Borderlands 3 gameplay reveal dominated by confused microtransaction messaging

Borderlands 3 gameplay reveal dominated by confused microtransaction messaging

A new entry in the Borderlands series has been shown off for the first time but the announcement window has been dominated by a conversation about the title's business model.

During the reveal event, the CEO of developer Gearbox Randy Pitchford said that “there’s no microtransaction-y, free-to-play kind of stuff," likely a swipe at a game like Star Wars Battlefront 2, saying that there will be no premium currency or loot boxes. There are, however, going to be cosmetic items such as skins in the game which will cost real-world money.

Speaking to, producer Chris Brock said that 'no microtransactions' said it doesn't want to chip away at consumers' wallets like some titles have been known to do.

"When we say 'no microtransactions,' what we're really trying to say is that we're not trying to nickel and dime people," he said.

"We'll probably make content after launch that we will sell, but we also don't intend to take what Borderlands was and then chop it up into chunks and sell it."

Following the event, GameStop-owned Game Informer magazine pointed out in a headline that purchasable cosmetic items were in Borderlands 3 despite the "no microtransactions" promise. This was something that Pitchford took issue with, getting into a war of words with editor-in-chief Andy McNamara on Twitter. 

In a long thread (starts below) on the social media platform, Pitchford clarified the issue, saying that the publication should be able to distinguish between what is done in Borderlands 2 and "what is done in F2P games" - presumably a distinction between "good microtransactions" and "bad, nasty microtransactions".

But, Mr Pitchford, they're still microtransactions.

Oh, and we're just leaving here because we have no idea what's going on and it's sorta hilarious.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.