Following considerable backlash over its decision to partner with controversial key reselling marketplace G2A on the publishing of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, Gearbox has announced it has 'begun executing on [its] extraction process' after the company failed to agree to basically completely abandon its current business model.
As detailed in our hands-on preview
, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is effectively a rehashing of the 2011 first-person shooter under IP holder People Can Fly. Gearbox, which was responsible for the questionable choice to add Duke Nukem as a character to the game, announced that it would be producing a collector's edition of the game as part of its publishing agreement - then, for reasons known only to the company itself, decided to partner with G2A, a company which allows third parties to resell game keys that often turn out to be fraudulent, stolen, or paid for with stolen credit cards, on said edition.
The result was predictable: As soon as game bloggers and YouTubers got wind of the deal, they turned on Gearbox. Equally controversial YouTube personality John Bain (AKA TotalBiscuit) announced a Gearbox boycott
despite G2A's 2016 moves to lower fraud levels
on its platform. When others followed Bain, Gearbox released a statement which failed to explain why it had chosen G2A in the first place but came with a bizarre string of demands which effectively required G2A to completely overhaul its business model.
The demands, a copy passed to Vice
reveals, include: G2A making its 'Shield' fraud protection service free of charge for all customers, rather than a nicely profitable add-on; a restructured payment system with no hidden charges for sellers or buyers; a throttling system which prevents sellers from flooding the market with stolen or fraudulent game keys then disappearing before the publishers can respond; and the creation of a 'web service or API
' which publishers can use to find and flag fraudulent or stolen keys, with no charges due for its use. Gearbox also set some extremely tight deadlines: G2A Shield had to be made free by April 14th, while the new payment system must be implemented within a month, the throttling within two months, and the API within three.
G2A, unsurprisingly, has not responded publicly to the demands - and, apparently, hasn't spoken to Gearbox, either, as the company has stated it is to begin the process of terminating the partnership. 'As there has been no public movement from G2A by the time Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition launched now on PC, Gearbox Publishing will be doing their part to not directly support a marketplace that did not make the new public commitment to protecting customers and developers requested by Gearbox Publishing,
' the company has said in a statement to press. 'We do not control G2A’s marketplace or where they may obtain keys from parties outside of Gearbox Publishing, but we can confirm that today we have begun executing on our extraction process.
The timescale of this 'extraction process
' is not know; at present, the Bulletstorm re-release and collector's edition remain available for purchase on G2A.