The report states that the company pays a lower than average salary than its competitors to its employees. But, they are entitled to up to 40 per cent of the Gearbox Software’s profits, which are to be shared equally among eligible employees in quarterly “bonus” payments. As a result, employees actually make more money than they would have done working on a game of the same scale somewhere else.
Undoubtedly, Borderlands 3 was a serious success for the company. The sci-fi shlooter secured the highest pre-order sales figures ever for a 2K Games title and smashed pre-order records with the Epic Games Store. Upon launch, the game recorded the “best numbers in Gearbox history” for PC players, doubling the all-time peak concurrent players of Borderlands 2. Borderlands 3 “exceeded the label’s expectations”, but the people responsible for its triumphs won’t be getting their previously promised bonuses for the game.
CEO Randy Pitchford has allegedly told employees that these bonuses would be much lower this time. The calculations that determined these bonus checks were incorrect because Borderlands 3 became more expensive than the company had expected, a new division was opened in Quebec, Canada, and their sales estimations were flawed. The report also claims that Pitchford said those who aren’t content with this conclusion could quit their jobs.
In response, the company supplied this statement to Kotaku:
“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.”