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Steam Users Review Bomb Borderlands; Randy Pitchford Responds

Randy Pitchford and Gearbox Studios are losing the crowd again. After revealing the long-awaited Borderlands 3 at PAX East late last month, the studio announced that the game would be exclusive to the Epic Games Store until six months after its launch.


And fans are not happy about that.

Many have taken to "review bombing" Borderlands titles on Steam — effectively dumping massive amounts of negative reviews on each game in order to lower its overall average rating. This is a problem that seems to follow any bit of bad press a game receives and has affected a number of other titles in the past. And it's a problem that Steam had supposedly solved.

That doesn't appear to be the case. And now Pitchford — who isn't one to shy away from controversy — is speaking out.

"Ironically, that this misuse is possible and that Steam has no interest in correcting this misuse make me kind of happy about 2k's decision," Pitchford said of the review bombing. He added that it also makes him "want to reconsider Gearbox Publishing's current posture on the platform."


It's safe to say that this probably isn't the type of Borderlands 3 rollout anyone at Gearbox was hoping for.

The game's initial reveal at PAX East — after years of rumors and immense hype — was mired in technical issues. Pitchford took a dig at PAX East's equipment, which led to him being booed by the audience. And he did a magic trick that took way too long and just reminded everyone that, oh yeah, this is the guy who lost a USB drive full of porn and called one of the women in the videos a "magician." And now there is this Epic Games Store fiasco, which we've seen play out a number of times already with other games.

It really seems that, going forward, publishers are going to have to weigh the PR impact of selling on the Epic Games Store as heavily as they do the financial benefits. We don't see similar reactions to other launchers because, frankly, they're all more fully featured, and consumers are still getting access to no-brainers like cloud saves and friends lists.

Epic's store has none of those yet, and won't for months to come. Epic isn't going to back down on trying to nab exclusives for the Epic Games Store, either. So you can fully expect this scenario to keep repeating, and for fans of whatever the game may be to strike back in whatever way gets attention.


Borderlands 3 releases for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on Sept. 13.