An open letter to Gearbox (about marketing)

Ok. Lets talk Battleborn.

Let’s just start by saying that I could not be more excited for Battleborn. I was skeptical at first watching the trailers but when I played in the CTT I was 100% sold. I don’t think I’ve ever binged a game that hard and I’ve been the conductor of the hype train (amongst my friends) ever since. Battleborn is the first game I’m preordering ever and I fully intend on playing the first moment I can.

I believe the Battleborn is that good because you have truly poured you heart into this and you guys know how to make good games. Unfortunately, having a really good game doesn’t necessary sell itself and I’m sorry, but the marketing team just hasn’t been cutting it.

Ultimately, I think that Battleborn’s success will come down to player base. While I’m sure the single player is great, the multiplayer is what everyone want to play and what everyone who played in the CTT (your biggest fans) are talking about. If not enough people buy the game, it will only make it worse for itself. Which is why I’m so scared for Battleborn.

Blizzard has basically declared war on you, they’ve pulled out their biggest guns and aren’t afraid to throw low blows. Most people I’ve talked to already know what Overwatch is and are excited for it, but that hasn’t stopped them from plastering the youtube pages I visit with ads while I haven’t seen a whiff of Battleborn outside the news posts about how the Overwatch open beta is the same day as the Battleborn launch. Battleborn’s social media hasn’t been great either, the twitter feed constantly tweets old videos and encourages me to preorder for the sole purpose of getting meh looking skins (original skins look better). Let me tell you, Overwatch’s recent short was much better then the Battleborn story trailer.

I imagine that you can’t compete with Blizzard in terms of raw marketing budget but that just means you need to pull out all the stops and get creative; the time for half measures and traditional marketing has passed.

The first problem is that I have almost no reason to preorder, heck, there hasn’t even been the common ‘10% discount on preorders’ and considering the $80CDN price tag, sure would be nice. On that note, I think that the price of the game is a bit of a mistake (I’m sure the game is worth $80, but most people I know are of the opinion that Half Life 3 isn’t even worth that much) and its unfortunate that it can’t be changed (lest the people who have already bought it would be screwed) but that doesn’t preclude doing something crazy. What if you gave an extra copy to everyone who preordered? While that would cut a lot of sales, it wouldn’t be as bad as halving the price (since some people who never would have bought it would get to play) and it would (in theory) double your player base. I’m firmly of the opinion that if people play the game they’ll enjoy it and try to get their friends to play, further growing the number of revenue streams. The number of players won’t linearly correspond to revenue.

While that might be a little too bold for a AAA, you’re going to lose this battle if you don’t do something big. The clock is ticking Gearbox, make sure everyone sees how good this game is or you’ll be stuck making Borderland 7 before making another new IP.

Ps. I know nothing about marketing and might be 100% wrong about everything I just said.
pps. Beta hype! I can’t wait to play again!


It’s very possible that they’re biding their time


First off…thank you for your support and enthusiasm! It’s been great seeing you and other fans get excited about Battleborn. We HAVE put a lot of heart and effort into this game, and we still love playing it!

Second - I’m certain the marketing department at Gearbox, and even more importantly at our publishing partner 2k, are very eager to do everything they can to be sure many people know about Battleborn. There will be a lot more to see and hear about over the next month, and we all hope that those messages get out there.

Third - One thing that will help us is you. You and other fans who watch the game, play the game, and then talk about what you like. At the end of the day, after all the marketing dust wears off, the success or failure of the game will come down to how many people like it, play it, and tell their friends about it.

Help us out! Post here. Post on Reddit. Send and retweet linked. Share from Facebook news. Get your friends to get copies and PLAY at Beta and at launch. Heck, pre-order the game if you feel that strongly. But mostly, tell you friends! Tell your enemies. Get people to play.

Battleborn is a good game. It’s a DIFFERENT than the other hero shooters, and we (like you!) think it is something special.

Spread the word.

Save the Star!

Be the Hero we need.


Hey Randy!

Thanks for the reply! Its always great to see the devs (particularly the lead) taking the time to check the forums this close to launch, it really shows how much you care.

I have no doubt that the folks down at marketing are doing their best and I’m excited to see what the next month brings!

No doubt I’ll be bringing all my friends (who aren’t desperately cramming for exams) to the beta! Its gonna be awesome!

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Well-spoken from the 31st BattleBorn himself :slight_smile:

Perhaps we should start a topic for people who plan on streaming the beta?


Battleborn isn’t the Hero Shooter we need…

…It’s the Hero Shooter we deserve.


I have been bugging all my friends about Battleborn ever since I got a taste of it in the CTT. The main problem right now seems to be the price tag. Most of them are pretty casual gamers and/or on a tight budget which makes that kind of investment a bit of a risky move for them (we live in Canada, so Battleborn sells for 80$). I personally pre-ordered the Digital Deluxe Edition because I see myself playing this game for quite some time, and I’ve no doubt some of my friends would really enjoy this game too, I just don’t know how to “sell” it to them properly. I got a few of them to try the CTT, hopefully I can get them to try the Beta as well.

I’ve also been hanging around the Steam forums after noticing a lot of negativity going on. There seems to be a lot of misinformation about the game hurting its reputation. I’ve been posting there a bit, trying to engage naysayers in a polite manner, but they are quite persistent. I could use a hand from the community; would be nice to see some positive threads there for a change, to show that the game really does have a good fan base that’s excited for its release.

lets get the hype train going! Woot! Woot!


Imagine if someone like Game Grumps got their hands on BattleBorn early. That’d be pretty sweet, get the attention the game deserves

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If there every was a place for meaningful discussion it would be the steam forums :stuck_out_tongue:

Kidding aside, its great that you’re out there advocating for the game, I’ll try and wade in too at some point!

In all seriousness, after playing the closed beta, I was given a taste of how friggin amazing this game could be.

After waiting in line for over an hour to play Battleborn at PAX Prime, and understanding the vision gearbox has for this game, I see humongous potential here.

I really think that this game will do well-- if not extremely well at launch. But what’s going to keep people’s interest is the replayability and online co-op.

Where does this spark the most interest from? The online gaming communities on Twitch and YouTube. Battleborn MUST be embraced by these coummunities if it is to truly succeed. If it does not grow there, or at least, survive there… I don’t know if there is a metric that Gearbox and 2k is using to compare how well Battleborn content is doing on these media platforms, but I would suspect that they should have noticed that the games most similar to Battleborn have made their way onto the front Directory of Twitch for an extended period of time during their open Beta launch.

Thanks to the incredible folks over at my favorite game dev studio for being so responsive to great open letters like this. I will be playing the Beta as much as I can afford to.

The hard working people at Gearbox have my faith that Battleborn is going to be something special to a lot of people. It would be the icing on the cake to see it embraced so well in the entertainment and streaming community. It is impossible to ignore the correlation between the ammount of success a game has on these streaming / content creating platforms to it’s longevity. I am not saying you should try to be a game or even a community that you are not. “Build it and they will come,” so to speak. And you will harvest your own community once the seeds are planted…

…Next week we sew the seeds of the future of this franchise. To you @Jythri and all of the lovely folks over at Gbx, I wish you the best of luck. I’ll see you out there on the battlefield.


Thanks @Afro_Samurai!

I totally agree with you about seeing Battleborn played by streamers and content creators (like my friend @Lftstrafe ! I’ve been hanging out with as many of those guys as possible throghout our early access, and they have been an INVALUABLE source of goodwill and bugs and balance data!


Dude nice work! I decided to read some of the forums over on steam you mentioned and Randy went over and posted a nice long post clarifying the games story mode and really setting people straight . I’ve seen his attention to this forum do great things so I really hope it has the same impact over there.

I think every post in this forum is a positive post.

Even if I complain about the game, if I would not like it I would simply click on “not interested” on steam and that’s it.

Firstly, thanks to Mr V for taking time to post here. I’m sure he hasn’t got much else to do at the moment :grin:

Back on topic, I’m not sure it’s been the “pure” marketing that’s worried me over the last year or so. It’s been a lack of clarity, to paraphrase logie108, on what this game offers and how it works. Perhaps that’s not so important, if you’re churning out another military shooter or RPG. Everyone knows how they work. But BB is doing something very different.

I’ve had an eye on this game since the original trailer back in 2014 (which just confused me, incidentally). I’ve followed the assorted early gameplay reports and videos. I’ve only really come to grips with it since the CTT but it’s taken some effort to find out the detail. What chance would the less “dedicated” potential player/customer stand? And let’s face it, they will be the vast majority of players. If I was someone who hadn’t followed the game closely, here’re some things I would have liked to have known:

  • The campaign is far more than an afterthought tacked on to a PvP game.
  • The campaign is properly balanced for solo play and up to 5 in co-op.
  • The “levelling” system works at three levels (player, character & mission) and they all add to the player/character in any mode. That’s brilliant!
  • Gear can be mixed and matched across all characters.
  • Shards. I’m still not completely sure of all their uses but it does mean …
  • No microtransactions!
  • Everything you gain in the campaign carries forward to multiplayer ( (I refuse to use the dreaded acronym, “MOBA” :unamused: ) and vice versa. That’s brilliant, again!
  • The range of characters covers so many playstyles beyond just “shooting”, with someone for everyone :slight_smile:
  • How strong team play is in multiplayer rather than just being part of a team of single players, if you know what I mean.

Yes, some/much of this has been mentioned in trailers and the like but the very fact so many folk, even on this forum, consider it to be only a MOBA (that term again!) shows that the potential of this game has not been getting across to the gaming Joe Public.

As others have said, not over-hyping the game but ramping up the marketing closer to launch is a perfectly good strategy. I sincerely hope it will be enough to overcome the previous misunderstanding of what this ground-breaking game actually is.


Marketing biggerst success rate is
90% Email
75% Social Media
the other stuff comes around 30% or lower each.

The strongest marketing is word too mouth. so yeah bringing the #hypeTrain to social media helps and is something you can do.

i do believe that 2K is creating good stuff for the marketing and recently with the early access the game has gotten a lot more attention. Even my subscriber amount has increased a lot. video ads on your youtube do help but they are a small factor. But everything also comes down to budget :wink:

You make a great points. I still think that a general lack of public knowledge about the game is worrying (you can’t be confused about what the game is if you don’t know it exists!) but some clarification would also do a world of good.

Gearbox has always said that Battleborn wasn’t a MOBA but it wasn’t until I played Paragon (the new third person shooter moba from Epic) that I fully understood it. Battleborn really is in a genre of its own (or a hybrid if you will). It’s also kinda funny that on the Paragon forums there seems to be a lot of people who wish the game played more like Battleborn :stuck_out_tongue:

You have no idea how wonderful it was to read Randy’s post on the Steam forums (Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! :D) There are people on those forums unsure whether or not to buy the game and every bit of info helps. Now I have an official statement from an actual Gearbox employee to quote (because people like to make new threads instead of reading existing ones :P)


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My pleasure! I saw a lot of great posts from you and other community members over on Steam as well. Good information helps.


Personally, I fight the misinformation, in my country (France) there was the biggest video games web site who said that you need to pay for the 5 new characters, in a news
So I jumped on my keyboard to comment, they had to correct this detail ( I know the public of the site, it can totally change a point of view if the characters will be free or not ) and they correct it after that

I see day after day more people interested in Battleborn and I’m glad about it ! with all the gameplay these last days, they all see a Badass game


Let me guess: ?

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