[Update] More publishers claim Green Man Gaming is selling its games unauthorised

Your keys might not work, so be careful

[Update]: We have received this statement from Green Man Gaming’s head of PR:

As you know, we have official and direct relationships with a range of publishers, developers and distributors. Some publishers send us keys directly. Some publishers use distributors to send out their keys, and so we work with the distributor to get keys. Where we don’t have a direct relationship, we have always taken care to responsibly source keys from range of outlets. Most retailers and businesses operate in this way as it’s not always possible to obtain product from the source.

It’s worth noting that Green Man Gaming doesn’t say where its sources are, and “a range of outlets” could mean literally anything, so don’t take this as proof that it is ‘safe’ to buy from for Ubisoft or Activision games.

However, it also referenced a statement they made to PCGamesN which suggests it will be working towards becoming more transparent in the future:

Going forward, we are going to make this clearer on our site for every product, so a customer knows exactly where the key is coming from – work has started on this already.

Back when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was coming out, we reported that popular game retailer Green Man Gaming may not have been acquiring its keys for the game legitimately. CD Projekt Red stated that the site was not an authorised reseller, and as such the keys they sold were not guaranteed to work.

This issue caused major controversy on the incredibly useful subreddit /r/GameDeals, which collates all the different discounts on games running at the moment. The subreddit has a rule against unauthorised key resellers, which at that time is what Green Man Gaming was seen to be. It was decided that as the site had such a good track record before then, it would not be banned unless further publishers claimed it wasn’t authorised.

Well, now Activision and Ubisoft have contacted the subreddit to say that Green Man Gaming is not an authorised seller of their games. Considering right now Black Ops 3 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate are currently being heavily promoted through the site, that’s a bit of a problem.

The problem with buying games from unauthorised resellers is pretty simple: you don’t know what you’re getting, and you don’t know how the seller got it either.

For example, keys given out by Green Man Gaming for Black Ops 3 inconsistently gave the NukeTown DLC to some but not to others. Sometimes they were “Rest of World” keys, meaning there is the chance they were bought from regions where the game is much, much cheaper. And for some, the key was just flat-out invalid. There is no guarantee your game will work, and if it doesn’t, you’re very limited in what you can do about it.

Following this discovery, Green Man Gaming has been banned from the subreddit. Interestingly, Green Man Gaming claims to be unable to show any evidence proving it is an authorised seller. As a result, it is also withdrawing from the subreddit and doesn’t seem to be contesting the ban.

It is worth noting that while Green Man Gaming is not authorised to sell Activision or Ubisoft games, it is authorised to sell EA, Bethesda, WB Games, Devolver Digital and ArenaNet games.

We have contacted Green Man Gaming about this issue and will update this article should we hear back from them. For now though, be very careful about what games you purchase from the site.

As you know, we have official and direct relationships with a range of publishers, developers and distributors. Some publishers send us keys directly. Some publishers use distributors to send out their keys, and so we work with the distributor to get keys. Where we don’t have a direct relationship, we have always taken care to responsibly source keys from range of outlets. Most retailers and businesses operate in this way as it’s not always possible to obtain product from the source.

Earlier on, we spoke to PC Games N and said “Going forward, we are going to make this clearer on our site for every product, so a customer knows exactly where the key is coming from – work has started on this already.” I will drop you a line when this is live on the site.

Joe Parlock