Am I wrong to assume that most avid gamers have at least considered buying a cd-key from the many game key websites out there? Perhaps I could go so far to say most heavy gamers have bought at least one key from one of these sites? I admit that I rarely ever pay retail for a game, simply because I’m cheap (the first step is to admitting it). If it is a newer game and currently not part of some big sale at Steam, I start searching game key shops for heavy discounts. Legal? I don’t see why not. Risky? Potentially.
If you’ve never used one of the sites, let me help you out with some recommendations and lessons learned. The key thing to remember, and you’ve heard it before; If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve used a handful of sites and will only recommend those in this post because I know from experience that they will deliver and stand by their product. Despite my recommendations, use your own judgement when purchasing discounted game keys, remembering their is always some potential risk involved.
So how do you find the best deals? I usually search a few websites to get pointed in the right direction for the best deal. The most popular is probably allkeyshop.com (cheapdigitaldownload.com), but the prices are listed in Euros which may be deceiving to US customers. Some alternatives that I also like; cdkeyprices.com, dlcompare.com, cdkeywatch.com and cdkeycompare.com. You may notice many use Euro as their currency which I don’t mind because I have both a US and European bank account, opting for whichever currency offers the best deal. So for those wanting the best deal with their dollar, be sure to choose a site that allows you to switch to dollars (cdkeycompare.com for example). Even if the price is only available in Euro doesn’t mean you may not buy the game using dollars, just be conscious of the conversion rate at the time of purchase.
You know what title you’re looking for, you’ve run your comparison and found some great deals, but who do you trust? I typically only buy through a few game key sellers, even if it means I pay a little bit more than the cheapest, simply because I know I am going to get what I’m paying for. Here is my list in no particular order, read the comments for more details:
- Instant-gaming.com – Very popular and usually near the top of the list for gaming deals. I’ve made one purchase from them and had my key within minutes, if not seconds. I’ve heard stories of people needing to sent them a copy of their photo ID to get their game key, very strange. I did not have to do this when I made my purchase.
- Kinguin.net – Often in the top 3 for best price and very trusted in the game key community. I have purchased from them several times without issue. It may take a few minutes to get your key, but I’ve never waiting more than twenty minutes.
- G2A.com – Great prices, well trusted and near instant delivery of your game key. I think my last game key purchase was from here and took about 2 minutes to get. I’ve never had to deal with customer support but I’ve heard they are helpful.
- GK4.me – Alright, I have tried to use them. They offered the best deal I could find for Elder Scrolls Online the day it went Buy-To-Play. I quickly sent my payment, started spam refreshing my email, got the email and clicked on the link to get my code. Tried to download the code but kept getting a blank jpeg image. After the 3rd attempt it said I had no game keys to download. I opened a ticket with their support and the next day got a reply that the game was no longer available. They offered me a credit for the amount but I wanted my money back to get the game somewhere else. They agreed after several emails and I had to give them my bank details so they could send the payment. After nearly 4 weeks I did finally get the money back. They were responsive in communications and assured me the whole time I would get the money, the bank system is pretty slow in Europe (they’re based in Germany). I bank in Germany quite a bit and I’m familiar with the system so not afraid to deal with German based companies. I think they are a reputable company but keep this experience in mind.
- Online-gold.de – I think I’ve used this place the most. They delivery very quickly, usually have great deals and offer a payment method I prefer – sofort. This won’t be attractive for US buyers but it works great for me, allowing a quick money transfer through my European bank account – securely. The code is delivered instantly and I’ve never had any problems with them. I got a great deal through Online-Gold on H1Z1 that has yet to be beat 🙂
When using any of these sites, make sure you are buying a game key that will work in your region. Be cautious of buying game keys that are meant for Russia or other regions where games are significantly cheaper. They’ll try to promote the use of VPN services in order to authenticate your key when using it in Steam but I would be very careful that Steam catches on later and at minimum removes the game from your library (or closes your account!). I haven’t heard of this happening but wouldn’t want you to be the first.
Purchase from these sites, keeping in mind my cautions, and I think you’ll find some great deals out there. Don’t forget to check out Greenmangaming.com and IsThereAnyDeal.com for more cheap game purchase options. Never pay full price again!