One of the bigger stories of the past month has been the ongoing sparring between developers and grey market key reselling platforms like G2A. This situation isn’t a new one, and it tends to rear its head without resolution from time to time.
The most recent bout of accusations and rebuttals led to G2A taking modest steps to invite developers to its platform in return for protection. Humble, a platform that partners with developers and aids charity, has also been previously caught in the web of key reselling and credit card fraud.
Humble has now detailed extensively how it is protecting developers, including the use of a machine-learning based defense mechanism that has been trained on 55 million transactions. Because of how it’s designed, the system learns with every new transaction processed.
The process, called Sift Science, has different tiers of threat alerts. If the mechanism believes you might be using a stolen credit card, it may ask you for text message-based verification.
After that, if the transaction still looks risky, it’ll be sent for manual review. Your purchase is on hold during this period, but any discounts that may have applied when you initiated the purchase will still be in place when it goes through.
Because stolen credit cards are used quickly and at high volume, Sift Science includes both rate limits and Captcha. This holds thieves to a limit if they happen to slip the net.
If they do get through, when the fraud is discovered the keys will be canceled and returned to the developer or publisher. If you happen to get swept up in a false positive, Humble says it will work to make it right.
Humble is offering its widget and direct sales features (embeddable on a developer’s website instead of handling transactions themselves) for only five percent of each transaction. This is instead of, and not in addition to, the 30 percent cut that Steam takes.
This might make you wonder why Steam allows this if Humble undercuts the platform. First, most people go directly to Steam. Direct sales are a minute portion of overall distribution. Second, Valve benefits from increasing its install base. They might not get a cut of the Humble purchase that gets you to open an account, but with every Steam sale, you’re likely to be opening your wallet and buying games you might not otherwise if you hadn’t become a customer of the platform in the first place.
Humble’s widget isn’t new, but posting these detailed rundown of anti-fraud procedures creates a stark contrast. Humble wants to make sure you know that its business is square with the law and that it has a mechanisms in place to protect customers and developers.
This story delves into a bit of inside baseball, but the process Humble uses to protect developers is fascinating. Machine learning is extremely powerful, with the anti-fraud mechanisms getting smarter with each transaction. Humble also delivers an important message: If you want to stay protected, know from whom you are buying.