updated 11:30 pm EDT, Fri August 26, 2011
GameStop compensates deprived Deus Ex buyers
GameStop on Friday sought to quickly contain the bad publicity surrounding its decision to pull OnLive coupons for free games from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Those who bought copies of the game before it was temporarily pulled from shelves will get both a $50 gift card for the store as well as a two-for-one deal on used games they might buy. It's stil unknown if or when the action RPG will return to shelves.
The retailer has drawn criticism for not just removing the coupons, which tampers with the box and interferes with competition, but for its early response. It has tried to paint the coupons as a Trojan horse that Square Enix inserted without its consent when, most likely, the copies were the same as were shipped to every other retailer in the US.
GameStop as a physical retailer heavily dependent on reselling used copies has every motivation to discourage OnLive as it reduces the incentives to either return the game outside of the exchange period or else to sell it back at all. An official GameStop cloud gaming service also just recently launched and is likely what led to the coupons for OnLive's more popular competing service being forced out.
Square Enix has been unusually apologetic for the coupons, but its rights aren't apparent. GameStop may have the legal right to choose what to sell in normal conditions but might not necessarily have terms about competing products in its contract with the game creator.