% OFF on a game, and people who doesn't know of other game key stores feel that it is a too good offer to skip. Its really weird in many ways that they have been allowed to maintain this practice throughout these years.

Then there's the whole ongoing :

1€ ≠ 1$

Debate on Steam.

Case in point - Origin are having a big sale right now with some games up 70% off. You would think during these kinds of sales that they'd see spikes in the sales numbers because people are a lot happier paying $30 or $40 for a game than $60.

The problem is, even if I want to show my support for the developer by buying a game, if I wait until it goes on sale I feel like the message they're taking from me isn't "This consumer wasn't willing to pay $60 for this game but he was willing to pay $30 so maybe we should look at adjusting our prices", but rather "This consumer wasn't willing to pay $60 for this game so it's not worth making another one".

#12 Edited by MattyFTM (14340 posts) -

Sites like Greenman Gaming are legitimate digital distribution providers just like Steam. They have relationships with developers and publishers just like steam and just as much money goes to them.

Dodgy Russian CD key resellers do not, and while in theory they have to buy the key from somewhere, it is most likely through illegal means (e.g. via stolen credit cards) which will probably ultimately lead to the developers losing out.

Moderator
#13 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

Then there's the whole ongoing :

1€ ≠ 1$

Debate on Steam.

Eh, the cost of doing business in the US is not the same as the cost of doing business in the EU.

On topic; Discounted Steam keys are the result of the reseller buying a set amount of keys in bulk. I'd imagine that the dev gets their same percentage of that sale (or that it comes out of Steam's cut) with the added bonus that they shift a few thousand codes in one shot.

I've noticed that Gamefan tends to have some nice discounts on Steam keys in the first week of release, though the discount can vary dramatically from game to game. A bunch of the twitch.tv casters that I watch are part of the Gamefan affiliate program and it's apparently quite a lucrative partnership for some so I suspect that the discounts for buying Steam keys in bulk before a game is released might be quite generous at times.

#14 Edited by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -

@rebgav: What is the cost of creating a game key for a service like Steam? These are game keys for non-physical merchandise which aren't manufactured, transported, toll handled nor crossing any territories, and they aren't bound by any regional restrictions when redeemed but somehow currencies which are tied to geographical locations factor into it?

All this is doing is contributing to the black market trade of these goods.

#15 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@rebgav: What is the cost of creating a game key for a service like Steam? These are game keys for non-physical merchandise which aren't manufactured, transported, toll handled nor crossing any territories, and they aren't bound by any regional restrictions when redeemed but somehow currencies which are tied to geographical locations factor into it?

All this is doing is contributing to the black market trade of these goods.

Common wisdom does not factor in that Steam is bound by agreements with publishers who, in turn, have implicit or explicit agreements with retailers re: pricing. It also doesn't consider sales taxes and the laws regarding factoring sales taxes into displayed prices. It has never been the case that one market's pricing is contingent upon another, either, so the idiotic crux of the argument being that prices should reflect exchange rates based on the US Dollar is a nonsense crafted by morons.

It's also worth noting that Steam keys technically are region restricted, though Steam's policy seems to be not to police the issue unless a publisher requests it.

#16 Edited by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -

Why shouldn't prices reflect the exchange rates of the country where the store is based?

What do you personally think is the reason why Steam isn't enforcing their own region restrictions?

#17 Edited by Branthog (7342 posts) -

You know what? I need to eat and have a roof over my head. That means looking for deals, rather than worrying if I'm paying the absolute highest price for every product and service I ever use in my life, just so I can make sure the extra two pennies are possibly funneled through to the guy on the back end, instead of absorbed by the retailer, distributor, publisher, manager, producers, lawyers, etc.

#18 Posted by rolanthas (242 posts) -

No one needs to justify the money they spend on their hobbies etc. Perfectly fine if you buy a new release for full price or %50 off. Pointing fingers on this matter is kinda scummy.

However, it probably doesn't benefit the devs much when you buy it at discount. Certainly not to the extent of a 60$ purchase would. I don't think this point is really arguable. But this comes more from common sense than an informed insight on how the pub - dev relationships work.

To elaborate, if or to what extent sales or key purchases directly effect the developers, that seems like a case by case basis. There are dozens of studios that get no bonuses even if everyone purchases their games at full retail prices, then there are studios like DF where they can still make money off the sales of their older games via DD.

It's really hard to tailor your purchasing habit with how it'll effect the devs when there isn't a standardization on these matters, and even if there is, it's certainly not transparent enough to inform us.

#19 Posted by Ares42 (2570 posts) -

I'm just gonna pop your bubble and tell you that for the vast majority of developers out there it doesn't matter (in an economical sense) if you buy their games or not. They were payed long before the product was brought to market and any potential extra revenue from the product will not be going their way. The only way you can look at it in a "supporting the devs" way is that if the publishers make a lot of money they are more encouraged to keep working with the same developers, which generally is a much bigger issue than if some people got a bargain price or not.

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#20 Edited by rebgav (1429 posts) -

Why shouldn't prices reflect the exchange rates of the country where the store is based?

What do you personally think is the reason why Steam isn't enforcing their own region restrictions?

The price of anything reflects what the market will stand. Digital pricing is still closely linked to retail pricing, so even assuming that a company like Activision attributed all of its digital sales to its US office the pricing would still vary between regions (and individual countries within a region, where exchange rate might be more relevant) based on the value of the product at retail in that market. The reason why exchange rate is not relevant to the retail price when comparing between regions is that the costs of manufacturing, distributing and selling the product within that region are not related to the value of the dollar against the local currency. Let's say that Activision's main EU office operates out of Germany, manufactures its retail product in Belgium or the Netherlands, and distributes that product all over the EU & UK - their costs are going to be much, much higher than a similarly fictionalized US office operating out of a favorable US state, manufacturing its goods in Mexico and distributing only in North America. At no point does the EU office benefit from the relative strength of the Euro compared to the Dollar, it's just not a relevant factor.

Digital goods don't incur the same costs but they are being sold in the same market, so the pricing must reflect that or you risk devaluing your retail product. If you devalue the retail product, fewer people buy it so retailers make less money and want a bigger cut or they marginalize your shelf space in favor of more profitable products. You manufacture fewer units and the costs increase per unit, you push fewer units to retail and your distribution costs increase because you don't have the guaranteed throughput to make favorable deals. The costs rise, the profits drop and the product is already overpriced compared to your prime competitor which is your own digital product. It would be great if the entire audience went all-digital overnight because we'd surely see a drop in prices and perhaps a more standardized pricing model across regions but that's not going to happen. Until digital distribution becomes the defacto standard for how all users on all platforms in all major regions purchase their games we will be stuck in this awkward transitional phase in which the price of a digital copy is determined by the costs of retail distribution.

My guess as to why Steam/publisher X doesn't enforce strict region-based copy protection is that if they did they'd be disenfranchising a fairly large portion of their userbase. I'd imagine that there are many users who don't get official versions of certain games in their region, or who prefer a specific language version rather than the one localized for their market, or who use online retailers to buy cheap Steam codes without knowing the point of origin (really, is there any point to Origin?), they probably add up to a fairly large number of users. Again, as digital becomes the preferred method of distributing games I'd hope that localizations would happen earlier and products would launch everywhere at the same time and publishers would no longer need to try to control which version is available to whom and when.

#21 Edited by Superfriend (1526 posts) -

Those keys fell off the back of a key-truck! Dirty key-thieves!

Seriously, the only important thing is that you actually buy games and don´t pirate them. Even by buying extremely discounted stuff you support the devs. I see no problem with Greenmangaming.. the insane deals might only exist because of the UK retail sector going down the drain, but the keys are legit.

#22 Edited by Jeffsekai (7026 posts) -

Can someone explain to me how Green Man Gaming makes money?

#23 Edited by BisonHero (6152 posts) -

@ares42 said:

I'm just gonna pop your bubble and tell you that for the vast majority of developers out there it doesn't matter (in an economical sense) if you buy their games or not. They were payed long before the product was brought to market and any potential extra revenue from the product will not be going their way. The only way you can look at it in a "supporting the devs" way is that if the publishers make a lot of money they are more encouraged to keep working with the same developers, which generally is a much bigger issue than if some people got a bargain price or not.

I'm sorta surprised it took this long for someone to point this out. It depends on the publisher-developer relationship, but in the majority of cases, the devs are not getting any royalties on each Steam copy/key sold or anything. You're rarely putting money directly in the pocket of a developer when you buy their game, especially for games more than, say, 5 years old, where the developer may be defunct, or may have almost an entirely different staff than when they made the game you're buying, or the rights of that game may have completely changed hands to some other publisher that isn't associated with the original developer.

But yeah, if the publisher sees that they keep moving copies of a game by developer X, even months or years after it comes out, then they'll be inclined to A) think that developer X does good work, B) think people just love that franchise, or C) both A and B.

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#24 Edited by Trunks42 (1 posts) -

Hey, bakoomerang

@bakoomerang said:

If I buy a Steam key for a game from a legitimate re-seller (e.g. Green Man Gaming) for less than what it would cost to buy the game on Steam itself, does that still count as supporting the developer? These places must have to purchase the keys in the first place to sell them (even if it's not at retail price) so does it still count as a sale for the developer if I buy one or am I screwing them by trying to get a game as cheaply as possible?

I don't know about Green Man Gaming.

But there are re-seller like: https://www.g2a.com/r/progamers which do so.

#25 Posted by GaspoweR (2793 posts) -

Green Man Gaming is legit. Bought most of my games during the last few months for pre-order at discounted prices from that site (e.g. BF4, Titanfall for $40+ instead of $60).