How are Borderlands’ SHiFT codes still a thing?

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One of the head-scratching decisions during the launch of Borderlands 2 in 2012 was the implementation of the SHiFT rewards program. Periodically, Gearbox Software, or its marketing partners, would publish codes that could be redeemed for in-game goodies. These rewards included Golden Keys that would exclusively open a Golden Chest in the hub town of Sanctuary. Every time a player opened the chest, it would give them high-level rare equipment – arguably some of the best stuff in the game. The idea was that the release of codes would keep fans engaged in a meta-game of seeking out and sharing codes in the real world.

Unfortunately, the Golden Keys were a balance problem. Why hunt for in-game loot when the best stuff could be had by plugging in codes? Sites like this one made it trivial to find codes, so it was easy to amass hundreds of Golden Keys. The in-game loot that dropped naturally off enemies, even bosses, rarely equalled the quality of Golden Chest contents, so who was going to waste time on the loot treadmill if they had keys to spare?

You’d think this issue would’ve been resolved by now, but Gearbox is apparently still keen on SHiFT rewards. During the announcement for Borderlands 3, the studio released codes good for more Borderlands 2 loot. (C3W33-RZ6ZJ-TFJ6C-TTJ33-RFHX5 for 100 keys, W3KJB-H9CBW-XRBRW-JTBTJ-9JRXK for 25 keys, and C35TB-WS6ST-TXBRK-TTTJT-JJH6H for an handful more.) They also announced that there will be codes specifically for the HD remaster of the first game launching on April 3rd. The studio seems committed to the SHiFT program, so I assume it will be used in Borderlands 3 as well. It’s a big assumption, I grant you that, but here we are in 2019 still copy-pasting codes to get loot.