CNN – Gamestop steals OnLive coupons from customers

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Video game retailer GameStop is under fire for opening boxes of the just-released PC game Deus Ex: Human Revolution and removing a coupon from the publisher that would have given buyers a free copy of the game’s online version.

Square Enix, which publishes DXHR (as the fans call it), announced the launch promotion on Tuesday. The coupon code was meant to give all buyers free access to the game on OnLive, a Web-based platform that enables gameplay on TVs, computers and, soon, on tablets. OnLive’s cloud-based version of the game is priced at $49.99, the same price as a physical copy.

But on Wednesday, the blog GameSpy posted a story saying it had received complaints from consumers claiming their new DXHR boxes were opened and the OnLive codes were missing.

The article also included a photo of an e-mail sent by GameStop management instructing employees to “immediately remove and discard” the coupon. GameStop — which also sells its own digital version of DXHR — views OnLive as a rival.

GameStop (GME, Fortune 500) spokesman Matt Hodges confirmed the coupon-clipping to CNNMoney.

“Square Enix packed a competitor’s coupon within the PC version of the game without our knowledge or consent and therefore we did pull these coupons,” Hodges said in an e-mail. “GameStop’s policy is that we do not promote competitive services without a formal partnership.”

Square Enix declined to comment.

After the news broke, message board commenters on an OnLive fan site began speculating about the legality of breaking a game box’s seal and selling it as new.

“The big issue here is that if GS is allowed to get away with this, what’s to stop other retailers from doing the same thing[?]” wrote commenter Punkduck2064. “What if Amazon and Walmart removed the digital copy codes from the DVDs [they sold] simply because their competitors were the ones providing the digital copy.”

GameStop initially stood by its approach, saying in a prepared statement that while game boxes “may have been opened to remove the coupon, we fully guarantee the condition of the disc to be new.”

But late Thursday, company spokesman Hodges said GameStop had changed its policy after talking with Square Enix.

Now, GameStop says it will not sell the opened DXHR packages — in fact, it won’t sell any physical copies of the game at all until Square Enix ships GameStop a version without the OnLive coupon. GameSpot will continue to sell its own digital version of the game in its stores and online. 

Autocoupon clippingDraftDXHRformal partnershipgadgets newsgamegamestop gmematt hodgesOnLivespokesmanSquarevideo game retailer
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  • Joe Lanzisera via Facebook

    you could just go to your local gamestop and ask for a copy of the code. i did that and i got the code. (i did this 3 days after i posted my comment in august)

  • RustyLuck

    Any Game or DVD that is opened can not be sold as “NEW” which they got away with to who knows how many poor people who don’t understand for full price. Right there tells me the shady business of GameStop has lost my business. You guys never buy any games or DVDs open for full price, I have seen and been a victim of this on Amazon. You never know what could be missing and with the new games coming out on xbox and playstation that wont let you play online without the codes included, just don’t take the risk.

  • Joe Lanzisera via Facebook

    gamestop has a reason, they were not informed that there was going to be a coupon inside the case, therefore gamestop followed their regulations and took the codes out of the case. game developers are always to inform stores that are going to be selling the product about the products contents. none the less it was a dumb move that got a lot of people mad, but you could always get your money back… but who would do that, its just a game, and it wasnt like you were paying extra for the code.

    • Johny

      Bu t me gusta gamestop