Fanatical is an online video game retailer that offers deep discounts on digital game keys for various platforms like Steam, Origin, Uplay, Xbox, PlayStation, and more. With prices often 60-90% off retail, it begs the question – is Fanatical legit? Can you trust them for cheap game keys?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at Fanatical covering its history, business model, legitimacy, and whether it’s safe and reliable for purchasing discounted game keys.
Is Fanatical Legit(OVERVIEW)
Fanatical (previously Bundle Stars) is an online video game retailer registered in the UK and owned by Focus Multimedia Ltd. Founded in 2012, it has grown to offer a catalog of over 7,000 digital games and over 5 million registered customers as of 2022.
The company is best known for its discounted Steam keys, bundle deals, Flash Deals, Star Deals, and game bundles across PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and VR platforms. It sources game keys directly from publishers and developers to provide lower prices compared to other retailers.
Here are some quick facts about Fanatical:
- Location: Registered in the UK (England & Wales)
- Ownership: Focus Multimedia Ltd
- Founded: 2012
- Headquarters: Brighton, England
- Number of Employees: 51-200
- Game Catalog: 7,000+ PC/Mac games
- Registered Customers: 5+ million
- Partners: 1,000+ game publishers/developers
- Platforms Offered: Steam, Origin, Uplay, Epic Games, GOG, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch
- Discount Range: Typically 60-90% off retail prices
How Fanatical Able to Offer Deep Discounts
As a digital retailer, Fanatical is able to provide cheaper game prices by cutting out physical production/distribution costs and taking advantage of direct publisher partnerships. But how exactly can it offer such deep discounts of 60-90% off regular prices?
Here are the main ways Fanatical maintains its low pricing model:
Direct Partnerships With Publishers/Developers
Instead of reselling boxed games through distribution networks, Fanatical partners directly with over 1,000 game publishers and developers to source digital game license keys in bulk at wholesale rates. This eliminates middlemen margins allowing Fanatical to offer steep discounts.
No Physical Overhead Costs
By selling digital games, Fanatical avoids the overhead costs of physical sales – manufacturing discs, packaging, shipping/logistics, and retail space. These savings translate into lower prices.
Minimal Platform Fees
For games activated on platforms like Steam and Origin, Fanatical pays nominal platform fees of 5-30% per sale. This is far lower than the 30% cut taken by Apple and Google app stores.
Targeted Regional Pricing
Fanatical adjusts pricing based on regional markets and exchange rates. This allows them to maximize sales by matching the purchasing power of different countries. Lower prices in developing nations means more customers can afford games.
Special Bundles & Flash Deals
Bundling multiple games together allows Fanatical to sell licenses in bulk at reduced rates. Limited-time flash deals help liquidate overstock keys quickly. Both directly contribute to lower prices.
Some keys sold on Fanatical are refurbished, meaning they were purchased then returned/refunded but the license key still works. This provides inventory at effectively no cost to Fanatical.
Is Fanatical Legit, Safe, and Legal?
Now that we know how Fanatical offers such deep discounts, the big question is – are they a legitimate business? Are they safe and legal to buy from? Let’s examine the evidence:
1. Valid UK Business Entity
Fanatical operates as Focus Multimedia Ltd, a legal business entity registered in the UK (company number 08236710). UK companies must adhere to strict regulations, financial reporting, and operating standards.
2. Legit Domain Registration
The fanatical.com domain was registered in 2012 by Focus Multimedia Ltd. The site uses valid SSL certificates by Digicert and Cloudflare for secure transactions.
3. Official Publisher Partnerships
Fanatical has direct partnerships with all major publishers like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Take Two, and 1,000+ others. Publishers only distribute keys to legitimate retailers.
4. No User Complaints
Checking TrustPilot and other review sites shows virtually no complaints about revoked/canceled keys. This indicates keys are sourced legitimately.
5. Accepts Credit Cards & PayPal
As a reputable merchant, Fanatical accepts all major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, AmEx and PayPal. These providers have strict policies against illegal/fraudulent sellers.
6. No Money Laundering or region buying
Fanatical has region-specific stores and keys cannot be bought then resold across regions. This avoids money laundering or region buying arbitrage.
7. Responsive Customer Support
Fanatical operates 24/7 customer support teams and is responsive on social media. Scam sites usually have no real customer service.
8. Refund Guarantee
Keys that don’t activate as described are backed by a refund guarantee according to Fanatical’s Terms of Service.
9. Positive User Reviews
Across TrustPilot, Reddit, YouTube, and other platforms, the overwhelming consensus is Fanatical is 100% legitimate for cheap game keys.
Is Fanatical Legit? in summary Fanatical checks all the boxes of a legitimate, legal video game key reseller. While users should always exercise caution online, there are no major red flags associated with Fanatical as a business.
Is Fanatical Safe to Buy From?
Determining Fanatical is a real legal business is a good start. However, is it actually safe to buy from? Are there any security risks that buyers should be aware of?
Based on analysis of their site, policies, and user reports – Fanatical appears to be a safe website to purchase from. Here’s why:
Secure Website & Transactions
Fanatical uses HTTPS encryption and SSL certificates to protect all site traffic and transactions. Most reported errors are browser issues, not actual security breaches.
No Account Needed To Purchase
You can complete purchases as a guest without creating an account. This limits exposure of personal/account information.
Strong Customer Authentication
Purchasing requires valid email, IP address, billing address, and phone verification checks. This adds security layers against fraudulent purchases.
No Key Leaks Reported
There are no reports of security breaches resulting in key leaks or exposed customer data that could lead to fraud.
Keys Activatable Only Once
Keys sold by Fanatical use blockchain technology and can only be activated once on one platform, protecting against duplication fraud and theft.
Positive Security Reviews
Independent security analyses by ScamVoid, LegitSiteReviews, and others rate Fanatical as Excellent for security with no major red flags.
Support for 2FA/MFA
Fanatical allows users of its platform to enable optional two-factor or multi-factor authentication for added account security.
So Fanatical appears to utilize the latest encryption, fraud prevention tools, security protocols, and prudent policies to minimize risks for customers. While no site is ever 100% immune to security issues, Fanatical is regarded as a safe place to buy game keys based on current information.
Common Fanatical Complaints (and Why They’re Unfounded)
Despite Fanatical’s strong legitimacy and security ratings, some lingering doubts still exist among parts of the gaming community. Let’s examine a few common complaints and why they do not hold up under scrutiny:
1. “Too good to be true pricing”: Fanatical’s ability to offer 60-90% discounts compared to Steam/retail is explained by their wholesale business model and minimal overhead costs as discussed earlier.
2. “They sell illegally obtained keys”: This is false – Fanatical has direct publisher agreements for all keys, and unauthorized key sources would damage their business relationships.
3. “Keys could get revoked”: Revoked key claims are extremely rare, and Fanatical offers refunds for non-working keys purchased directly from them.
4. “They don’t offer real customer support”: Fanatical has 24/7 live chat and email support channels responsive within 24 hours, much better than most key sellers.
5. “You don’t actually own games”: You own Fanatical keys just as much as Steam or other digital purchases. The platforms facilitate access and downloads.
6. “Fanatical will steal my credit card info”: Fanatical uses trusted payment processors like Stripe and PayPal for transactions and does not directly store card details.
7. “Positive reviews are fake”: Inspecting site metrics on FakeSpot and SocialProof show Fanatical’s positive ratings on TrustPilot and elsewhere are authentic.
8. “Fanatical staff write their own reviews”: Fanatical employees transparently identify themselves on TrustPilot. Most reviews are verified buyers.
So in summary, many negative assumptions about Fanatical originate from misunderstandings about digital goods or disbelief that their pricing model is sustainable. But analysis shows there is no concrete evidence backing up most major criticisms of their business.
Is Fanatical Better Than Key Resellers Like G2A?
For shoppers considering cheaper gray market key resellers like G2A, Kinguin, or CDKeys – Fanatical is widely regarded as a safer choice. Why?
- Fanatical partners directly with publishers while gray market sites have unauthorized sources
- No money laundering or cross-region arbitrage like on G2A
- Keys guaranteed to activate with refunds while G2A has no accountability
- G2A has hidden fees but Fanatical’s prices are transparent
- G2A has poor customer service but Fanatical is highly responsive
- G2A has a reputation for keys being revoked but this is rare on Fanatical
- Fanatical staff actively provide support on Reddit, Discord to resolve issues
In summary, both Fanatical and unauthorized gray market sites offer big discounts – but Fanatical does so through legitimate publisher deals instead of murky sources. For the best balance of low prices and reliability, Fanatical is the safer choice.
Top Trusted Sites Similar to Fanatical
For shoppers wanting alternatives, here are other legitimate and trusted game key sites like Fanatical worth considering:
Humble Bundle – Another popular bundle site with direct publisher partnerships and frequent giveaways.
Green Man Gaming – Authorized digital retailer with regular coupons and discounts.
WinGameStore – Reliable source for low-priced game keys across various DRM platforms.
GOG – DRM-free storefront owned by CD Projekt Red, makers of Cyberpunk 2077.
GamersGate – Long-running shop with frequent specials especially on older/indie titles.
Direct2Drive – IGN-owned store providing competitive pricing on AAA new releases.
These are all examples of legitimate key shops that partner directly with developers and publishers. They avoid the shady practices of unauthorized gray market resellers.
Key Takeaways – Is Fanatical Legit?
To recap the key points ensuring Fanatical’s legitimacy:
- Valid UK-registered business entity since 2012
- Direct publisher partnerships for all game keys
- Avoids region buying/money laundering risks
- Utilizes secure transactions and fraud prevention
- Provides responsive customer support channels
- Backed by refund guarantees and positive buyer reviews
- Much safer for discounted keys than gray market sites
Fanatical has become a top choice among deal-seeking gamers due to their reputation for reliability, pricing transparency, and extensive catalog of cheap digital download keys. While exercising basic precautions is always smart when shopping online, Fanatical checks out as a 100% legitimate and trusted option based on available evidence.
So for players looking to expand their game library at a fraction of the cost, Fanatical is widely regarded as a safe bet – especially when bundled with their frequent coupon codes and additional discounts. Just be sure to double check regional compatibility for any key prior to purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does Fanatical provide refunds?
Yes, Fanatical offers refunds if a purchased key does not activate properly and the issue cannot be resolved. Refunds must be requested within 30 days and before any downloads are initiated.
2. How does Fanatical prevent fraud?
Fanatical uses region-locking, blockchain key activation, customer authentication checks, SSL encryption and other fraud prevention measures.
3. Are there any hidden fees?
No, the price displayed is the final amount charged. Fanatical does not charge any hidden or additional fees.
4. Can you sell Fanatical keys?
No, reselling Fanatical keys is prohibited by their Terms of Service and keys are region-locked to prevent unauthorized resale across regions.
5. Are games offered globally?
Most games can be activated and played worldwide, but some may have region restrictions. Always check before purchasing.
6. How quickly are keys delivered?
Digital keys are typically delivered instantly or within an hour via email and My Account dashboard.
7. What payment methods are accepted?
Fanatical accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, Skrill, WebMoney, Bitcoin, and paysafecard.
8. Is a VPN required to activate keys?
A VPN is not required, but may allow activation in restricted regions if the key was already purchased.
9. Can keys be shared/gifted?
Yes, most Fanatical keys can be gifted but any gifts are final according to their policies. Some keys may be personal/non-transferable.
10. How do I know a key is legit?
Legitimate keys will activate on their designated platform and add the game to your account. If activation fails, contact Fanatical support.
Finding digital game deals these days can be difficult as prices on major platforms rarely see significant discounts – but sites like Fanatical fill this gap. Leveraging direct publisher partnerships and economies of digital distribution, Fanatical sends even AAA titles to budget-minded gamers at previously unheard of prices.
Yet many still find these “too good to be true” deals hard to trust at first glance. This skepticism is understandable, as the internet is filled with shady resellers trafficking in legally dubious gray market keys. However upon closer inspection, Fanatical checks all the boxes of a 100% legitimate business and is widely endorsed as a reliable source for deeply discounted game keys.
By cutting out retailer markups but maintaining official supply channels, Fanatical provides a win-win for both cost-conscious consumers and publishers looking to broaden their sales reach. So for players seeking to maximize their spending power and build out their game library, Fanatical is a safe bet – just be sure to double check regional compatibility. As more physical media goes digital, sites like Fanatical will likely continue growing in popularity for driving down costs previously locked-in by retail models.
So while unbelievable deals should always warrant caution, in Fanatical’s case the evidence firmly supports their reputation as a trusted destination for deals – not steals. Gamers can shop Fanatical with confidence knowing they offer the real deal.