Steam introduces feature to combat Borderlands review bombings, Gearbox CEO responds to situation

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by DooKey, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. GoodBoy

    GoodBoy [H]ard|Gawd

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    Steam is combating the review bombing, and even still he talks shit... Find myself not caring about (gearbox's) games...

    I already take the overreacting behavior sometimes seem in steam reviews into account:

    >1000 reviews but it is "Mostly Good" = Probably good
    >1000 reviews but it is "Mixed" = Probably good, read some of the good ones plus the bad ones, then determine if the bad ones need tossed out from consideration.
    >1000 reviews but it is "Mostly Bad" = 50/50 and you have to read both some of the good ones plus the bad ones, then determine if the bad ones need tossed out from consideration.
    <100 reviews but it is "Mostly Good" = Probably good
    <100 reviews but it is "Mixed" = Probably shit
    <100 reviews but it is "Mostly Bad" = Probably shit
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  2. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    As I have said I'm a Linux gamer... NO I'm not stubbern. I'm Linux only no way in hell will I install windows just to game. Valve has made it possible for me to enjoy AAA games and not touch windows anymore. Not going back.

    As far as Metro sales... they haven't released PC sales as far as I know. Simply said it sold better then the previous title on steam... comparing it to a launch in 2013 of a very much more niche game with very little marketing push. Only hard sales numbers released I know of are for physical Playstation copies. Also a ton of their preorders where still placed through steam.

    I guess borderlands 3 will be one of the first big tests of the theory that gamers will just switch stores and be happy.
     
  3. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    He just tried latching onto the review bomb thing to save face. He's a coward. Meantime Valve already deleted the neg reviews. But the takeaway is the same, it's an expression of a pissed off customer base and that should be worrying to any publisher because it's blowback that didn't need to exist.

    They could have sold the game on multiple stores and been fine - and consumers would be the winners. And Epic could have used bribe money to incentivize the hell out of it in other ways - lower price, unique skins or DLC, buy 3 get 1 free (4 player co-op groups of friends)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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  4. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    If imagine they were torn on it. On the one hand off topic bad reviews harms the usefulness of their review system and hurts sales. On the other hand they probably agree with many of the review boners regarding Epic exclusives.
     
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  5. GoodBoy

    GoodBoy [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes. And they could even add the varying cuts that each platform takes, and added that to the price charged on each platform. So if Steam takes 20%, and the base amount they want to make is $50, then it could be $59.99 on steam. If Epic takes what 7% (forgot what it is) then it's price on Epic store could be $53.49, etc. And if more people chose Epic due to the price, good for them. But gamers would get to choose, heck maybe even think of it as a vote with your wallet thing. So good for gamers whichever distribution they chose, and its good for the game dev, as they make the same profit no matter where it is sold, while also getting their game the widest possible exposure.

    But they bought into Epics' "Here its even cheaper if you go exclusive with us!! Fuck steam!" and I think it does leave a sour taste in consumers mouths...

    I blame Epic just as much as I blame Gearbox.

    If the company is smart, they will learn from this... Gamers aren't the type to sit idly by while getting shit on. Just look at EA/Star Wars Battlefront loot box fiasco.. they totally reworked those over the outcry.. We made our displeasure known, and the game was made much better for it.
     
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  6. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    This is the same dude who defended Aliens: Colonial Marines over and over and never actually apologized or acknowledged that the game was shit. So I'm not expecting much.

    All that said, review-bombing an existing game because of an upcoming game by the same developer/publisher is pretty lame. I guess if you don't feel your voice is being heard otherwise, this is the kinda stuff that happens.
     
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  7. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I told you so comments aren't going to stop the ships from sailing Randy.
     
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  8. Aix.

    Aix. [H]ard|Gawd

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    Actually, if gamers are smart they will learn from this. Someone already posted the classic "Boycott COD:MW2" steam group screenshot earlier in this thread - you know, the one where 90% of the vocal gamers who wouldn't sit idly by and get shit on were playing COD:MW2 as soon as the thing launched.

    It remains to be seen whether this change of store will matter to the average gamer, let alone whether the more serious gamers will actually stick to their guns. A fuckton of kids (and adults) are going to load up the EGS to play Fortnite and see that Borderlands 3 is available...
     
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  9. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I know this is pissing in a hurricane but do you have a source for this?

    12% vs 34% (30%+4%) for initial sales, 29% for most initial full priced sales and then 24% for all remaining sales many of which are going to be at reduced prices. Some rough math:

    2K/Gearbox will loose $7.20 on each sale on EGS when looking at the US $60 price. They will loose $14.40 on each Steam sale after the 20% kicks in, which will start after the initial large sales window has largely passed by at the higher fee rate. At a price of $60 USD they would need to sell over 800,000 copies to reach the 20% fee threshold at $50 million in sales for the $14.40 fee rate. When you account for lower cost regions the number sold may have to be higher because countries like Russia and Poland charge $30 for new games as examples.

    So we're talking about paying more than $14.40 per game sold for the first 800,000 to 1,000,000 copies sold. That means between $20.40 for the initial $10 million in sales and $17.40 between $10 million and $50 million.

    First 16,700 games sold = $20.40 in fees which is $340,680 in selling fees.
    The next 816,600 games sold = $17.40 in fees which is $14,208,840 in selling fees.

    833,300 copies sold at $60 = $49,998,000. Just under $50 million threshold for the 20% +4% fee to kick in.

    So what we have is selling fees of $14,549,520 for the first 833,300 copies of Borderlands 3 sold if selling on Steam. Selling on EGS is $7.20x833300 = $5,999,760 in selling fees.

    The difference: $8,549,760 more to sell on Steam.

    Now these are rough numbers and I assumed every sale was $60 when in reality some might be $60, some $30, some $70-80. And I am sure the regional sales breakdown varies greatly from game to game. A game like Metro likely would sell a lot better in Russia where it would be harder to hit the $50 million threshold but I think BL3 would hit it more easily as it is a western game and probably sells better in countries that charge more. But what we can see is that the difference can end up being pretty big. A potential of $8.5 million dollars saved without Epic having to do anything else.

    Will some people not buy the game because it wasn't on Steam? Of course. Will the loss be anywhere close to $8.5 million USD? Not even close.

    Now if someone can find a big flaw in my rough numbers feel free to point it out.
     
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  10. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    The freeloading masses playing FortNite don't buy games. To them, EGS is just the icon to launch Fortnite. This is the big flaw.

    People on Steam buy games by default.
     
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  11. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    I have minimal faith in any gaming boycotts. Especially if the game isn't complete garbage. It's just a few vocal people trying to make their own voice louder than it actually is. I bet the phrase "vote with your wallet" gets tossed around, too.
     
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  12. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    I wouldn't want to bet against the size of the backlash and end up underestimating. This already extends far beyond "a few people".

    And it's not just about Borderlands 3. There is a bigger overall backlash movement against Epic and EGS that's snowballing since Exodus, since they're trying to steal every new game coming out.
     
  13. GoodBoy

    GoodBoy [H]ard|Gawd

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    Boycotting isn't likely going to work, for the reason you mentioned -> people are still going to play <the Gearbox game>. And I'm not advocating a boycott of the Epic Games Store. The exclusivity solely to promote a distribution platform is what rubs me the wrong way. A "boycott" isn't going to close the platform, that's wishful thinking.

    But all of the negative reviews would be stupid for Gearbox to ignore. They can choose not to go "Exclusive" next time around. For now I'm sure all the legal papers have been signed and this is a done deal. No amount of whining and boycotting is going to change that.
     
  14. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    There is more at stake here than having the game simply when it comes out. There are elements of principle/ethos - This feels to be an unethical, customer unfriendly action and contrary to all the previous goodwill amassed through years of equitable interactions.

    Significant negative changes to market dynamics are a very real isssue - 3rd party exclusives by contract have NEVER been part of the modern PC gaming ecosystem so Epic and others acting in such a way massively distorts said ecosystem by adding another customer/player hostile incentive contrary to our needs, should it take root. In addition, timed-exclusives by contract will also change the long-term pricing structure of games. For instance, there is a known path of significantly larger and more likely discounts that come to pass as a game progresses from release date, overall. This can be disrupted if games when they come onto the 'secondary' platforms when contracts expire insisting to still charge Day 1 prices when a game comes to Steam, even though its 6-months or 12 months later; harmful to players and further complicated by vested interests using the fact that players won't generally want to pay the same for a game later, to try and get full exclusivity. Lastly for now exclusivity as such strongly restricts and controls prices, especially with refusal to allow keys to be sold elsewhere etc... further harming gaming value; we can see with other EGS titles.

    There are technical stakes as well - Borderlands 2 and Borderlands The Pre Sequel were two of the most successful AAA Mac/Linux titles that, along with other properties from 2K, were ported to Linux by veteran porting houses Aspyr and/or Feral. These and other AAA titles getting a Mac and especially Linux port had a lot to do with Steam's support of the platform. Epic Games Store does NOT support Linux for the client and even for titles such as Slime Rancher or The Witness which currently have Linux versions on Steam are not at all mentioned on their equally or higher-standard-priced Epic versions. Making Epic the premiere platform means that less emphasis will be given to Linux development and it could even be nixed, or delayed significantly versus if the game had targeted Steam. Steam has tons and tons more desirable features and contributes to open source standards and projects, greatly contrasting Epic Store's very limited features. It also introduces yet another incompatible platform/fiefdom from its launcher.

    For these among other reasons, its not just about waiting a little longer to get the game or any sort of "entitlement" to it. Instead, accepting the practice without objection means confirming yet another customer-unfriendly change to the PC gaming industry; as known from experience, if these excursion are not vehemently rejected they will set precedents and eventually become commonplace.

    There are more than a few problems with capitalism (be it as currently implemented or by nature), so I don't really feel much merit in appeals to "thats just how capitalism works" to justify certain behavior or rebuff criticism.
     
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  15. Carbon_Rod

    Carbon_Rod Gawd

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    I was reading a news article about this and they had included the tweet from Randy where he defends his decision. I clicked on it after getting curious about what was being said.... normally I don't go near Twitter or Facebook for anything. I must say, after reading just a couple of his responses to regular people and their legitimate concerns and criticisms.... Randy Pitchford just had his name added high up on the long list of "People Who I Want To Punch In The Face". Wow, that guy is certainly a Genuine Grade A Douchebag!
     
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  16. mouacyk

    mouacyk n00b

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    Signed off long ago when BL was first introduced as FPS Diablo. Still hopelessly waiting for OF2 instead.
     
  17. ChoGGi

    ChoGGi [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think it's less about Epic and more about the games being exclusive. I'm sure if a game was released on Steam and Epic with the price on Epic being cheaper, there'd be minimal complaints.

    Hopefully Epic will start putting the money towards just sticking a discount on each copy instead of exclusive locking.

    No complaints about the numbers, but if I were Ubisoft, EA, or such; I'd be stupid not to negotiate a lower upfront percentage (of course that's just guessing).
     
  18. exlink

    exlink [H]ardness Supreme

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    I know this is entirely anecdotal, but everyone I know that is into PC gaming and does not spend time on various gaming forums couldn’t care less about the whole EGS vs Steam debacle in the slightest. As long as they can still play the game on their PC and there isn’t a price difference they don’t care what launcher they use. The ones that wanted to get Exodus actually were thrilled when they saw it was $10 cheaper on the EGS.

    I’m pretty sure that these people make up the vast majority of PC gamers which is unfortunate for those trying to stick it to Epic. You’ll also have those vocal about boycotting buying games off the EGS that will still cave in; which tends to be quite a few if history repeats itself.
     
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  19. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

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    And some people who do spend time on forums don't care either. I don't. I don't mean than in a sass-laden up-on-a-soapbox way, I just actually don't really care about the store or launcher.

    I have no reason to "stick it to Epic". If their store works reasonably well, cool.
     
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  20. chockomonkey

    chockomonkey [H]ardForum Junkie

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    All I meant by the capitalism comment was that it's their game and they can do with it what they want.

    I don't disagree with any of your stated arguments. Obviously Epic has the cash to bribe these developers/publishers and they felt it was worth it. Hopefully the market will punish them for it if everything you spelled out rings true.

    But what must stay in focus is that this is a game no one is being forced to buy or play, so a bunch of people taking the time to review bomb just seems entitled or at the very least childish.

    Better to vote with your wallet imo, since that is the loudest voice of all
     
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  21. Auer

    Auer Gawd

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    So what I take away from this is:

    Epic guarantees x amount of $$$ to dev for game, fail or not.
    Dev now feels there is no need to cater to gamers and fans as $$$ is already on the way.
    Gamers now get shit games AND can be dissed at will by devs.

    Something like that?
     
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  22. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    only thing I learned from all of this, is that some people still use the word "warez"... wow, that took me back 20 years :D
     
  23. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    If Epic just lowered the price of compared to compared to Steam then nobody would bat an eye. Exclusives are always a bad business decision.
     
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  24. Aix.

    Aix. [H]ard|Gawd

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    The "freeloading masses" you just referenced spent HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS on Fortnite PER MONTH last year. No reasonable businessman could look at that and say "there's just no opportunity here."
     
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  25. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

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    Remember those people that said EGS not having user reviews was "literally censoring my free speech"? How come they aren't complaining about Steam censoring their reviews? Where's all the outraged reddit posts and youtube videos about boycotting Steam?

    lmao
     
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  26. Nauseous

    Nauseous Gawd

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    well the way i feel about it is if and when it comes to steam i'll give it a look until then no sale.
     
  27. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm not going to respond to all the individual epic shill posts in this topic, because it makes me want to throw up that people can be so disconnected from reality. But I'll say this:

    They are so comfortable in their own echo chambers, they don't even want to hear the arguments against the epic game store. There is on way to inform such people. And it is such people why companies can get away with more and more anti consumer practices. The way the gaming industry is treating their customers went steep downhill in the past 5-6 years, and it is mainly due to people who not just not care, but even support the companies in stomping all over fans hopes and dreams.

    You know who you are, and shame on you for not standing up, and damn you for supporting this garbage.

    Again for the n billionth time: Which part of market exclusivity do you not get? Or do you actually think it's a good thing, that a bully swoops in and tells you you're no longer allowed to buy games from anyone but me?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  28. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Let's face it usually devs whose games get review bombed do earn it. And why would I want to support a dev who shits on their fans, even if the issue is not related to that specific game?
     
  29. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Well that's an epic fail. If I've seen one. On your part, why what did you think?

    There were numerous complaints about steam censoring reviews, you either have to live under a rock, or purposely misrepresenting facts to say that.
     
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  30. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    You're not shining a light on anything unknown. And it doesn't change what I said.
    Kids falling prey to microtransaction temptation does not a $60 AAA game buyer make. There's a difference in mentality and learned behavior and it's come over from the mobile game world. FortNite retards are ignoring the other games in EGS, don't know they exist or don't care.

    And if what I'm saying weren't true then the games would be selling themselves, and Epic wouldn't be needing to bribe every publisher that will take their phonecall.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  31. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is exactly what you're doing but for Steam.
     
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  32. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Doing what exactly?
    Epic fail 2.

    I never ever purchased an AAA Game from steam. Do you know why? Because their local pricing is outrageous. But steam allows 3rd party sellers to operate where I can buy games at fairer prices.

    Do you know what epic doesn't allow? Commission free 3rd party key selling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  33. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's BS. Valve doesn't tell or bribe publishers not to sell - or to stop selling - games already on other stores. It's very simple.

    Anyone defending Epic's behavior, or not seeing where it's going to lead, either knows better and just gets off being obtuse/contrarian, or they're very short sighted.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  34. ChadD

    ChadD [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yep where it ends is pretty simple. IF Epics exclusives really start hurting valve then they play the same game... and we have console like game exclusive wars. Until....

    Google decides streaming is more important and outspends all of them. Enjoy Metro 4, and borderlands 4 stream only folks. If Epic is still playing the exclusive games when google gets serious its going to get ugly for consumers.
     
  35. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    I like Randy he has magic up his sleeves he put out one of the best MP games Duke Nukem Forever.
     
  36. Aix.

    Aix. [H]ard|Gawd

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    Steam has been the standard/default option for most gamers for a long time - that's a powerful position to be in and hardly a trivial thing to compete with. Learned behavior is absolutely right though: EPIC is attempting to get gamers into the habit of going to the EGS for other games, and is using financial muscle to do so.

    Also, kids falling prey to microtransactions (something not unique to Fortnite nor EGS) may not a $60 AAA game buyer make, but it does indicate that they have money to spend and that they're using the platform, and that makes them potential customers.
     
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  37. TordanGow

    TordanGow [H]ard|Gawd

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    My take on this is based along these lines. They think they can buy customer base through shrewdness.

    What Epic doesn't understand is the customers are the key. Epic is focusing on developers while steam focuses on customers. As a customer, guess who I care about in terms of treatment? Customers, because I am one. I'll go to the store that treats me right over the one that tries to crap on me every time regardless of price. If the store that craps on me colludes to keep things out of competing a store I like, I'll just skip that item. Epic is selling disposable income goods, not water and bread. I don't *NEED* their product.
     
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  38. Sindalis

    Sindalis n00b

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    The funny part is... And this I know is an unpopular opinion. Epic Games is right. They can't compete with Steam on a user standpoint. And they should not try.

    Changing learned behaviour is extremely difficult in consumers. Why do we still go to Amazon or Google vs newer shopping sites / sitefronts / stores / search engines?

    The answer is because psychologically, when we humans invest into something, a platform, a store, a way, a game, a thing... no matter what, we will stick with that thing till 1. they do something horribly wrong, or 2. something so amazing comes out that forces us to change our perspective. EX, the internet and the death of brick and motor

    No1, is not something you can plan for. But when it happens its effectively the best Christmas gift ever.

    Epic games cannot compete on No2... it would be prohibitively expensive and probably not work. Because the reality of software development is even as your trying to catch your competitors... they are working ahead too. You can't win on features if your coming from behind.

    You cant lower the price of the products on the storefront, that decreases the value of the products (this is a huge issue in the video game industry with prices decreasing so soon after launch). Why would I buy at 60 when i can wait two weeks and get for 20? (extreme example, but it happened with Fallout 76)

    The strategy they have gone with over the rev-split is absolutely spot on. The benefit of Steam is its large install base, and consumer buying habits. The benefits of the EGS is purely about business, we make more money for every unit sold. For UE games... your talking about a 23% increase in revenue. 23%! That is absolutely massive!

    In a situation where we are sure our userbase is going to buy it regardless, why would I put it on Steam at all? Why wouldn't i want them to buy it from the EGS? I get to get more of the revenue. Much more of the revenue.

    The timed exclusive is also an amazing thought and benefits both. Epic willing to give an even better deal, and probably provide marketing support given the disparity in install base. The reality is the majority of the money is going to be made in that first six months... So I get the majority of revenue from the people who just want to play the game.

    And six months later, when it comes to release on other platforms, we can have a 'second launch' and get things into the news, restarting the GTM cycle for the Steam launch, which means that the holdouts would buy it, and that the people who want to have everything on one game store... they would buy it again. We get more money!

    From a business standpoint, what they are doing makes absolute perfect sense.

    The only way for Steam to combat this is surprise surprise, competition, they have to start taking less money and significantly change their compensation ratio. They could also diversify, and reinvest in their Source engine, using it as a driving force to bring companies into Steam and sticking with Steam. Valve has to make a change or more exclusives will jump to EGS as it simply makes more money for the company.

    While this opinion may be unpopular, and the consumer may not like it, ultimately what the consumer wants does not matter in this case. The theory is the general consumer is still going to buy the game, regardless of storefront.

    We'll see if this is theory is true when BL3 and Outer Worlds comes out. Right now its up in the air, but I could see a business willing to take the chance when the potential increase in profits is that much greater.
     
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  39. Aix.

    Aix. [H]ard|Gawd

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    That makes no sense: you still play all the games on your PC. The frustrating thing about console exclusives is that they are exclusive to a machine you may not own and may otherwise have no desire to own.

    If EGS timed exclusives result in more expensive games then don't buy them. When EA decided to nix the dedicated server client, admin tools, mod tools, and turned Battlefield into a quarterly DLC fee fest you know what I did? I stopped buying the games. If you want these games so badly that you'll buy them anyway, well, you're part of the market and the market ultimately dictates the acceptable price.
     
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  40. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    QFT. One of the more adamant users in the forum railing against Epic said he despises exclusives of all kinds, fair enough. He also had a link to his blog page. Guess what was on it? Reviews of games, including console-only exclusives.
     
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