After issuing demands to its Bulletstorm collector’s edition distribution partner G2A and receiving no response, Gearbox has begun the process to walk away from the deal.
The corporate divorce had its roots in a public declaration on Twitter from well-known British gaming commentator and critic John Bain. Known by the aliases TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit, and TotalHalibut, Bain had learned of Gearbox’s deal with G2A and vowed to never again cover any of Gearbox’s releases due to G2A’s murky business model.
In a longer post on TwitLonger, Bain expanded on his theme, saying G2A is “an easy place to sell keys acquired en-masse through credit card fraud, thanks to their lax checks and lack of corporate responsibility, has done damage to indie developers, publishers and retailers who are often hit with large numbers of credit card chargebacks.”
Gearbox proceeded to request sources corroborating Bain’s accusations, a request Bain quickly fulfilled. The result was the following statement:
Gearbox Publishing heard loud and clear the concerns voiced by John “TotalBiscuit” Bain. Gearbox was then provided with a lot of documentation on the subject, after which John was gracious enough to spend time across the last two days with our head of publishing Steve Gibson to put together a proposal and a deadline for G2A to act upon.
- Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 30 days, G2A Shield (aka, customer fraud protection) is made free instead of a separate paid subscription service within terms offered by other major marketplaces. All customers who spend money deserve fraud protection from a storefront. To that end, all existing G2A Shield customers are notified by April 14th that fraud protection services are now free and they will no longer be charged for this.
- Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 90 days, G2A will open up a web service or API to certified developers and publishers to search for and flag for immediate removal, keys that are fraudulent. This access will be free of charge and will not require payment by the content holders.
- Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 60 days implement throttling for non-certified developers and publishers at the title, userid, and account payable levels for a fraud flagging process. This is to protect content providers from having large quantities of stolen goods flipped on G2A before they can be flagged.
- Before Bulletstorm Steam launch, G2A makes a public commitment to this: Within 30 days, G2A restructures its payment system so that customers who wish to buy and sell legitimate keys are given a clear, simple fee-structure that is easy to understand and contains no hidden or obfuscated charges. Join the ranks of other major marketplaces.
Gearbox Publishing won’t support a marketplace that is unwilling to make these commitments and execute on them.
The result? G2A crickets.
Today, Steve Gibson, Head of Pubishing at Gearbox, released the following statement:
“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. 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 key word is “begun.” Much like an angry spouse talking to the divorce lawyer, there is still room for G2A to salvage the deal should it plead quickly and effectively enough. Whether it will do so is another matter entirely.