Update: An earlier version of this story stated that Borderlands 3 would feature no microtransactions whatsoever, as that’s what we heard from Randy Pitchford during his on-stage presentation. It’s since been clarified that the statement from Pitchford was specifically in regards to ‘F2P-style’ microtransactions, and that cosmetic purchases will still be available, similar to prior games. We’ve edited the story for better clarity.
Going into Gearbox and 2K’s live gameplay reveal event for Borderlands 3, one question sat in the back of my mind that I hoped would be addressed. Given the current state of the ‘looter-shooter’ genre, one that the Borderlands series helped thrust into popularity and that is now home to the likes of Destiny, The Division and Anthem, I just wanted to know one thing. Would Borderlands 3, like those games, feature some kind of ‘microtransaction’ or ‘loot box’ economy involving real-world money?
It’s a fair concern to have, given that the series is built on a solid foundation of randomly generated loot-hoarding, and has even featured an early form of loot box-style mechanics before. With the release of Borderlands 2, Gearbox started giving out ‘SHiFT’ codes, which were the only way to unlock special golden chests that bore ultra-rare items. Would the SHiFT system suddenly start allowing people to spend actual cash on golden keys, or would the new game’s expanded cosmetic options be exploited in a similar way?
The answer, I’m pleased to report, is no. During his on-stage presentation at the event, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford proudly stated, to cheers from the crowd, that Borderlands 3 will not feature, “Microtransactions or any of that free-to-play stuff”. Bloody fantastic.