New games for 25 euros, software 50 percent cheaper than in the store: So-called key sellers promise game fans unbeatable deals. But in addition to reputable suppliers, there are also many dealers who operate in a legal grey area.
Software keys that look like this – 4KZY-4RT3-POL9-QW3Z might look like someone has fallen with his head on the keyboard, but these kinds of codes are used for games and software activation- licence keys.
Entering the keys on platforms such as Steam, PlayStation Network or Xbox Store gives you digital access to a game. It has become common to buy- for example codes for the PlayStation- instead of a game. With a code, you can then decide which game you want. You can also try to win codes online and learn at the same time about online scams.
The codes are mainly used for PC applications.
Most of the modern games are not playable without having such a licence key, even if the user has a disc.
They are also available on the console, for example for paid additional content (DLC), or as a key for entire games. And the keys can also be purchased directly on the PC – and this is often much cheaper than buying them directly from a download platform or in the local shop.
Beware of resellers
Bargain hunters have to be careful here. We have without a doubt
a lot of reputable providers on the net – including platforms such as Gamesrocket, GreenManGaming, Gamersgate and, of course – Amazon. Such providers get their codes directly from the publishers and developers of the games. However, the difference in price compared to regular trading is by no means as big as with the other, not quite so serious Key sellers.
These black or at least “dark grey” sheep of the industry are also called resellers. In contrast to authorized key sellers, the codes here come from other sources – for example from countries such as Russia, where games are much cheaper. In addition, there are software packages with several games that buyers partly use and partly resell or unused game codes that come with a graphics card or console, for example.
Can I resell Keys?
It differs per country. For example, the European Court of Justice in a 2012 ruling allowed used software to be resold. But in Germany, you are not allowed to sell software and key separately(you cannot sell the code alone).
In addition, this is often practically impossible. Once a code has been used, it is usually linked to an account forever – and thus worthless for all other users. And so the confusing legal situation around key sellers and resellers also becomes a problem for the customer. After all, he can never be sure that the purchased code actually works.
How do I recognize reputable providers?
Whoever buys a key on the net should test the seller thoroughly beforehand. A good indication of this are checklists for so-called fake shops.
Accordingly, online shoppers should not allow themselves to be dazzled by professional-looking websites, but should, first of all, take a look at the imprint: Reliable suppliers provide detailed information about contact possibilities and company headquarters.
For resellers, players should also make sure that there is comprehensive information about the origin of the codes and the warranty or guarantee. And those who are still insecure can ask in game forums or social networks for experience with certain shops.