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A Simple Question: GameStop’s Deus Ex Debacle


It was a huge headline last week; GameStop admitting to removing coupons from copies of Deus Ex that allowed consumers to get a free copy of the game on OnLive.  Later, GameStop simply pulled the game from their shelves, stating that they would not sell the game until it had the coupon removed.  Finally, they offered something to gamers affected by this situation, in an attempt to placate what had grown to be a very irate mass of gamers.  But was it too little too late? Was GameStop in the right here, or were they just flexing their muscles to try and bully Square and OnLive?

Was GameStop within their rights to remove OnLive coupons from copies of Deus Ex?

(You may need to refresh the page to see the poll)

 

Please note, I’m asking whether GameStop had the right to do it, not whether you think it’s right that they did.  I’m pretty sure many would agree that the decision was a poor one, giving GameStop a lot of negative press while pumping a ton of advertising to OnLive for free (and right before PAX Prime, where OnLive was giving away their MicroConsole for free to visitors of their booth).  I guess if I was being honest, I’d say GameStop had the right, as this coupon insertion by Square may have been a violation of the agreement between the two companies.  However, just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you should.  I think it was a terrible decision by GameStop to go about it the way they did, and I’ve made it known that I will no longer be a customer of GameStop as a result.

What do you think? Vote in the poll above about whether GameStop was within their rights, and tell us in the comments below whether or not you agree or disagree with their decision?


A Simple Question (ASQ) is a weekly segment for Platform Nation. Each week on Monday, I’ll ask a question on Twitter at #PNASQ. Give a response and let the world know what you think; there is no right or wrong answer here. If you have a suggestion for a question, hit me up on twitter @vttym.

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  • Jeremy

    I decided to answer this question from a strictly legal standpoint (e.g. “within their rights”). It’s not clear to me that they broke any laws doing this. As a retailer, they can sell the product however they want.

    I look at this issue as a failure of logistics and publishing. Square also came out and “apologized” to GS about the contents of the retail box. The buying process is pretty deliberate, and either a) SE and GS agreed not to include those vouchers and someone dropped the ball or b) GS was not informed about the vouchers and they were included beyond what GS had already been informed.

    Of course, GS didn’t want to miss the launch window, so rather than pull the stock and return it to SE when they found out, they made a (weird) decision to change the package contents post-shipment.

    I don’t think that’s what they SHOULD have done, and they themselves later came back to offer gift cards and refunds etc., so they went back on it too. But I think that’s mostly as a goodwill gesture rather than a “legal” remedy.

    That’s just me.

  • Jeremy

    I decided to answer this question from a strictly legal standpoint (e.g. “within their rights”). It’s not clear to me that they broke any laws doing this. As a retailer, they can sell the product however they want.

    I look at this issue as a failure of logistics and publishing. Square also came out and “apologized” to GS about the contents of the retail box. The buying process is pretty deliberate, and either a) SE and GS agreed not to include those vouchers and someone dropped the ball or b) GS was not informed about the vouchers and they were included beyond what GS had already been informed.

    Of course, GS didn’t want to miss the launch window, so rather than pull the stock and return it to SE when they found out, they made a (weird) decision to change the package contents post-shipment.

    I don’t think that’s what they SHOULD have done, and they themselves later came back to offer gift cards and refunds etc., so they went back on it too. But I think that’s mostly as a goodwill gesture rather than a “legal” remedy.

    That’s just me.

  • When it comes down to it, the customers were buying a specific product and they’re pissed they were caught altering that product. It’d be the equivalent of them removing a pack in code for free maps without informing the consumer. It’s just another showing of how fearful they are of the new avenues to get content. 

  • Jeremy

    I don’t think they did have the right.  To me the argument they used was weak at best.  If they were saying the digital on demand service that OnLive is supporting is a direct competition to them…  then what is different then Xbox’s download service or Xbox Live arcade? Why sell Xbox points in store when apprently that is supporting your “competitor”?

  • The topic is great, the question, egh.  I’m not a lawyer and I think that is where this will be decided, with them and their contracts.  But as a gamer, screw GameStop.  I stopped supporting them awhile ago because I don’t care at all for their business practices, but if I did support them still, this would have stopped that for sure.  That’s like if a Sony store sold games for all systems but they went ahead and removed something like reward MS points in the 360 games.  Just such a shady practice that deserves 0 support from consumers.

  • I have no idea if they were within their legal right to do so, which is what this poll seems to be asking (which is weird to have a poll on whether something is legal or not).

    But, as far as Im concerned as a customer, I do not think it’s right for a store to open up a package and take something out of it and then sell the package.  That isn’t right TO ME.  IMO, if gamestop doesn’t want to sell it, and they have every right as far as Im concerned to sell or not sell whatever they want, they either sell the game as is or pull it completely.  You don’t take shit out of the package

  • Cardo12342003

    So GS wants to be the car company AND the oil company so they can sell you cars with shitty gas mileage where you’ll have to buy expensive gas.  Monopoly in the making?

  • You know there a similar situation recently with another block buster game earlier this year. The PS3 version of the game Portal 2 had a voucher to get a free digital copy of the game to promote their cross platform gaming experience. (Which was stellar to have portal running on the computer in the same room as the HD TV running portal as well.) Does anyone else have information about a past situation that was very similar to this? Because Steam right now is a digital content monolith. If I had to decide that anyone had direct competition to brick and mortar stores it would be Steam.  

  • You know there a similar situation recently with another block buster game earlier this year. The PS3 version of the game Portal 2 had a voucher to get a free digital copy of the game to promote their cross platform gaming experience. (Which was stellar to have portal running on the computer in the same room as the HD TV running portal as well.) Does anyone else have information about a past situation that was very similar to this? Because Steam right now is a digital content monolith. If I had to decide that anyone had direct competition to brick and mortar stores it would be Steam.  

  • Tyke5140

    I feel they lost the legal right when they took the coupon from pre-ordered games. Those were reserved by the customer and I consider it stealing.