Pay Processor Issues

sorry

You may be aware that for the weekend our website has been unable to process payments. We’ve been hard at work trying to remedy this issue, but it may take some time to resolve. The issue is a rather complicated one.

Over the past few months we have been suffering from a drastically heightened number of fraudulent purchases using stolen credit cards on our site. The fraudulent activity has been focused almost exclusively on games that come with Steam keys, with the intent to re-sell on third party websites.

By the time the chargeback occurs and the victim receives their money back, this small yet determined group or individual has already taken the complimentary Steam keys we offer with these titles and sold them elsewhere. Each fraudulent purchase and subsequent chargeback severely damages our relationship with our payment processor, gateway, and creditors.

We’ve been making every attempt possible to thwart these illegitimate purchases with some limited success in the past months; however, as a small business we lack the resources to mitigate the risks associated with offering complimentary Steam keys, and with great regret we must announce that we will not be able to provide them for the foreseeable future.

Purchases on our site will be disabled while we work with our payment processor to sort this issue out. Users who have previously purchased games that have been advertised to come with a Steam key will still be able to retrieve their keys, but future purchases of our titles will not be provided with Steam keys.

We will be keeping you all updated on when our site can resume accepting payments or we have a temporary workaround in place. In the meantime, our Steam titles are available for purchase on Steam.

We sincerely hope to be able to revisit this topic in the future and can find a way to safely resume offering this service to our loyal customers. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Update 2/16/16 5AM EST: We’ve got coupon and point-only order processing back up. If you have enough MG points to make a purchase or a coupon code from a bundle site or other offer, you should be able to complete a transaction as you normally would with those methods now.

Update 2/18/16 1AM EST: We have deactivated Steam keys we’ve identified as involved in the fraudulent transactions. Please be extremely wary if you see any keys being sold on resale sites at a deep discount. If you have any questions about whether a 3rd party retailer is legitimately authorized to sell our products or not, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Update 2/19/16 3PM EST: Good news, we have found a new payment processor! We are hoping to be back up and running in full by the end of the month. Unfortunately, this also means that we will have to delay the release of Beat Blades Haruka until we’re set up with the new processor. We will be releasing the game as soon as we’re back up. Thank you all again for your patience and warm support!

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80 Comments

  1. It sucks that people only think about their own greed. Sorry for your losses.

  2. credit card companies need to fix chargebacks with digital purchases. they currently favour the consumer in a way they shouldn’t (there’s no way for a merchant to win a case with digital goods).

    • I completely agree with you, with the advent of digital goods payment processes and credit companies need to adopt a new way of thinking otherwise this will become a serious problem for anyone selling them.

  3. It’s a shame that this happened. Take your time MangaGamer and work out the issues, you still have my undoubted support! However, I do feel the need for a little moe this week, but I guess I’ll hold off 😉

  4. This really sucks. I really liked the steam key service.
    I hope some kind of solution will appear.
    This is why we can’t have nice things in the world…

  5. I now understand how certain individuals where selling/trading a big number of keys for Princess Evangile, Eden, Cho Dengeki Stryker and other tiles on Steam & steamgifts…

    It’s a real shame as it was a big “plus” compared to your competition. I prefer to give you money directly for a complete product (bypassing 30% fees) and get a complimentary steam key for library/archiving purposes…

    As far workarounds goes, could you maybe delay the release of Steam keys to 15 or 30 days after payment has cleared?
    Are there additional security checks that can be implemented by your payment processor like Visa 3D secure and the like? e.g. where you have to identify via your homebanking application using a card reader or via double factor authentication (app or sms).

  6. How about providing a steam key only 30 days after the purchase?

    • The issue is, I’d never agree to a deal that makes me give the money now, and receive the game a MONTH after the payment.

      Preorder is a thing, a delayed purchase is sure to dry the market, while this is a serious issue for mangagamer, punishing the honest customers would only drive them away.

      • You get the game the moment you pay, you just need to wait for the key.
        If you only want the steam version you can just buy the game from steam.

  7. There certainly are various steps they could take – such as no Steam keys for accounts owning < 2 games or newer than 30 days, no Steam keys until 2 weeks later, or this Visa 3D thing.

    But all of these mean developers have to spend time coding and testing them, and that means they cost money. MangaGamer is small, and hasn't got a lot of money to pay developers to code all of these improvements. And they have not got a lot of options for payment providers, so they can't piss them off too much.

    I recall reading an article about this a few months ago. The grey market in Steam keys seems to have attracted a number of websites that more or less turn a blind eye to these kind of fraudulent third-party sales, meaning that a fraudster has an easy way to turn fraudulent charges into real cash. That's always the hard part of credit card fraud – getting the money without exposing yourself to much risk.

  8. What about Steam keys for physical copies? Still good there?

  9. What about giving steams key only to active accounts, like at least 6 months of activity and 5 or more purchases?

  10. Wow, that’s crummier then I expected this would be. The problem is that there is no real solution that isn’t going to result in less sales. If you put a time limit before redemption of steam keys, then people have less reason to buy for those keys. The other issue was in the past, if you bought from MG you got both version’s which justified the price hike on their site for some games. Now that you would at best get a key a month later or something less steam people are probably going to purchase from steam only as getting both versions after a month is just not convenient.

  11. @Jikorde Of course there is no solution that seems “perfect”, but that doesn’t mean there is no solution that isn’t going to affect sale. (Yeah, I’m an INTJ so I usually stay positive, deal with it ^_^ )
    Anyway, how about:
    + MG will give a Steam key instantly for those who have a valid purchase between 15 days and 6 months.
    + MG will wait 10 days before giving a Steam key to those who don’t satisfy the above.

    + I think people won’t need a month before realizing their credit card was stolen.
    + This kind of encourage people to purchase (within 6 months).
    Just saying my opinion.

  12. This sucks. The complimentary Steam key was a really great bonus which made me grab those games that were also getting released on Steam right from the MG store.
    That some assholes went out of their ways to ruin it for everyone and causing issues to you too is simply shameful.

  13. Hey dude – sorry to hear about this crap. But this might cheer you up: you can ask Valve to deactivate any Steam key you’ve given out as fraud. It’s also against TOS to resell Steam keys, which means anyone buying a Steam key from a 3rd party website is breaking conditions and hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

  14. I work for a financial institution that (obviously) has to deal with fraud. Maybe I can ask around our fraud/BSA department for some tips for you guys.

  15. Well this news is sad to hear. I hope it will be resolved soon.
    there are many good games here that I rather buy here then on steam.
    so I am not sad that steam keys will be removed.
    you have my best wishes.

  16. Was searching for MangaGamer on Google to see if there were any new releases and then this news pops up. I feel bad for you guys, especially since Steam is so popular. I hope you guys can get this fixed soon.

  17. Its not a easy problem to solve. There’s no time limit to report a credit card fraud, so even if they delivered the keys after 30 days it wouldn’t eliminate the problem (yeah… some people will report after months and some people will make fake reports). :/

  18. I never really cared much for Steam keys myself, so the absense of them is not too big of a deal. However, I noticed that none of the product pages on your main site for titles with Steam versions have any links to their respective Steam pages.

    Have you considered doing this? It would help with content discovery and promoting of your VNs being sold on Steam, especially as it’d make it convenient for new users browsing your site who’d prefer to keep their games on Steam.

  19. Thank you very much for explaining what is going on. I really like Mangagamer because of the transparent feedback it constantly gives its fans.

    Because I appreciate the transparency so much, I’ll be purchasing I’ll be purchasing a game I don’t so much care for {already bought all the stuff I really want} once the pay purchaser is back up, to try and help offset the lost profits from all this hassle. Hopefully some others do the same 😛

    If steam keys to get re-implemented, there could be some type of delay involved to prevent fraud. Maybe only accounts that are more than a couple of month old, and have a previous valid purchase on them will be issued keys, or maybe some type of two factor authentication? I dunno. It’s a tough problem to solve with limited resources. ;-(

  20. Sorry to hear about this mess. It sucks that some idiot(s) ruined this for everyone.

    I hope everything gets resolved soon. I need to buy Beat Blades Haruka next week after all!

  21. how long will it be down

  22. I honestly don’t care about steam keys. If I wanted it from steam, I’d buy it there. I would prefer to get my game here.

  23. Damn, i wanted to buy and play Free Friends 2 this week.

  24. this sucks…

    but I hope you manage to solve the problem before 23th February, cause I wanna preorder Beat Blades Haruka…

  25. After you get the payments back up would it be possible to have a small sale like “10% off all games” for a few days? Kinda like a sorry for the inconvenience thing.

  26. It’s a shame that there has to be one or a group of asshats that have to ruin a good thing for everyone. As was mentioned before. Maybe you can offer a Steam key once payment has been cleared (15-30 days).

    Personally I prefer the Mangagamer version (due to Steam censors). However, I do like collecting the cards on Steam for the background and emotes.

  27. Aw what a bummer waited a full week until pay day and now this. :c maybe im not supposed to have that game.

  28. So the Steam Key system is back by now, or am I high?

  29. Geez can’t we all just FAP in peace? You would think masturbation is the one thing the Internet could come together on.

  30. damn. hopefully this is back soon. i wanted to buy KiraKira after finishing deardrops. hopefully this will be up soon

  31. I am not above buying the game twice if I really like the game. However, a good compromise might be to offer a Steam coupon code for a 40-50% discount. Basically a buy one and get on 50% off deal.

    • No good, even then that wont fix the problem one can still go back and say it was a fraudulent purchase and get their money back after reselling the key. That’s the problem here people voiding their purchases doesn’t matter they are stolen or just fraudulent the problem is money being returned after the key has been supposedly re-sold.

  32. I’m absolutely with the “Purchase the game on the site and get the steam key 30 days after purchase.” If i’m not wrong the whole problem is the immediate cancellation of the credit card and the kept keys. But, and correct me if I’m wrong, you can only cancel the transaction after a certain number of days right? Then make it so we receive the keys after that specific date. I’m not too concerned about it because i personally like to keep my VN library separate from my steam library BUT I’m sure this would appease those who are more steam oriented.

    • “The creditor must acknowledge your complaint, in writing, within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after getting your letter.” – U.S. Federal Trade Commission

      30 day delay technically would work to some extent, I say give it a try.

  33. So I can’t get the preorder discount that should have been still running because the game will launch as soon as the payment processor goes back up? That would suck.

  34. Would it be possible to go the other way and give everyone who has a valid Steam key for a multi release a heavy discount for the adult version on the MangaGamer site? The verification would be made by entering a valid Steam key when buying a title.

    And people who bought both the Steam version and adult version separately could get a MangaGamer bonus points to use on other titles as compensation. In this case the Steam key would have to be entered into a panel in the game list of the account.

    Though getting such a system working probably wouldn’t be so easy.

    • Nekopara did something similar to this, if you owned the steam version you could get the full version/full patch at a discount, the cost was the price difference between the 2 versions. So it’s not unreasonable to do it this way.

  35. Wow. Looks like I got my order for Kindred Spirits just in time. I was checking to see when Beat Blades was releasing, and was surprised to see it as TBD, but this, unfortunately,explains it. It’s really sad that people do this, and very sad that it ended up doing this much damage. It’s a bit of a bummer that there will be less to offer without Steam keys, but personally, it won’t matter for me since I always bought from this site.

  36. Figures this would happen the one time I pre-order a game. Oh well, hope everything goes well. To be honest though, I would kind of like to know what the new payment processor is before I agree to use it…

  37. In the future, I really hope you guys pursue the idea of having multiple different payment processors for redundancies’ sake.

    Steam fraud or not, being completely unable to purchase a single product from your website for over 2 weeks until the end of the month is beyond ridiculous. If you found a payment processor, what’s taking so long to implement it?

    • We’re working as fast as we can to get the new one implemented. It’s unfortunately not a simple process. The downtime is highly unacceptable to us too. It’s not like we’re not taking purchases for funzies––we’re losing money every moment we can’t process payments.

  38. Payment procesors are deeply interconnected into the code of the webpage. it’s not as simple as “change a few URLs to point to the new payment processor”. I doubt there are industry standard interfaces. Each payment processor will have its own API to talk to. And there might be multiple points in the order flow that the site will need to talk to the payment processor.

    For example, if MangaGamer’s account system is independent of the payment processor’s (and it must be, or else when the payment processor cut them off, everyone’s account would have disappeared) then the payment processor is going to have to interface with the account system.

    You can’t just tell the payment processor “charge this card number so-much money”. Or at least, you might be able to find a payment processor that would work under such conditions, but they wouldn’t be worth much. That setup would leave them open to so much fraud that the credit card companies would cut the processor off.

    • That’s not true. PayPal’s Payment Pro system works just like how you described systems shouldn’t as do most others (as opposed to regular PayPal which forces you to have an account and redirects you to a different site). A payment system can’t be both “deeply interconnected in the code of the webpage” and “independent” at the same time. The latter is most often the case; in the former the website as a whole would have issues every time their payment system had a cough.

      You most certainly can tell a payment processor “charge this card number so-much money”. That’s exactly how sites that say “save my payment information” work. Without that ability, you would never be able to set up recurring payments.

      And there is a ton of online fraud; most credit card companies don’t care because they’ll get your money anyway (or you’re paying them extra for “fraud protection” services). This is exactly what Congress and groups like the EFF have been wrangling about for 15+ years.

  39. 🙁 i hope it gets yup soon I want to buy a hard copy game and cant pay for it!!

  40. Serial Experiments Lain

    so how is it going? Any ETA?

  41. Darn, to promote MG awareness I’d do a free Steam Key giveaway every time a cheap MG/Steam game came out, and among my Higurashi fan club (Are You Ready For Watanagashi?), I gave out *many* keys as prizes for free lotteries and competitions; all legally out of my own pocket; everytime a chapter was released.

    If I can’t give away keys anymore, then there’s not a lot of reason to keep the group going since there’s only a spike in community activity leading up to and slightly after each launch date. Well, I guess I could buy the game off Steam, but that’s a bit more expensive and doesn’t feel like I’m really giving any money to MG?

    • Steam takes around 30%, so MG is still getting money, just not as much.

      To me, the Steam keys were just a bonus, so I still intend to buy directly from MG.

      • I only set up an MG account right after the processor went down (bad timing on my part) but the whole reason I did so was because, to me, the Steam keys were worthless. I have a hard time buying a game knowing that almost a third of the sale isn’t going to the people who made the game but, instead, to the people who censored it.

  42. I don’t particularly care about the steam key loss; I just hope they are back up and running here sometime in the near future. MangaGamer has a great selection and I’ve been dying for a few new games.

  43. So.. I couldn’t buy pre, due to pay processor issues. Now it’s 29th, and it is still off. What to say? Lose-lose situation for customer.

  44. So its 29th of Feb…when can i buy the Beat blades Haruka??

  45. dont be so impatient… in USA its like 9:10AM.
    I sincerely believe they will make it today…

  46. They tweeted that the payment processor should be back up this evening. The preorder discount also continues through launch week, so there’s that.

  47. Well 11 PM, kinda late evening. Thanks guys. Really, still nothing. No offence, but you have delayed it, and should give us date, which is false. At leastin the endthere will be whole 3$ discount. Yay’

    • That’s nice, but in some parts of the world it’s still the afternoon, the world doesn’t run on your time.

      • I agree with your sentiment but, in Tokyo, it’s already March 1st.

        That said, I do wish that companies would update more frequently. If you can’t make the first date then say so and set a new one. I realize that there isn’t always a lot to say but, in the absence of any other information, people will think the worst had happened..

        • The 29th date was explicitly described as a “tentative” date and, for the record, we generally operate in EST. We can’t make the pay processor stuff happen any faster. As I mentioned before, we’re literally losing money every minute we can’t make sales. We want to get things back up more than anyone.

          We tweeted last night that it’s looking like it’ll be back up this evening. We haven’t updated since then because we didn’t have any additional information to update with. Right now things are looking on track to be back up very soon, a few more hours at worst (barring any additional unforseen problems).

      • And I just saw their Tweet from 13 hours ago saying they’ll be up “this evening”. So it shouldn’t be much longer now.

    • The people tweeting about the times are in the US. They’re most likely going by PST or EST time.

    • I could be wrong (and feel free to correct me), but I believe they usually release games on the site around 12AM PST on release date, hinting that the time they go by is PST. Assuming that, it’s still only 4PM PST at present. Plenty of evening left.

  48. 6 pm eastern time. still no update. really excited to get a alicesoft title but @#$% this is taking to long

  49. This sort of things always seem to happen whenever release dates are concerned. It makes me wonder if companies purposely leave out timezones in order to have some buffer time for f-ck ups.

    • We did not include a specific time because we didn’t have one. We’re not like just not taking sales for fun. Normally our releases go up at midnight EST, but this isn’t a normal circumstance.

      • I’d like to thank you for staying connected to the community during this time. I understand that it takes time to integrate technologies, especially with a limited staff. Thank you and the rest of the MG team working on this to resolve this problem in a way that was as swift as possible. I know it wasn’t your fault that some selfish people had to ruin it for everyone, us and you. Many of us appreciate your hard work and are happy that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel so we can all go back to business as usual.

        Once again, Thanks!

  50. Since I believe in voting with my wallet for things that I want to see more of, I’ve been a Manga Gamer customer for some time. I’ve been looking forward to Beat Blades Haruka, and though I understand the frustration among fans/customers, I don’t hold it against Manga Gamer because I understand that the business is going through something terrible right now. I hope as many customers as possible will be so understanding. I 100% believe you guys when you say no one is more upset with the situation right now than Manga Gamer is. I’m sorry to see that you’re all having to deal with this.

    Money talks; I’ll be making a purchase as soon as the site can process it.

  51. Well shit, I was wondering why I couldnt buy anything. Tried like 10 times before giving up.

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