If the best judge of success is how worried your competitors are, then cloud-gaming platform OnLive may have just had its potential validated by GameStop. Unfortunately for the platform – and for players, and fans of best consumer practices – the validation comes in the form of a directive to GameStop employees to open every box for Square Enix's Deus Ex: Human Revolution and remove the coupon for a free OnLive copy of the game. When consumers noticed the ruse, the store then pulled all physical copies of the game from its shelves.
Following reports of GameStop customers finding their copies of the game were missing the coupon for free OnLive access to the game (which OnLive usually charges $49.99 for), an email was leaked to an OnLive fan forum by a confirmed employee of GameStop. The email orders employees to “immediately remove and discard the On Live [sic] coupon from all Regular editions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” In an email to GameSpy, GameSpot PR representative Beth Sharum confirmed the move, saying that “Square Enix packed the competitor's coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons.”
GameStop has plans to provide its own cloud-gaming service, making OnLive a competitor – one that just happens to already have such a platform in place. “GameStop's policy is that we do not promote competitive services without a formal partnership,” the company's Matt Hodges told CNN. At time of writing, CNN has now reported that GameStop is pulling all physical copies of Human Revolution from its shelves until Square Enix provides it with copies lacking an OnLive coupon.
As GameStop itself noted in the initial email, Human Revolution is enjoying a very positive reception (we put it right up there with the original in our 10/10 review) and looks to become one of the year's standout titles for critics and players alike. Here's hoping this altercation doesn't stop the title seeing the sales to vindicate that reception for Square Enix.
Aug 24, 2011