Borderlands 3 publishers Take-Two Interactive and 2K Games responded to their latest controversy.
The two companies have defended the actions they took against YouTube creator, SupMatto after he allegedly leaked information surrounding Borderlands 3.
According to SupMatto, he was unfairly and excessively targeted by the companies after he posted several videos on his channel, including leaked content from Borderlands 3. He maintains that the information he covered was public information that was posted on the official Twitch channel before Borderlands 3 was revealed.
“Take-Two and 2K take the security and confidentiality of trade secrets very seriously,” a 2K representative told Fandomwire. “The action we’ve taken is the result of a 10-month investigation and a history of this creator profiting from breaking our policies, leaking confidential information about product, and infringing our copyrights.” 2K Games is a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, who publishes Grand Theft Auto. They also handle publishing responsibilities for Gearbox Software’s Borderlands franchise.
While this story has surfaced recently, it originally started in April, according to SupMatto in a YouTube video explaining the situation. Following the release of a trailer for a mobile extension that could be used in Borderlands 3, SupMatto had noticed that the trailer included information for a series of private Twitch accounts that were being used to test the extension. Of course, it is important to note that SupMatto claims he is not the one who found these initially, but that they were posted to social media platforms such as Reddit. Although the channel’s contents were not viewable, the thumbnails still were which left SupMatto, who is a prolific Borderlands content creator with the ability to creative videos discussing the leaks. These thumbnails were most notably used in videos where he would discuss the highly anticipated looter-shooter game.
With the thumbnails being on Twitch, SupMatto was under the impression that they were within the public domain. Not long after this though he would start to receive several copyright strikes that had come from within 2K Games. YouTube’s current copyright policies state that visual material “such as paintings, posters, and advertisements” all suffice as copyrighted content that a company can request to have removed from the streaming site. In July before he started to receive strikes on his channel, SupMatto was visited by two private investigators claiming to work for Take-Two on July 25th to ask him about what he knew about the content he posted.
“I was very tense, as many of you could imagine, having two people in suits you don’t know show up at your home,” SupMatto said in his video.
When asked about the private investigators, the 2K representative was unable to comment on whether Take-Two did send them to SupMatto’s house. However, they were able to say that the company will “take the necessary actions to defend against leaks and infringement of our intellectual property that not only potentially impact our business and partners.”
“The information he’s sharing about the situation is incomplete, and in some cases untrue,” the representative added. “Not only were many of his actions illegal, but they were negatively impacting the experiences of other content creators and our fans in anticipation for the game.”
The fallout of this situation has been massive for Take-Two and 2K Games. Gamers and content creators on social media have heavily criticized both companies for how SupMatto was treated. Within a day of SupMatto’s video, #boycottborderlands3 was a trending topic on Twitter and Instagram with several content creators producing commentary videos in solidarity. This latest batch of negativity aimed at Gearbox and 2K comes after prior controversies such as an exclusivity deal with Epic Games for the PC release of Borderlands 3 and the company’s outspoken CEO, Randy Pitchford. Pitchford has previously come under fire for unprofessional social media conduct, malicious attacks on Game Informer for their coverage of microtransactions in Borderlands 3 and is the focus of a lawsuit regarding a “secret $12 million bonus.”
“I will add that since I’ve had time to reflect on the situation, I’d say excitement got the better of my judgement,” Supmatto added. “As an adult, as someone who’s thought about it, it was a pretty shitty thing to do.”
SupMatto’s YouTube account was not the only thing that was targeted by Take-Two or 2K. After he was visited by the investigators, his Discord account had been terminated for being “involved in selling, promoting, or distributing cheats, hacks, or cracked accounts.” Since then he has deactivated his Twitter account to avoid further speculation that the two companies had been involved in the removal of his profile.
After issuing the video, SupMatto claims that he plans to take a break from producing content as he figures out where to go next.
Now while 2K Games has dismissed the allegations that their parent company sent private investigators to SupMatto’s house, it would not be the first time that we’ve heard this story. In 2015, it was reported that Take-Two had sent private investigators to intimidate someone who was making single player mods in Grand Theft Auto V.
Whether this recent scandal will affect Borderlands 3‘s critical and commercial remains to be same, but it is definitely something that 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive wanted to avoid.
Borderlands 3 is scheduled to release on September 13th, 2019 on the Playstation 4, PC, and Xbox One.
What do you think of this news? Will you still play Borderlands 3? Let us know in the comments below!