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Gearbox Deathwatch?

The Ars 2017 tech company Deathwatch offers Ars Technica's take on tech companies facing a difficult 2017. They note that they are not actually predicting the immediate demise of these companies, explaining, "Most failing companies—and even many failed products—limp on in some way through acquisition, integration, inertia, or the eternal zombie life of bankruptcy protection. Instead, Deathwatch is a way of recognizing those entities in a different sort of mortal peril: technical, economic, and/or cultural irrelevance." They reflect on the status of their six 2016 nominees, none of which are thriving, and then outline seven companies they feel are in danger in 2017. These are, Yahoo!, Yik Yak, Twitter, Theranos, HTC, perennial entry Blackberry, and Gearbox Software. We were surprised to see a game developer on the list, and here is their logic for the inclusion:

But Gearbox Software—hoo, boy.

This privately held game studio has been part of the 2K Games publishing family since 2009, with the launch of the incredibly successful Borderlands franchise. 2K put a lot of weight behind the launch of Gearbox’s big 2016 game, Battleborn, but the publisher will probably best remember Battleborn as a giant tax write-off. 2K needed a successful shooter after its major 2015 shooter, Turtle Rock’s Evolve, tanked hugely. But Battleborn may have actually done worse than Evolve, especially since it launched in the giant shadow of a similar and far superior team shooting game.

Given the flat-lined response to Battleborn, Gearbox needed a good product to follow it up. Instead, the company pushed out two lackluster remasters. The first, a 20th anniversary edition of Duke Nukem 3D, may not have cracked the 50,000 unit-sales mark since launching in October on consoles and PC (this conservative estimate relies on a SteamSpy estimate of 10,000 sales on PC, so its total sales could be even lower). That will be followed in January with a remaster of the 2011 shooter Bulletstorm—to be sold at a crazy-high price point of $60 with very little in the way of new content.

Unless Gearbox knows something that I don’t about this pricing strategy, I expect anemic Bulletstorm sales to force some tough decisions at Gearbox HQ. These will rattle the company through the rest of 2017, especially if 2K Games decides to cut its losses in terms of its Gearbox publishing arrangement.

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45 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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45. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Jan 1, 2017, 16:09 Mad Max RW
 
RedEye9 wrote on Jan 1, 2017, 13:57:
Holy shit. If Twitter goes under, how will the President of the United States provide administrative updates to the entire nation? And don't say "press conferences", because that involves talking to actual live *people* who can ask questions.

You should be more concerned about the hoards of suicidal cowardly libs losing a place to vent their phony frustrations. There will always be Blue's News, of course...
 
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44. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Jan 1, 2017, 13:57 RedEye9
 

Holy shit. If Twitter goes under, how will the President of the United States provide administrative updates to the entire nation? And don't say "press conferences", because that involves talking to actual live *people* who can ask questions.
 
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"The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you." Neil deGrasse Tyson
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43. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Jan 1, 2017, 11:47 Cpmartins
 
Good. Fucking thieves deserve this. Bunch of talentless hacks.  
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42. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 31, 2016, 13:15 jamiedj99
 
at this point, even I won't even buy a product from gearbox in the bargain bin unless it is under 5 bucks serves them right wow these guys have fallen far. Really doubt I would ever buy anything from them all that subcontract bullshit for borderlands should have been a clear sign this team was really lazy and pathetic at making games.  
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41. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 31, 2016, 08:33 ViRGE
 
JayDeath wrote on Dec 31, 2016, 07:55:
Why did they abandon the Brothers in Arms IP? Those games were so much fun.
Because WW2 was done to death.
 
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40. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 31, 2016, 07:55 JayDeath
 
Why did they abandon the Brothers in Arms IP? Those games were so much fun.  
Steam: BenRichards
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39. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 31, 2016, 02:27 Beamer
 
mellis wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 19:43:
Beamer wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 18:23:
descender wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 14:36:
This list is so very "ARS"... YikYak? Who cares about a failed social media site that was never actually successful?

Then they blast twitter for the fact that it's users are uncontrollable and leaving the service for SnapChat. Doesn't this (hopefully) mean that Snapchat (running on the same failing business model) is now going to be flooded with the same uncontrollable user base that scares away investors and run themselves out of business as well? Shouldn't they make the list?

How does this list not start with Sprint?!

I'm bored.

No. Snapchat has a path to profitability, my company will soon be paying them tons, as will our competitors, but it also makes random interaction with those jerk consumers near impossible. They're eyeballs, not voices.

Your company will be paying Snapchat oodles of cash for what exactly?

Things we have already paid for:

1) Branded filters

2) Geotargeted stickers

3) Discover stories

Things we will be paying for soon:

1) Buyable snaps


Content on Snapchat is far better received than content on Twitter. Same with Instagram. People there seek content out. Facebook and Twitter it's more people see it without wanting it.

Welcome to where all the CPG advertising dollars are going in 2016.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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38. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 31, 2016, 02:03 El Pit
 
But MOBA is THE THING right now - instant win, profit, $$$? Follow the lemmings and see what happens in the end...  
They're waiting for you, Gabe, in the test chamber!
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37. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 22:05 nin
 
Tjold wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 20:50:
NetHead wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 18:57:
As for Gearbox these days, only positive thing to say is Borderlands though not universally positive. Everything else to say about them or Randy Pitchford is negative.

Oh course lets not forget every time that name comes up, seems like there's a compulsion to lie

https://www.engadget.com/2009/08/17/whats-in-a-name-gearbox-software/

That article... what the hell? Randy Pitchford, what is wrong with you?

Yeah, he zooms right old that whole rebel boat rocker name...

https://www.bluesnews.com/s/1366/rbr-gearbox-software
https://www.bluesnews.com/pressreleases/rbr102297.txt
https://www.bluesnews.com/archives/june98-3.html
https://www.bluesnews.com/archives/jan99-4.html

I mean, I get it, rebel boat rocker was the stupidest fucking name ever...


 
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36. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 20:50 Tjold
 
NetHead wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 18:57:
As for Gearbox these days, only positive thing to say is Borderlands though not universally positive. Everything else to say about them or Randy Pitchford is negative.

Oh course lets not forget every time that name comes up, seems like there's a compulsion to lie

https://www.engadget.com/2009/08/17/whats-in-a-name-gearbox-software/

That article... what the hell? Randy Pitchford, what is wrong with you?
 
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35. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 19:57 Cutter
 
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Pitchford falls squarely into the category of 'better to be lucky than good'.
 
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"Ah, Impressionists, the boy bands of the art world." - Sideshow Bob
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34. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 19:43 mellis
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 18:23:
descender wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 14:36:
This list is so very "ARS"... YikYak? Who cares about a failed social media site that was never actually successful?

Then they blast twitter for the fact that it's users are uncontrollable and leaving the service for SnapChat. Doesn't this (hopefully) mean that Snapchat (running on the same failing business model) is now going to be flooded with the same uncontrollable user base that scares away investors and run themselves out of business as well? Shouldn't they make the list?

How does this list not start with Sprint?!

I'm bored.

No. Snapchat has a path to profitability, my company will soon be paying them tons, as will our competitors, but it also makes random interaction with those jerk consumers near impossible. They're eyeballs, not voices.

Your company will be paying Snapchat oodles of cash for what exactly?
 
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33. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 19:01 NetHead
 
Wallshadows wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 13:25:
Borderlands feels more like a fluke than anything and they lost the writer who really made it that much more amazing.

Playing the tiniest violin for Randy Shitford right now.


Fluke? I'd probably lean more to theft than fluke...

Codehunters (2006)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codehunters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmeP1YkaeTo
 
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32. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 18:57 NetHead
 
Acleacius wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 13:23:
Never played borderlands because it was gearbox. The only respect I've ever had for gearbox was from Opposing Force and Blue Force, which was all lost after halo.

I though Opposing Force was great, so well done and thoroughly enjoyable.

I'm guessing you mean Blue Shift , that was okay though the most memorable thing about it to me is having the most horrifically awful NPC in the history of ever lol. That Barney thing was such a nightmare and all I remember about it from back then. I don't think you could even kill him or get him killed just to make it all the worse...

As for Gearbox these days, only positive thing to say is Borderlands though not universally positive. Everything else to say about them or Randy Pitchford is negative.

Oh course lets not forget every time that name comes up, seems like there's a compulsion to lie

https://www.engadget.com/2009/08/17/whats-in-a-name-gearbox-software/

 
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31. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 18:53 eRe4s3r
 
Creston wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 12:44:
I agree with the skepticism for the insane decisions of a Duke Nukem re-release and charging an absolutely hilarious $60 for an HD remake of a game that nobody bought the first time around, but Gearbox is working on Borderlands 3 (by their own admission), and they and 2K know that it will sell millions and millions of copies, plus many more millions of DLCs.

They're going nowhere.

That said, after Borderlands 2, they've done Aliens:CM, Battleborn, Duke Nukem Forever, Duke 3d re-release, Borderlands pre-sequel and a Bulletstorm re-release. That's five pretty bad releases and one so-so release in a row. They really need to hit it out of the park with Borderlands 3, and I think that means more than just making four new characters with essentially the same set of powers and some new maps.

I like your optimism. But I have played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I have zero faith that this team can build Borderlands 3 and not make it an atrocious horrible experience. (you know, because Gearbox didn't make the pre-sequel, nearly nobody still works there (at Gearbox proper) who worked on Borderlands 2)

If I am wrong then good, because I think Borderlands could be a far better game But Gearbox is a very confusing developer imo. The release list signed under their name reads like the who is who of crap and garbage, but in reality Gearbox itself only made 1 game since Borderlands 2, and that is far worse. Because that means Gearbox sustained itself with Borderlands 2 sales ALONE.

And yeah, the 60€ Bulletstorm "remaster" is just sad. But I won't fault a company for trying to stay alive.
 
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30. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 18:24 Beamer
 
nin wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 12:53:
Borderlands pre-sequel

That was a different studio, wasn't it?

Outside of BL2, I'd say their track record is abysmal.


Outside of Battle born, the entire list is outside developed.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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29. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 18:23 Beamer
 
descender wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 14:36:
This list is so very "ARS"... YikYak? Who cares about a failed social media site that was never actually successful?

Then they blast twitter for the fact that it's users are uncontrollable and leaving the service for SnapChat. Doesn't this (hopefully) mean that Snapchat (running on the same failing business model) is now going to be flooded with the same uncontrollable user base that scares away investors and run themselves out of business as well? Shouldn't they make the list?

How does this list not start with Sprint?!

I'm bored.

No. Snapchat has a path to profitability, my company will soon be paying them tons, as will our competitors, but it also makes random interaction with those jerk consumers near impossible. They're eyeballs, not voices.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
28. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 16:52 Rhett
 
Pretty much anyone who played BL1 and BL2 has been waiting for BL3, hopefully with more of a Destiny feel to it, but nope.. remaster, remaster, remaster.. oh look, another unnecessary remaster!

Battleborn was handled so poorly, and released right next to Overwatch, which was pretty much a critical strike to the game...

They need to buckle down and put out something new already, with quality. Hell, even Borderlands: The Pre Sequel was awkward (though I enjoyed it).
 
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27. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 16:34 jacobvandy
 
maddog wrote on Dec 30, 2016, 16:27:
Wish they would go back to the Brothers in Arms series. Would love a four man squad shooter set in one of the many locales of WW2.

A new one is in development, and it is distinctly NOT the "Furious 4" thing they teased a few years back. They wisely chose to spin off whatever ideas they had for that which don't fit into a historical WW2 FPS into other things, like Battleborn. So in the near future we should have a proper sequel there.
 
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26. Re: Gearbox Deathwatch? Dec 30, 2016, 16:27 maddog
 
Wish they would go back to the Brothers in Arms series. Would love a four man squad shooter set in one of the many locales of WW2.  
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