Gearbox CEO Responds to Borderlands Review Bomb on Steam, "Kinda Happy" With Borderlands 3 Going to Epic

Gearbox CEO Responds to Borderlands Review Bomb on Steam, "Kinda Happy" With Borderlands 3 Going to Epic

"Steam has no interest in correcting this misuse."

Steam finally tackled review bombing over the weekend. This was after users began flooding the Borderlands games on Steam with negative reviews after Borderlands 3 was confirmed as a limited-time Epic Games Store exclusive.

Last week, 2K Games announced that Borderlands 3 would be the latest game to become an Epic Games Store exclusive. Like almost every other game to announce an exclusivity with Epic Games, players responded negatively. This led to a review bombing campaign where Steam users would purposefully bombard the Borderlands and Borderlands 2 Steam pages with negative reviews that were more about criticizing the Epic Games Store than the Borderlands games themselves.

Borderlands 2's 'Overwhelmingly Positive' review status was hit with over 3000 negative reviews following the announcement over Borderlands 3's exclusivity. Many of the new comments specifically mention Borderlands 3, rather than the quality of Borderlands 2.

Review bombing is not new to the Steam platform, and Valve has taken steps to address the practice without outright banning reviews. Previously, Valve introduced a graph that charted the user reviews of a game to help highlight when the direction of a game's reviews changed to isolate a reason. But Valve recently introduced a new policy that would exclude "off-topic" reviews from a game's overall rating entirely.

You can see the new policy in action right now if you head to Borderlands 2's Steam page. The review status is still 'Overwhelmingly Positive' and the off-topic reviews have been sectioned off from Borderlands 2's overall user review score.

"Off-topic" reviews highlighted in white. | Steam,Valve

Despite the recent efforts by Valve, the hassle with dealing with review bombs might have already done some damage. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford tweeted that, following the review bombing, he was "kind of happy" about 2K's decision to take Borderlands 3 exclusively to the Epic Games Store (the Epic Games Store doesn't have user review features yet). What's more, Pitchford said the incident might make Gearbox reconsider its own decisions to put games on Steam made through its Gearbox Publishing division.

This recent episode is a collision of two different issues Valve has had to deal with in recent years: review bombing and the Epic Games Store. Developers and publishers have criticized review bombing as a practice, as it creates a negative public image of their games based on unrelated reasons. In the past, users have review bombed games for everything, from bugs or monetization to political motivations.

As for the Epic Games Store, Steam's new rival continues to snatch exclusives away from Valve despite being unpopular for it. Though Steam's dominance in the digital PC market space doesn't seem to be waning anytime soon, it goes to show that the digital PC retail space is changing drastically from even just a couple of years ago.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Ustwo's In a Complicated "Fampany" Feud

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | The Monument Valley developer's dismissal of a pro-union employee shines a light on the studio's unfortunate portmanteau of "family" and "company."

Randy Pitchford's Legal Drama With Gearbox's Former Lawyer Comes to a Close

Wade Callender and Randy Pitchford have reached a settlement agreement.

Gearbox Says Troy Baker Isn't In Borderlands 3 Because of Texas Right-To-Work Laws [Update: SAG-AFTRA Responds]

The developer offered the role to Baker, but withdrew from talks after Baker stood firm with SAG-AFTRA.

Troy Baker Says He Didn't Play Rhys in Borderlands 3 Because Gearbox "Wouldn't Go Union"

Baker comments on why he didn't return for Rhys' mainline Borderlands debut.

Borderlands 3 Fans Love Zane, Despite Him Falling Behind Other Vault Hunters

One Vault Hunter is falling behind mechanically, but making up for it with personality.

Borderlands 3 is the Fastest-Selling 2K Game Ever

Looks like Borderlands is back.

Borderlands 3's First Limited-Time Event Will Be a Free Halloween Ghoul Hunt

All Borderlands 3 players will have a few weeks to scoop up some creepy loot and take down a boney boss.

More News

Crusader Kings 3 is Happening, And It Has Some Much-Requested Features

The fan favorite strategy series from Paradox is back in a big way.

Humble Monthly Is Getting a Name Change and a Higher Price Point

Humble Monthly will soon be no more, with Humble Choice taking its place.

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.

More on PC

Crusader Kings 3 is Happening, And It Has Some Much-Requested Features

The fan favorite strategy series from Paradox is back in a big way.

What's Your Favorite Video Game Monster?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | We love to be scared of 'em.

Humble Monthly Is Getting a Name Change and a Higher Price Point

Humble Monthly will soon be no more, with Humble Choice taking its place.

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.

Blizzard's Very Bad October Just Keeps Getting Worse

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Blizzard's ban on Hearthstone player Blitzchung catches the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike.

Return of the Obra Dinn's Creator Reminisces on Getting Its Iconic Style Just Right

"After working on non-graphical stuff for so long, I took a moment to reflect on what I had with the visuals. It wasn’t great."

More FPS Games

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is Distancing Itself From Supply Drops and Loot Boxes

The Modern Warfare devs are ensuring you won't have to buy any weapons or attachments.

Blizzard's Overwatch Team Says the Nintendo Switch Port Has Been "Eye-Opening"

Bringing the hero shooter to Switch took more than just a visual overhaul.

Google Sets Stadia's Official Launch Date and Shows Off Its UI

Games are coming to Google pretty soon.