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It turns out that Gearbox is as good as their word, acting on claims that Gearbox would cut ties with online marketplace G2A if the online marketplace did not change some questionable business practices. G2A didn't bite, so Gearbox is abandoning ship.
As Polygon is reporting, Gearbox Publishing has cut ties with G2A after administering a pretty hefty ultimatum to the games retailer last week. Gearbox had planned on making a special edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition available through G2A until Gearbox was turned on to the fact that the online marketplace has frequently been called out for shady practices.
According to a statement from Gearbox head Steve Gibson, G2A showed no intention of acting on a list of demands made public last week and, as a result, the company is "executing on our extraction process."
For their part, G2A appears to be accepting the split. G2A announced that several versions of Bulletstorm are still available on the site, though a search for the game will turn up no results.
With the updated version of Bulletstorm launching last week, Gearbox had set up an agreement with G2A to make a special version of the game available exclusively through their marketplace. As a result, popular YouTuber John "TotalBiscuit" Bain reached out to Gearbox to inform them that the company Gearbox had partnered with has been called out in the past for some pretty serious issues including potentially selling stolen game keys and the like.
Whether or not Gearbox was aware of these issues beforehand or not is unclear but, once Bain reached out to them, Gearbox provided G2A with a quartet of demands. These included things like making the retailer's consumer protection service free, rather than subscription-based, restructuring the payment system so that it is more clear if customers are buying legitimate keys or "gray market" keys and general efforts to prevent fraud from running rampant.
These weren't "do it now" demands, either. Depending on the requested change, G2A was given between 30 and 90 days to act. All Gearbox was looking for was confirmation that G2A planned on doing exactly that. In their own statement, G2A claims that the demands were either impossible or unnecessary, going on to claim that the company felt the comments from Gearbox were defamatory to boot.
As a result, Gearbox has officially cut ties with G2A. And we can't blame them, really. It may sound odd to hear a developer is making demands of an online marketplace, but most online marketplaces don't make the headlines multiple times due to allegedly shady business practices. It makes sense that Gearbox would want to cut ties with a such a partnership, but we can't help but wonder how that will be executed. We assume some sort of agreement was in place, and backing out of it probably won't be the easiest process in the world.
The point is, with a game like Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition finally launching, the last thing you want to do is build ill will with your fan base because you were totally cool with selling the game through a retailer that's got some questionable things going on behind the scenes.