UPDATE: Gearbox Software has begun the process of dissolving its partnership with G2A, as the company has thus far taken no actions to meet the new demands. If G2A responds quickly, the extraction process could still potentially be halted – but as things stand, it looks like Bullestorm: Full Clip will soon be distributed without a partnership with G2A. The original article continues below:
Earlier this week, Gearbox Software announced a distribution partnership with G2A for Bulletstorm: Full Clip, a move that was immediately met with heavy criticism from the gaming community as a whole. G2A is a company which has a proven history of hosting illegitimate key sales without any form of free consumer protection, and the mass sale of stolen keys has already led to devastating revenue losses for indie developers like Tinybuild and Unknown Worlds, the former of which was almost bankrupted by the incident. Suffice to say, many who had negative experiences with G2A weren’t too happy to hear that the Bullestorm partnership would lend the company some legitimacy in the eyes of the unaware.
Shortly after the partnership announcement, popular video game critic and streamer TotalBiscuit took to Twitter to lay into Gearbox Software for partnering up with a company he perceived as thieves, announcing that he would no longer cover games made by Gearbox Software as a result. His followers were quick to share and spread the discontent until it grew into a large movement, and Gearbox Software – perhaps sensing a public relations nightmare – invited TotalBiscuit into a conference call to see if his allegations could be backed up. After supplying the studio with this information, the company put forth a modified business proposal that more or less forces G2A to either go legitimate or lose the partnership.
The mandatory plan includes the promise that G2A will make its customer fraud protection program free instead of a paid separate subscription service within 30 days of the Bulletstorm Steam launch. Within 60 days before this launch, the company must implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers via title, user ID, and account payable levels to instigate a better fraud flagging process. Lastly, within 90 days the company must open a web service or API solely for developers and publishers, which can be used to search for and flag illegitimate keys for immediate removal.
If G2A doesn’t commit to this plan and deliver on each actionable, Gearbox Software will cancel the partnership in its entirety, and the Bulletstorm collector’s edition will move forward with a different distribution partnership. Given that the game launched yesterday, this means G2A is either frantically working to implement these new changes, or milking the situation for all its worth for the time being.
While TotalBiscuit states that he doesn’t believe G2A will actually commit to these terms, he sees it as a win either way: either the company cleans up its act and turns legitimate, or the company proves that it can’t operate as a legitimate business in front of a mass of curious consumers. Objectively, TB’s stance may seem a little off-putting, as he’s more or less saying that it’s okay to work with a company that got its start ripping people off, so long as they turn legitimate when they’ve made enough money to reach the big leagues. Ultimately, though, his actions have certainly helped both Gearbox Software and the gaming industry improve its stature, even just by a little.
What do you think about the drama with Gearbox Software and G2A, Ranters? Do you think the company will agree to the terms?
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.