Yes, there are risks buying from Gray Steam Key Resellers like Kinguin

By Todd Russell May23,2024

At PlayGamesMore we buy a lot of games, both newer and older, and a few members have asked if Kinguin (https://www.kinguin.net/) is a legit shopping source. Some of the Steam keys offered for sale on Kinguin are heavily discounted compared to buying directly on Steam or using alternative authorized sites like Fanatical, Green Man Gaming, Humble Bumble that acquire keys directly from the game publishers.

Kinguin has been in business since 2013 and does not buy keys directly, instead offering reselling of keys by others online. There are many sites like Kinguin, some way more sketych than others. Think of Kinguin a little like an eBay of Steam keys allowing people to buy and sell and their Steam and other digital game keys purchased from authorized resellers. In other words, John Smith buys a Steam key to XYZ game, then doesn’t redeem it — or worse, he does — then tries to resell that key on Kinguin to you. Kinguin is the broker of the deal taking a fee and trying to provide some sort of protection that the key will work for the buyer.

What sort of protection? Kinguin offers a customer support portal (https://support.kinguin.net/hc/en-us/articles/16545165939997-How-to-report-a-faulty-key) for “faulty keys” in which the buyer has to prove with screenshots the key doesn’t work.

The risk at key reseller sites like Kinguin is similar to eBay, in that the item is what is promised/advertised. A legitimate key that is not used and works in the region where you are located at a price often dramatically lower than the price on Steam.

Simply Googling “is Kinguin legit” will reveal all kinds of reviews of the site from others.

To summarize, Kinguin is mostly safe to buy game codes and product keys from. It bears the same type of risk as any other third-party/gray market website. Common online purchase safety practices are recommended and checking the seller’s ratings prior to the purchase. If you’re still unsure, consider purchasing the desired game code or software key from an official distributor or from the developer directly for 100% security.

Is Kinguin a Safe and Legit Site for Game Codes? Answered – Prima Games

As of this writing, Kinguin has a TrustPilot ranking of 4.1 out of 5 with almost 60,000 reviews.

This author buys the vast majority of Steam games directly from Steam, usually during their sales. With the two hour play and refund window, it’s essentially a free trial to decide whether or not you want to keep and play the games. I wishlist the games I’m interested in and then check my Steam wishlist during the sales.

Most games I’ve purchased from other sites, like collections from Fanatical and Humble Bundle are games I’ve not enjoyed. This doesn’t mean they are all bad games, just that most weren’t games I’ve enjoyed. Yes, there are some very good deals from sites like those and I will use and recommend buying games at the best price, if it’s a game you’re going to keep and play through. If it’s a great deal on a so-so game that collects virtual dust, what’s the point?

These reseller sites are useful to check for games you either know you want to buy and keep and/or feel like the Steam price is overpriced at the time you most want to play. For example, I saved buying Mortal Kombat 1 through Fanatical (see: REVIEW: Mortal Kombat 1 – After Beating Story Mode and Playing All Modes (No story spoilers).

Often, during the seasonal Steam sales, particularly the big Summer and Winter sales, you can get comparable prices to what are found on the reseller sites like Kinguin. Yes, I’ve bought games through Kinguin and have suggested to other PGM members to “check the reseller sites” like Kinguin for deals. Of the 11 game keys I’ve bought through Kinguin, as of this writing, every key has worked flawlessly.

Probably the best direct Steam shopping tip I can think of is using the SteamDB browser extension (available here FREE: Extension for Steam · SteamDB) that tells you the lowest price ever tracked on Steam. This gives you an idea of what the best deal on Steam has ever been. See example pictured below:

That all said, based on research, there are definitely risks buying through key reseller sites. There is no risk buying directly from Steam. There are risks walking across the street. Life is full of risks.

Kinguin is worthwhile checking out and keeping in mind during game shopping, especially for games when the current Steam price is way too high. You can/will save money buying through both authorized sites and reseller sites, so don’t forget to shop around and decide: do I want to keep this game forever in my library? Will I play it? If the answer is you’ll play it, then buying at the best price with the least risk makes sense.

Readers, where do you buy your Steam games most from? Steam? Fanatical? Kinguin? Somewhere else? Share in the comments your game shopping experiences.

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2 thoughts on “Yes, there are risks buying from Gray Steam Key Resellers like Kinguin”
  1. Great article Todd. It’s good to know a few options to save some money and what to look out for when looking for the best deal.

  2. Hi Todd!

    I buy most of my games thru Steam, but have bought games thru Greem Man Gaming and had good experiences with them.

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