Days after launching an exclusive physical 'Collector's Edition' of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition [official site] on key reseller marketplace G2A, Gearbox Software have reeled and demanded that the controversial store change its practises. Gearbox's list of demands for G2A includes stopping selling fraud protection as an extra, and letting developers find and remove fraudulently-bought keys on G2A. If not, Gearbox will... do something. The demands sound sensible, given that G2A have long been accused of enabling shady shenanigans. However, even the briefest of Googlings before launching a high-price exclusive edition -- costing around £226 -- with G2A would have uncovered all of those complaints. None of these problems are secrets.
G2A and Gearbox launched their Bulletstorm promotion on April 4th. It offers the opportunity to pre-order Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition for £7.92 more than the Steam price, a Collector's Edition with an unpainted statue and other cruft for £99 (including shipping), the statue alone for £29, and an edition with a painted statue for £226. Given the criticisms levelled at G2A over the years -- such as G2A profiting off people using their marketplace to sell keys bought with stolen credit card details, which leaves developers out of pocket, and not doing enough to fight this -- I found Gearbox buddying up with them surprising and unpleasant.
Gearbox seem somehow to not have anticipated this, acting as if they've only just discovered anyone has any issues with G2A. Last night, Gearbox issued a list of four demands for changes in G2A. They address problems many developers and publishers have raised and criticised for years.
"Gearbox Publishing won't support a marketplace that is unwilling to make these commitments and execute on them," Gearbox said yesterday, having previously willingly signed up with a marketplace which hadn't made those commitments.
In their statement, as provided to Eurogamer, Gearbox explain that they spent two days going over the problems with wavy 'Tube man John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain, one of the many people who pointed out not-remotely-secret problems with G2A. Gearbox demand G2A address these before Bulletstorm launches on Steam - which is in six hours.
- 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.
What Gearbox don't say is what they'll do if G2A don't meet their demands.
We've asked both Gearbox and G2A for comment and will let you know what we hear.
As for Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition itself, check out Wot John Thought. Basically, it's Bulletstorm and Bulletstorm is great, but Full Clip Edition is an expensive re-release of a marginally-improved game. And the DLC adding Duke Nukem is awful, of course.