Kotaku recently published an article about Battleborn going free-to-play on September 29th, 2016. The piece stated…
“The underperforming hero shooter Battleborn will go free-to-play within the couple of months, a person familiar with plans for the game told Kotaku.
“The source, speaking under condition of anonymity, said that developer Gearbox had wanted to make Battleborn free-to-play from the get-go, but publisher 2K preferred to sell it as a standard $60 retail product. “
All the available stats show that Battleborn is a certifiable flop. In fact, Borderlands 2, which released in 2012, has regularly made Steam’s top 100 played games of the day, where-as Battleborn can’t even make the list, despite having released this past May.
The news spread far and wide since it came from, and most outlets reported on the rumor without question. Well, this time things got heated when Randy Pitchford, Gearbox Software’s president, stated on Twitter that the story was both “false” and “reckless”.
I was just told about a reckless story about Battleborn going F2P that is false. There are no plans to convert Battleborn free to play.
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) September 29, 2016
When asked if the game would be going free-to-play, Pitchford denied it and stated that they did have plans for a trial of sorts, but that it would not be going free-to-play.
Pitchford went on to say that they’re also planning to release new DLC for Battleborn to compensate for the low turn-out of PC players…
“In our experience, when we release new content, both new and old players come to check it out. Team is looking at [PC playerbase]. Consoles are healthy, but we need to do something there. Blizzard is strong on PC for sure!”
Despite attacking #GamerGate in the past, even going as far as to do a musical concert deriding his own audience, which was uploaded by Ian Miles Cheong on YouTube, some people have agreed that he was in the right for calling out Kotaku.
Additionally, gamers have most certainly not forgiven Pitchford over the Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle (amongst other things), which is best summed up by a report from back in 2013 by Jim Sterling over on Destructoid. That’s not to mention that plenty of people are calling Pitchford out on the Aliens situation in the Twitter reply chain. However, Pitchford and #GamerGate have a common enemy in this particular case, with the prime culprit being Kotaku. The consumer revolt has been targeting Kotaku’s parent company, Gawker, right up until Univision bought them out.
After Pitchford’s tweets started to make the rounds, Kotaku was quick to update the original story, with news editor Jason Schreier writing…
“So if it’s not a timed demo, what is it? It seems like maybe we’re just arguing over semantics, but what I’ve heard is that there will be a free multiplayer mode or modes, while the story missions and DLC will be behind a paywall. Some heroes will be paid and others will be free, and the game may include a League of Legends-style “hero rotation,” according to the source. Guess we’ll see in a few months.”
Battleborn is available right now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Many gamers have passed it over in favor of Overwatch, but Pitchford and crew at Gearbox are likely hoping that whatever they have planned for the game later this fall could help turn things around. Pitchford also didn’t clarify if the free trial/demo would be available for PS4 and Xbox One.