News is sweeping across the internet and Twitter today as it is becoming apparent that someone at Gamestop corporate is directing stores to physically remove coupons from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. These coupons were intended to be good for a free digital copy of the game via OnLive.
Gamespy originally reported this, and have also posted a picture of a purported email sent by a Field Operations Manager at Gamestop which reads:
Please immediately remove and discard the On Live coupon from all Regular PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Our desire is to not have this coupon go to any customers after this announcement.
While Gamestop’s long-standing policy of opening both PC and console games and still selling them as new, as well as their policy of allowing its employees to essentially ‘rent’ those games short-term before they’re sold has long been a point of contention when regarding the company, this goes well beyond it.
Now, one of the keys here is that Gamestop has recently purchased Spawn Labs and Impulse (which offers digital distribution of games), and Impulse is now itself pointing to the Gamestop webpage. While Impulse currently does not offer game-streaming service (as OnLive does), it is currently in beta testing. This move apparently was made to keep coupons for Gamestop’s soon-to-be direct competitor away from their customers. The question is, of course, if there are any legal ramifications to Gamestop’s move. One thing that can definitely be said is that the near-universal reaction on Twitter has been highly negative.
From Gamestop’s official Facebook page:
Regarding the Deus Ex: Human Revolution OnLive Codes: We don’t make a habit of promoting competitive services without a formal partnership. Square Enix packed the competitor’s coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull these coupons. While the new products may be opened, we fully guarantee the condition of the discs to be new. If you find this to not be the case, please contact the store where the game was purchased and they will further assist.
We hope to have more on this, as well as responses from Gamestop, OnLive, and Square Enix in the coming hours.