Borderlands 3 can’t stay out of the news lately. Since the trailer dropped at the end of March, information has been coming thick and fast. While most of it was well received, one decision was a predictable miss and that was taking the title to the Epic Games Store for a six-month exclusive deal.
The Epic Games store has come in for some serious hate recently, and irate fans almost immediately began review bombing previous Borderlands titles on Steam in protest at the decision. Now Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox and Scott Velasquez, a developer involved with the Borderlands franchise, have spoken out about the practice.
Ironically, that this misuse is possible and that Steam has no interest in correcting this misuse makes me kind of happy about 2k’s decision and makes me want to reconsider Gearbox Publishing’s current posture on the platform.— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) April 5, 2019
It started with Velasquez calling out people who review bombed old titles as a protest against a franchise or studio. He describes the practice as “not cool” and calls out Steam for allowing it. Pitchford replies saying that the fact that Steam “has no interest in correcting this misuse” makes him think twice about keeping Gearbox’s games on the platform.
However, the comments made about Steam neglecting to do anything are not entirely true. Back in mid March, Valve implemented a new system to help combat review bombing, the practice of leaving a slew of negative reviews about a game as a form of protest.
The system works by monitoring reviews. If a sudden burst of negative reviews appear, usually several months after release, it notifies the team at Valve, who can then manually verify what is happening.
Once a review bomb is confirmed those reviews will be moved into a new category. They’ll remain in the review section, but will not count to the game’s user review score.
Moving the reviews may fix the immediate issue, but it’s not addressing the real cause for concern here, which is why Epic Games Store deals are attracting so much negativity.
While Pitchford may be reconsidering Steam as a distributor, any decision to send further games Epic's way is likely to go down badly, unless Epic start addressing the serious concerns gamers have about its platform.
While the Epic Games store offers an attractive deal for studios, consumers have major concerns. Some cite a lack of features as an issue, others cite security and many more simply don’t want to deal with yet another launcher.
If the Epic Games Store is to thrive going forward then gamers will surely want to see their concerns addressed. While Epic CEO Time Sweeney is beginning to address these issues, there’s still a long way to go.