Stepping on the toes of a marketing plan: Borderlands 2 and the press

You have journalism to thank for knowing about Borderlands 2′s existence. Well, unless you ask Randy Pitchford, that is. Earlier today, when news broke out about Borderlands 2, Pitchford decided to tweet the following:

“I have long maintained that we will do more with Borderlands. Shoddy journalism is not an announcement.”

How ridiculous is that? Reporting something is shoddy journalism? Pitchford, don’t you mean shoddy marketing? Ultimately, that’s what happened here. Websites who found out about this information before they ‘should’ have, before your marketing plan was supposed to take effect, websites who reported on this completely factual data, are the undesirables.

Game Informer was supposed to have the scoop, not the gaming blog vultures. And, really, Game Informer still does have the actual scoop: nobody knows much beyond the fact that this is a game, and it exists. Officially. That doesn’t matter, though, because by reporting the truth, websites have messed with the marketing campaign and that’s not acceptable.

The issue is that game journalists and media outlets are sometimes (not very often, I might add) seen as simply an extension of a studio’s marketing department, of their PR department. What, don’t believe me? Take a look at this job opening at EA. It refers to big-name sites, respected sites, as “PR sites.”


Gearbox and marketing scandals are no strangers, we simply have to look back a couple of months and recall the Redner tweets. Both this Borderlands 2 incident and the DNF fiasco are a testament to how problematic the relationship between developers/publishers and journalists is.


  1. I’m not surprised that Borderlands 2 exists. I wasn’t an overly-masdive fan of the original, but it (and its DLC) sold so well that it warranted a sequel. I don’t understand why Pitchford’s got his pants in a wad though. Now that it’s official, they can start their pre-order drive even earlier, before the Game Informer cover story goes to print. As you said, the only thing anything outside Gearbox and GI know about the game, is that it exists and is actively in development, so now that people know about it, they’ll be waiting for GI to come out to find out more. It’s free marketing for both game and magazine, what could possibly go wrong?

    What I AM surprised about, is that EA job listing referring to the news sites as “PR” sites. 😐

  2. Robert

    Randy Pitchford is pretty much a grade-A retard, so I wouldn’t take anything he has to say seriously.

    As far as treating gaming sites as PR sites…well, more than half of the gaming sites that exist can hardly be taken seriously in terms of journalism. I can’t imagine huge corporations like EA see them as anything more than extensions of their marketing. After all, how many websites look critically at any number of issues, and how many of them simple recylcle the same news from other sites, with a paragraph of explanation and a link?