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Published February 23, 2016

This past week has been rife with news of fraud. First MangaGamer and now Denpasoft have announced they will not be including complimentary Steam keys with certain titles due to fraud. Denpasoft noted in their announcement that $30,000 worth of Steam keys has been taken in fraudulent purchases, and while MangaGamer hasn’t given any specifics on how much has been stolen from them, it was enough to warrant further investigation from yours truly.

I decided to first focus my attention on how the thieves are presumably laundering the Steam keys they’ve stolen from Denpasoft and MangaGamer: game bundle websites. VNs Now has reached out to several bundle sites that have hosted bundle sales that included visual novels in the past to see not only if they were aware of the situation, but also what steps were in place to ensure that stolen keys couldn’t be resold without them knowing. The first website to get back in touch with me was IndieGala, so let’s go over their answers to my questions:

 

  1. Was IndieGala aware of MangaGamer and Denpasoft’s situation before today?

100% of the keys we sell comes from legitimate publishers, in most cases they are also the developers of the games. In some cases, they are authorized distributors (for example, PluginDigital).

We never worked with Denpasoft or sold any of their products on indiegala.com ever. We do not know what happened to them. We worked with JapanAnimation (the owner of MangaGamer) several times and we both, us and them, are very happy about this partnership that will continue and last. Most of the times we worked with adult games NOT present on steam, so no steam keys were involved in the sale.

The only 3 steam games from manga gamer we ever sold in a bundle were:

  • Go! Go! Nippon! My First Trip to Japan (bundled many times in various websites, not only on indiegala )
  • eden*
  • Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.1 Onikakushi

All the 3 games were sold only within the bundle sale and every unsold key (when present) were returned to MangaGamer.

  1. Are you aware of any cases where an IndieGala user has sold or purchased a fraudulently obtained Steam key to a bundle sale?

We are not aware of it. Any key bought on Indiegala on an Indiegala bundle or on our store is a legit key that comes directly from the developers or publisher/official distributors of the games we sell.

  1. What steps, if any, are in place to prevent a user from selling fraudulently obtained Steam keys on IndieGala?

We have a very severe / ever evolving anti-fraud software that tries to detect potential fraudsters and scammers before they take the keys and locks their account and profiles making impossible for them to copy keys when a suspicious behavior is detected. There are several patterns common to many suspicious users and thanks to new technology we are able to detect many of it before they take the goods. We are considering to improve it even more forcing users to link a steam account, but this is something we haven’t decided yet.

 

Indiegala also described several security measures to me off the record to prevent stolen Steam keys from being bought as well as stopping fraudulent purchases. None of that ensures that there will not be fraudulent purchases or an attempt to resell stolen Steam keys on Indiegala, but it seems that they have their affairs in order right now to keep it from happening. We’ll keep you posted as other websites respond to our inquiries and if I have any follow up questions with Indiegala. This is JP3 reporting for VNN.