Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses

A post on Kotaku says Gearbox Software is rewarding employees smaller than promised bonuses, quoting anonymous sources within the company as saying this goes back on promises they were made about how they would benefit from the success of Borderlands 3. They say the staff splits 40% of the company's royalties in exchange for lower base salaries than the industry standard, but that these bonuses had dwindled in recent years due to the failures of releases like Aliens: Colonial Marines and Battleborn. Word is: "Several Gearbox employees told Kotaku that company management promised them six-figure bonuses following the launch of Borderlands 3. The more years they’d been with the company, the larger the check. This vision of financial success helped Gearbox’s developers get through many long nights and weekends working on the game." The report goes on to say that sales projections were off-base, expenses were up after the opening of a second studio in Canada, and the game's profitability suffered due to the cost of changing from the Unreal 3 to the Unreal 4 engine during development, estimating that Borderlands 3 needed to earn $140 million before bonuses kicked in. They add: "Pitchford also told Gearbox developers that if they weren’t happy with the royalty system, they were welcome to quit, according to those who were in the meeting. He did not attribute the diminished bonuses to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to economic uncertainty and pay cuts in many other fields. He did say that he hoped to get more money to employees as an advance from 2K on future royalties." Kotaku also has an official response to the story from Gearbox, which is reproduced below in its entirety:
Borderlands 3 represents an incredible value to gamers and an incredible achievement by the team at Gearbox Software. Our studio is talent-led and we believe strongly in everyone sharing in profitability. The talent at Gearbox enjoys participation in the upside of our games – to our knowledge, the most generous royalty bonus system in AAA. Since this program began, Gearbox talent has earned over $100M in royalty bonuses above and beyond traditional compensation.

In the most recent pay period Gearbox talent enjoyed news that Borderlands 3, having earned revenue exceeding the largest investment ever made by the company into a single video game, had officially become a profitable video game and the talent at Gearbox that participates in the royalty bonus system has now earned their first royalty bonus on that profit. Additionally, a forecast update was given to the talent at Gearbox that participates in the royalty bonus to set expectations for the coming quarters. Gearbox is a private company that does not issue forward looking statements to the public, but we do practice transparency within our own family.
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27 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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27.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 15:31
27.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 15:31
Apr 2, 2020, 15:31
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 2, 2020, 13:58:
It actually doesn't sound like a bonus so much as a contractual revenue share. If your boss kept saying you had higher sales than ever before, you'd expect your revshare to be high.
Yeah, if employees are suspicious of shenanigans, they should sue and get a peek at the books in discovery. I'm sure a lawyer would take the case based on % a payout if the case looks reasonable.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov
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26.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 13:58
Beamer
 
26.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 13:58
Apr 2, 2020, 13:58
 Beamer
 
It actually doesn't sound like a bonus so much as a contractual revenue share. If your boss kept saying you had higher sales than ever before, you'd expect your revshare to be high.
25.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 13:44
25.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 13:44
Apr 2, 2020, 13:44
 
D-Rock wrote on Apr 2, 2020, 08:53:
I never understand how people who deal with logic all day can't make logical decisions. If it's a bonus, you need to plan on potentially not getting it at all.
Because a lot of devs are younger and don't have worldly experience. Or swayed by the charisma/culture of a kewl dev studio with a hip guy like RPitchford at the helm. Many times 'bonuses' are sold to new employees as if they're a sure thing with very general requirements and a *lot* of fine print. The one and only 'bonus' plan I accepted had straightforward requirements that were torpedoed when CE-level cretins at the company changed design specs *after* I had already met the requirements. Result? No bonus because it didn't meet the final spec. I was gone months later.

I mean, how can Borderlands 3 *not* be a hit? Even all their marketing and braggadocio after release would seem to indicate that they far surpassed every metric that they predicted. From all the chest thumping you would think that Pitchford would be writing out all the bonus checks himself....because they did so great...so much better....the biggerest....hands.
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24.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 10:50
24.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 10:50
Apr 2, 2020, 10:50
 
Loot boxes did this, they went in low and hoping for a big prize at the end vs taking the sure thing, gamblers mentality and now leaving them with a empty hand. When he said if you don't like it leave, they all needed to stand up and walk out and let him immediately beg for you back, because he would have to. There is no reason why they even needed EGS money upfront unless they are just mismanaged, which is becoming obvious in every way that they are.

This comment was edited on Apr 2, 2020, 13:18.
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23.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 10:16
23.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 10:16
Apr 2, 2020, 10:16
 
EGS FTW!
22.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 09:57
22.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 09:57
Apr 2, 2020, 09:57
 
D-Rock wrote on Apr 2, 2020, 08:53:
wrlwnd wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:49:
Uh, a bonus is supposed to be just that. A bonus.

Agreed.

I never understand how people who deal with logic all day can't make logical decisions. If it's a bonus, you need to plan on potentially not getting it at all.

Doesn't sound like there is a choice between regular salary or lower salary + bonus. I'm not even sure I'd call collecting royalties "a bonus". I mean, usually a bonus is your normal salary +something extra the company GIVES to you (and you may not get one). Whereas profit sharing of royalties is completely different, and more like "part of the salary". With Pitchford running the sh!tshow, chances are... one would get screwed, and apparently they did.
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
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21.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 08:53
21.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 08:53
Apr 2, 2020, 08:53
 
wrlwnd wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:49:
Uh, a bonus is supposed to be just that. A bonus.

Agreed.

I never understand how people who deal with logic all day can't make logical decisions. If it's a bonus, you need to plan on potentially not getting it at all.

Reminds me of this woman in sales that planned her personal budget based on a bonus she expected to get. She'd throw a tantrum if she didn't get it -- claimed she 'needed' it. Of course this was the same woman that would book five days in Hawaii even though the business trip was for two days. She didn't have her job for very long...
20.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 08:19
20.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 08:19
Apr 2, 2020, 08:19
 
Mordhaus wrote on Apr 2, 2020, 02:50:
I wonder where all that Epic money went? Did they not sell some copies on Steam as well, or did people boycott them after their CEO deep-throated Sweeney and vomited the party line about how Epic was going to be the savior for devs?

I think people saw the reviews, saying it doesn’t innovate at all and is basically the exact same game as the first two. I was bored out of my mind halfway thru BL2, only finished it when friends wanted to play co-op. If they make a Bl4, they need to redesign the gameplay and add more variation to it. Just “tons of guns!” isn’t enough.
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19.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 03:32
19.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 03:32
Apr 2, 2020, 03:32
 
Randy the pandy..........
18.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 2, 2020, 02:50
18.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 2, 2020, 02:50
Apr 2, 2020, 02:50
 
I wonder where all that Epic money went? Did they not sell some copies on Steam as well, or did people boycott them after their CEO deep-throated Sweeney and vomited the party line about how Epic was going to be the savior for devs?
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17.
 
Gearbox hold on!!
Apr 2, 2020, 02:48
17.
Gearbox hold on!! Apr 2, 2020, 02:48
Apr 2, 2020, 02:48
 
As long as gearbox doesn't close down before they release the rest of the dlc's.
16.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 23:53
Jivaro
 
16.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 23:53
Apr 1, 2020, 23:53
 Jivaro
 
This is my shocked face.
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15.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 22:29
15.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 22:29
Apr 1, 2020, 22:29
 
wrlwnd wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:49:
Uh, a bonus is supposed to be just that. A bonus.

If you have take a lower salary to get the bonus, then it ain't a bonus.

Duh.

Exactly lol.

The best thing they can do is leave now.
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14.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 22:23
14.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 22:23
Apr 1, 2020, 22:23
 
Kxmode wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 21:06:
jdreyer wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:57:
jdreyer wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:56:
Kxmode wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:49:
jdreyer wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:42:
I guess the developers were too busy to read the news.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford Accused Of Stealing $12 Million Dollars

An allegation and accusation means a claim that someone has done something illegal without proof. Despite whatever people feel about Randy, he hasn't been found guilty in a court of law of stealing 12 million.

Fair enough, but would you ever work for this guy?

Amidst legal battle, Gearbox CEO says he left USB stick of porn at Medieval Times

There's some crazy story coming out of Gearbox on a yearly basis. You don't get that from other development houses.

Are you replying to yourself? Do we need to worry, jdreyer?

Yeah, meant to edit. Realized my mistake, but couldn't be bothered to fix it.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov
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13.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 21:53
13.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 21:53
Apr 1, 2020, 21:53
 
Pepe wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 21:41:
I tought the EGS exclusivity would give more money to the devs so where is it?

Heh Heh Heh Heh! Jester
12.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 21:41
12.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 21:41
Apr 1, 2020, 21:41
 
I tought the EGS exclusivity would give more money to the devs so where is it?
Avatar 11122
11.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 21:37
Cutter
 
11.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 21:37
Apr 1, 2020, 21:37
 Cutter
 
wrlwnd wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:49:
Uh, a bonus is supposed to be just that. A bonus.

If you have take a lower salary to get the bonus, then it ain't a bonus.

Duh.

No they're taking a lower salary to keep overhead low in exchange for a bonus based on a higher percentage. It's perfectly common. Seems they either had unrealistic expectations or someone was blowing smoke up their ass. I'd bet on the latter.
"Well, he’s not a villain Summer, but he shouldn’t be your hero. He’s more like a demon, or a super fucked up god." - Morty Smith
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10.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 21:33
10.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 21:33
Apr 1, 2020, 21:33
 
Well, the Quote and Edit buttons are RIGHT next to each other!
9.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 21:06
Kxmode
 
9.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 21:06
Apr 1, 2020, 21:06
 Kxmode
 
deleted

This comment was edited on Apr 8, 2020, 02:46.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
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8.
 
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses
Apr 1, 2020, 20:57
8.
Re: Report: Gearbox Staff Unhappy with Lower Than Expected Borderlands 3 Bonuses Apr 1, 2020, 20:57
Apr 1, 2020, 20:57
 
jdreyer wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:56:
Kxmode wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:49:
jdreyer wrote on Apr 1, 2020, 20:42:
I guess the developers were too busy to read the news.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford Accused Of Stealing $12 Million Dollars

An allegation and accusation means a claim that someone has done something illegal without proof. Despite whatever people feel about Randy, he hasn't been found guilty in a court of law of stealing 12 million.

Fair enough, but would you ever work for this guy?

Amidst legal battle, Gearbox CEO says he left USB stick of porn at Medieval Times

There's some crazy story coming out of Gearbox on a yearly basis. You don't get that from other development houses.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov
Avatar 22024
27 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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