Randy Pitchford recently took to Twitter to clarify what he considers to be the misuse of his words with regards to upcoming Borderlands 3 in-game purchases. While Pitchford said that there would be no microtransactions during the livestream of the game, an interview with Gearbox developer Paul Sage seemed to contradict this statement.
Pitchford was upset at how Game Informer presented his statement afterward, and for a while, the Twitter rant seemed to go back and forth. Ultimately, it seems that Pitchford's frustration can be boiled down to two points. First, he believes that the point of microtransactions was focused upon in an incorrect way, and secondly, he seems to have his own definition of the term.
Eventually, it was made clear that Pitchford considers loot boxes, “pay-to-win” mechanics, and anything that provides a competitive edge via real money expenditures to be microtransactions. However, cosmetic items do not fall under his definition of the term and will be in Borderlands 3.
Game Informer chose to make a click bait tweet that muddied and confused the situation. I hope I have clarified it for you. @GI_AndyMc pledge to correct issues with their reporting, but I have seen no evidence of that yet.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) May 2, 2019
Regardless of how the term "microtransactions" is used, and whether it applies here, it is a relief to see that Borderlands 3 is not going the way of loot boxes designed to foster tendencies of gambling and addiction to secure cosmetic items. DLC has been a part of the series since the beginning, and Borderlands 2 is likely a good indicator of what we will see in the sequel in terms of content released in the future for an additional cost. This might include new playable classes, new quests or entire new areas, and, as stated, cosmetic overhauls to your favorite classes.
This news should be received positively by fans. Other games that have introduced loot boxes that also contain only cosmetic items have been met with mixed reactions, and rightfully so. Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars Battlefront II are two games that brought up discussions to the forefront of their respective communities, which focused on the negative aspects of the model. By no means are loot crates in either game necessary to progress, but they are absolutely enticing by design and in some cases the only way to acquire certain cosmetic items, leading to the infamous declaration about a sense of pride and accomplishment.
This has led to the creation of sites that track your chances of unboxing particular cosmetic items you may be chasing, which often reveal that your chances are quite low, even after you've spent far more than you may like.
If in the end, though, since this only turned out to be a miscommunication and a short rant on Twitter, fans should still be happy. Gearbox committing to only sell cosmetics and DLC for Borderlands 3 is only par for the course.