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Steam introduces feature to combat Borderlands review bombings, Gearbox CEO responds to...

By midian182 · 72 replies
Apr 8, 2019
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  1. Last week brought confirmation that Borderlands 3 would arrive on September 13 and be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for the first six months post-launch. As was the case when Metro Exodus was revealed to be an Epic exclusive, the previous entries in the franchise have been getting review bombed on Steam.

    To try and counter the review bombs, Steam has added an “off-topic filter,” which excludes these reviews from counting toward a game’s overall score. Borderlands 2, for example, has received over 4000 negative reviews since April 3, but as these aren’t taken into account, the game’s recent reviews are classed as ‘Very Positive.’

    Games that have an off-topic filter will show an asterisk next to their review ranks. “This product has experienced one or more periods of off-topic review activity. Based on your preferences, the reviews within these periods have been excluded from this product’s review score,” explains the platform.

    The filter is optional—users can revert back to the original system if they want—and it’s still possible to read the negative reviews when the feature is enabled.

    It appears the controversy has made at least one person involved in the Borderlands franchise happy that publisher 2K decided to pick Epic over Steam. Responding to a tweet from Gearbox developer Scott Velasquez, company CEO Randy Pitchford wrote: “this misuse makes me kind of happy about 2k’s decision,” adding that the experience “makes me want to reconsider Gearbox Publishing’s current posture on the platform.”

    For all the objections, it appears that Epic Games isn’t about to slow down when it comes to signing exclusivity deals. The latest rumors claim the PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2, when it eventually arrives, will skip Steam for Epic. Expect plenty of outrage if that turns out to be true.

    Permalink to story.

  2. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,231   +1,424

    It's all about the Benjamin's.
    erickmendes likes this.
  3. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,457   +1,034

    Right, the ability for the consumers to show their annoyance after making a controversial decision is so horrible! /s

    I don't see myself getting B3. And at this point, if RDR2 goes onto Epic only (instead of letting the "best" platform win), I'll just acquire it another way. I'm not supporting paid exclusives on PC.
  4. kira setsu

    kira setsu TS Addict Posts: 135   +114

    Why not put it on all the digital platforms?

    if you're a big name franchise you'll make your money no matter what, probably even more if you give everyone a choice.

    I just dont understand epics greed I guess
    syrious01 likes this.
  5. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,652   +318

    Consumers can show their annoyance, and Valve can legitimately censor them because these aren't real game reviews.
    pit1209 likes this.
  6. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,457   +1,034

    I'm making fun of Randy Pitchford's comment.
    I am fine with how Steam has been handling reviews lately (as the more legit ones contribute to the score). And it's not like Epic's platform has reviewing currently...
    Capaill, Clamyboy74 and Evernessince like this.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,888   +2,215

    Are people forgetting that steam is THE PLATFORM for borderlands? Borderlands 1 now uses steam game services instead of gearbox online crap. Then, they just used steams system entirely for borderlands 2. If my understanding is correct, borderlands 2 is still a steam exclusive.

    So this isn't just being disappointed about it not being on steam, it's changing the borderlands platform entirely. It's like bungie saying Halo is now going to be a PlayStation exclusive. Why aren't people talking about that?

    And I find these reviews to have merit for the review bombs. A gaming company has changed their policy and people have a right to know what to expect out of a business. They can't throw valve under the bus and then expect them to cover their arses after they eff up.
  8. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,124   +1,617

    Pretty naive of Gearbox and 2K to think there wasn't going to be any blow-back on their decision. And other than not buying the game, there's only a few different ways for consumers to show their feelings.
    syrious01 and psycros like this.
  9. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,709   +2,508

    Pandy Bitchford just insured that Borderlands 3 will fail to come anywhere near sales projections. Notice how he not only singles out Steam as if their the only platform vulnerable to ratings manipulation but also completely ignores the steps they've taken to fix the process. Oh, riiiight - Valve made the off-topic review filter *OPTIONAL*, which isn't what Bitchford wanted. LOL, I never liked Boringlands anyway.
    Capaill and robb213 like this.
  10. 144hzGamer

    144hzGamer TS Addict Posts: 214   +132

    So, steam can have exclusives but other stores cant? Hypocrisy at its best.
  11. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,457   +1,034

    Literally said "best" platform wins. Don't strawman what I said.
    Clamyboy74, syrious01 and robb213 like this.
  12. kevbev89

    kevbev89 TS Maniac Posts: 186   +167

    My interest in Borderlands 3 just went from mildly interested to borderline hate.
    I'm sure talking smack back at the consumers is a BRIGHT idea.
    Though let's be honest, I bet Gearbox will be making a lot of money still.
    Evernessince likes this.
  13. PurpleYoda

    PurpleYoda TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +15

    Plus it actually cost less to purchase games via Epic, right? So what's the big deal? Not everyone is made of money, I'll take any saving I can find while supporting the developer. Clearly Valve doesn't care otherwise they would jump on the bandwagon and match their prices yet they stick to their guns... I wonder what are they betting on..?
  14. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,924   +712

    6 months after release it'll be available on Steam eh? Well that just about coincides with when games typically go on sale for their platform. If not I'll just wait for it to go on sale on Steam, the platform I want to play the game on, and Gearbox will get even less money out of the transaction. The last thing I want to be doing is splitting up my game franchises among different gaming platforms. I'm in no rush to play Borderlands 3, I'll play it when I can buy it where I want to buy it.
    andrewyoung and TomSEA like this.
  15. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,124   +1,617

    That's exactly my take. Normally, I would pre-order this, but I have plenty of other games that can take up my time. I'll be happy to pay 1/2 the original price and get it on Steam - my platform of choice - 6 months down the road.
    Evernessince likes this.
  16. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,467   +500

    With very few exceptions (like internally developed Valve games, for example), Steam "exclusives" are not due to Steam's aggressive marketing, wheeling and dealing, or other negotiations with game publishers to lure them to an exclusivity agreement. They are choices that the developers and/or publishers made on what service they wanted to catalog their game for their customers. There is a huge difference between the 2 situations.
    Adhmuz, robb213 and m4a4 like this.
  17. arrowflash

    arrowflash TS Enthusiast Posts: 36   +22

    What? Afaik, the new review bombing policy is a response to the Devotion debacle, where Chinese players review bombed the game because it had a hidden easter egg mocking their great leader Xi Jinping.

    It's also worth noting that Steam took advantage of this chance to also classify as review bombs that will fall under the new policy, complaints made about DRM (Denuvo) and changes in EULA, which was a very sleazy move.
  18. Toju Mikie

    Toju Mikie TS Addict Posts: 101   +118

    Some of you are forgetting that Borderlands 3 is not a PC-only game. I think the sales will do fine. This is something that is a minor inconvenience. They will be getting 88% rather than 65%. I can't blame them at all for making this decision.
  19. ManuelV

    ManuelV TS Addict Posts: 127   +61

    Why people get mad?, developers are gonna get more money, so either we get better games, cheaper games or more variety. Steam is charging 30% of the developers income without adding almost no value to the games. Competition is almost everytime good for the clients.
  20. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,467   +500

    So, just to recap:

    - 2K makes the decision to support exclusivity deals and decides to give Epic's store a 6 month head start with Borderlands 3 (probably due to some seriously lucrative incentives, most of which we'll probably never know).
    - Loyal customers who have been buying the BL series for years on Steam are rightfully upset.
    - Backlash commences, and the review bombing attacks begin in retaliation for 2K's decisions. Somewhat juvenile tactic, but the players want to make their anger known.
    - Steam does damage control and uses a system to help rectify and nullify the review bombs.
    - 2K leader takes to Twitter to blame Steam for allowing it to happen in the first place, question their future with Steam, and never once take any blame for the backlash their decisions created in the community.

    Did I get that about right?
  21. kira setsu

    kira setsu TS Addict Posts: 135   +114

    I wish I lived in that place.

    the devs will get more money and still claim it isnt enough then still hit us with more preorder, dlc, microtransaction BS than ever. Look at bl3 itself, coming exclusively to epic because epic paid for it and doesnt take a massive cut of profits....YET, the game will still have multiple version and addons to pelt you over the head with.

    steam may take a nice cut but it also has message boards and other things covered so when these busted a$$ games release players have a place to go and find answers.

    the devs are as bad as everything else in gaming, they need to just grow a pair and admit the trusty ol 60bones doesnt cover their vision anymore, I would gladly pay more for a truly complete game instead of this wait around for a year for a goty version bs
    Adhmuz, andrewyoung and Evernessince like this.
  22. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,467   +500

    But that's not the case at all. Yes, Steam charges 30%, which has been the going industry standard rate for about as long as Steam has existed, I believe. In return, publishers have a stable digital delivery system with a giant catalog and massive user base. One that endlessly promotes titles, spotlights new titles, provides early access programs... And has a huge community/forum system, with an entire workshop API dedicated to allowing the communities to share created content if the developer wants to incorporate that system into their code.

    It's not that Steam is charging "more for nothing extra" here, even if you'd like to believe that. It's that Epic is charging less for a new platform with far fewer features.
    Adhmuz, andrewyoung, Dalunar and 2 others like this.
  23. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,991   +3,479

    No, it isn't cheaper


    Still $60 to pre-order. Mind you the EPIC store doesn't even have pre-loading, let alone reviews. It's missing a ton of features that steam provides.

    See the link above. We are not getting cheaper games. Borderlands 3 was done before the platform was chosen, so you aren't reaping any "better game" benefits from this. They are pocketing the money plain and simple.

    Kind of hard not to implicate gearbox in this when their head boss is seen shitting on steam in a tweet. Perhaps he should learn to think before talking. Ironically he is criticizing steam for a feature EPIC doesn't even have and a feature steam has actively been improving. There's no excuse for not contacting steam first to see if their side of the story. Someone in his position should know this. Right now all I see is a BS reason to justify the cash grab.
  24. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,991   +3,479

    PC is by far the biggest platform. Steam alone has significantly more users then either PS Online Or Xbox Live. Not counting the numerous other online games like WoW and other game launchers.
  25. kevbev89

    kevbev89 TS Maniac Posts: 186   +167

    I don't think that is true. Console games in general have a way larger audience and revenue compared to PC. But if you have any sources that say otherwise, I'd love to use it to smear it on console plebs.

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