The current sad state of Kinguin.net and why you shouldn’t buy or sell there.
Today I am writing this article in order to bring further awareness to the bad situation that merchants have been going through, regarding the website Kinguin.net. I will introduce you to the problem and explain it quite briefly, however I do highly recommend reading the articles I will link at the bottom to know more.
Disclaimer: I’ll make sure to update the article if anything gets actually done by the company, for the time being all we are getting is a “Soon ™”.
What is Kinguin.net?
Kinguin.net is a platform which allows users to sell or to buy digital games, think of it as a videogames marketplace, except it happens online.
That sounds great, isn’t digital distribution the future?
First of all, I do think digital distribution plays and will play an even bigger role in the distribution of any product. The immediate availability and the lower costs are few of many reasons why digital distribution is much more efficient than physical distribution. However, it has to be done through proper channels, scams online are rampant, and they are bad for the whole digital distribution system, as they discourage buyers and make them feel unsafe/uneasy. That stolen money feeds criminals and takes away from honest customers and companies.
Then why is Kinguin.net bad?
Remember when I said digital distribution has to be done through proper channels? Kinguin.net isn’t one of them. In order to safeguard buyers, Kinguin.net holds the seller’s funds for 60 days after an item sold (which is indeed a lot, unless you are a really high volume seller and manage to lower their hold time), in order to be able to refund the buyer in case any issue arises. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Buyers are safe, sellers eventually get their money. Yay, eveyone’s happy.
Well, it was.
Until it was not anymore… Kinguin decided to pretty much extend the “hold time” to an unknown amount.
Wait, how does Kinguin hold seller’s money for an unknown amount of time?
Once the 60 days passed, your balance becomes available for cashout, you go ahead to the cashout page, where it states you will receive your money quickly, press the cashout button to finally get your money…
“Wait, what do you mean it’s gone?”
That’s it. Your money never gets paid out, you just sold the “Fifa 21” copy you received for your birthday for €0.00, $0.00, zero, nada.
Let’s say you sold 10 “Fifa 21” copies you found on sale at the mall. That brings the total amount to, yep, £0.00.
Then how did people start using Kinguin in the first place?
There was a time the marketplace worked well. You had something, you’d sell it to the buyer. Buyer receives the game, Kinguin takes its fee, you receive your money. However, ever since late 2019, that was not the case anymore. Your money stays in their accounts. Do not sell on there!
Were you affected by it?
Here is a screenshot of my payouts dating back to September, all payouts marked as as Verified are yet to be completed.
I currently have close to €3500 stuck, and it saddens me everytime I see it, as it is not by any means a small amount of money for me, in my country and in my situation. There are many other professional sellers who have huge amounts of money, even €100k, stuck there.
That is great and all, but why does this concern me as a customer? Who cares about sellers, right?
Thank you for asking! You’d be a little unempathetic if you asked the second question too, but it’s fair.
- First of all, let’s be honest, most prices aren’t that great.
Ever since the payout-apocalypse, most games have been bought out in order to cashout balance (before it was disabled as an option), and most of the remaining merchants decided to take off their games and sell them on other platforms, which would give them their money. That means the competition on there is very small, which leads to inflated prices compared to other marketplaces. In a healthy market, such inflated prices do not stay afloat for a long time, as merchants lower their prices in order to sell their stock before others, balancing the price at the right place between supply and demand. With no competition and the supply in the hand of few sellers, most customers buying from Kinguin end up paying sometimes even double the price of what a game would cost on a competing platform.
2. The second reason I would not recommend buying through a company based on transactions between users, which does not pay out the sellers, is the risk you are taking with the sellers.
Given they’d never receive their money, and it could be an important amount to them, they could later contact the game distributors and ask for the games to be deactivated, in order to be refunded. In such a case, you’ll find yourself with a game less, and with less money at the same time. You’ll have to go through lenghty support sessions to get your money back, while you probably could have spent less just buying on another platform. (Oh, and let’s not take getting your money back as granted)
3. The third reason I would not recommend buying from Kinguin, is the apparent lack of funds, which are needed in order to keep the company afloat.
Let’s say you purchase a game, later on you end up having issues with the key. You head over to Kinguin.net and… you are greeted by an error message. The website is unreachable. You search on Facebook, on Twitter, their social media accounts are gone. You are out of luck, you lost money, time, and, your copy of the game you were so eager to keep on playing.
Wait, I want to know more! Where can I do so?
Plenty of information has already been shared in different articles from fellow merchants about the topic, I highly recommend reading them if you want to learn more. You can find the articles right here: