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GameStop apologizes to Deus Ex PC customers

GameStop really doesn’t like all this “lawsuit” talk that’s been buzzing around since they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar, ripping OnLive codes out of sealed copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the PC. Now, in an email sent out to customers by GameStop CEO Paul Raines, they’re offering an olive branch to those affected. Customers who bought the PC game before the store decided to stop selling them altogether are eligible to receive a $50 GameStop gift card and a Buy 2 Get 1 Free coupon on used games. Considering GameStop’s history of completely ignoring customer outcry, offering a $50 gift card is sort of a big deal. Usually they just offer to show you the door, and ask if you want to pre-order Madden.

If you purchased the PC version from GameStop, all you need to do is take the email and your receipt or order confirmation from GameStop.com to a retail store. Once there (after being hassled to reserve every game coming out from now until 2014 and talked down to by a 17-year-old), you’ll get some free money, effectively refunding the entire cost of Deus Ex: Human Revolution on PC, so we guess it’s worth it. We doubt anyone was that excited for the OnLive code.

Honestly, it’s tough to blame GameStop for this entirely. No matter which way you slice it, Square-Enix did package a competitor’s coupon in a game without telling them. That’s a thing they did. While gutting the games and tearing out the offer wasn’t the most tasteful way to handle the situation, neither was sneaking in an OnLive code without mentioning it. Seriously, how did they think GameStop would react when they saw that? The email is below—what do you think? Water under the bridge?

"Dear GameStop customer,

Earlier this week, GameStop removed a competitor's coupon from standard edition PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a recent release by Square Enix. We were not aware that the product box would contain this competitor's offer. We regret the events surrounding this title release and that our customers were put in the middle of this issue between GameStop and Square Enix, the publisher of this game. And for this, we are truly sorry.

For your inconvenience, we would like to offer you a free $50 GameStop gift card and a Buy 2 Get 1 Free pre-owned purchase. We want to earn back your trust and confidence in the GameStop experience. Please bring in this email and your store receipt or order confirmation from GameStop.com and present it to a Game Advisor.

Sincerely,

Paul Raines

CEO, GameStop"

Aug 28, 2011

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52 comments

  • KainStrider - August 29, 2011 8:56 p.m.

    I figured most PC users would have just bought it on Steam. Secondly, who cares? I don't even know one person who uses OnLive.
  • IamTheBalance - August 29, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    I would like to add that Onlive is garbage anyway.
  • santaclouse37 - August 29, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    I would just like to say that the strapline for this article is perfect.
  • Skeletortilla - August 29, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    Walmart doesn't open DVDs with iTunes digital copies in them, even though they have their own digital distribution service for movies. Only the games industry is so incompetent that they have to "do business" like this.
  • fadedlinevigil - August 29, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    As someone who grew up and doesn't buy games from Gamestop anymore, let me be the first to say 'Who Cares'...
  • alphafour - August 29, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    I agree with ParagonT, it has nothing to do with the onLive ticket in the first instance. Would you rip out a toy from its packaging to make sure it's not defective? No you wouldn't because it would break the clear seal. I don't know why nm1043 is saying that Gamestop made a good business decision. They made a really stupid business decision because not only did they break laws and break consumer trust, they created a wave of publicity for the competitor that they were trying to stifle in the first place. I would imagine that Gamestop has some agreement with all of its partners saying that they will not buy/stock products that promote competition. We can argue about whether that even constitutes competition as Gamestop could just come out and say "oh we are planning to make our own futuristic shooter in a few years so we don't want to stock this game as it is competition".. but I digress.. If Gamestop thought that Square Enix had breached it's contract, they should have stopped all shipments of the game as soon as they saw the onlive coupon and should have delayed sale of the game. They might even need to sue Square Enix for loss of profits etc etc but they would win and Square Enix would have to pay their legal fees in the end.. Going down this avenue would be a much better BUSINESS DECISION as it would not infuriate it's customers which are its SOURCE OF INCOME. As far as I'm concerned, offering me a $50 coupon to spend in-store with a stupid deal on pre-owned games is almost like FORCING people to forgive you. If Gamestop was smart it would offer a full refund PLUS a free game (probably of their choosing). The offer of a $50 gift voucher and a free game with 2 preowned purchases is like saying "We're sorry about everything.. so we're going to keep your money... and then we're going to make you buy 2 of our overpriced used games before you even get anything for free"
  • CitizenThom - August 29, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    Looks like a sincere apology from Gamestop. That being said, this incident looks like a preview of what the next string of lawsuits between publishers and retailers will be about. Publishers have been trying to figure out what to do with the used game industry for about a decade... even with a headstart considering the same thing happened with Wherehouse's used cd sales, publishers took a long time to figure things out. Now that the online pass phenomena is starting to happen, now it's retailer's turn to go through their own learning curve. Obviously, gamestop and other retailers will seek out some means of self preservation. And, in the beginning of such efforts for self preservation, companies always seem to be extremely clumsy. Gamestop and other retailers will need to find a way to practice with a little more finesse from here on out. If retailers and publishers have disputes, they should take them up with each other though, and leave the consumer out of it. Gamestop's mistake was involving customers in the dispute between retailers and publishers.
  • NullG7 - August 29, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    This is why I stoped going to GameStop, the customer service is horrible and my Best Buy has better deals. STILL CANT READ THESE RECAPTCAS!!! is that a long division sign? is that an o or a c or a Q? is that a - or a _ or an =? finally here is one that U think I can read "about DPermat" with the second word scribled out just to urk me..
  • LeSieg - August 29, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    Went into my local Gamestop, asked for Deus Ex from the clerk, and he just kind of looked miffed. That probably wasn't the first time he heard that joke that day.
  • smikey - August 29, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    What I don't get is Gamestop is upset by the onLive code which is just a nice bonus, but they're not upset that the game is steamworks which requires steam on your PC. Steam is far and away more of a threat than onLive and they're still stocking it. They also stocked Portal 2 for the PS3 which gave the customer a free steam copy of the game as well. I wonder if they're going to stock Battlefield 3 for PC as that will require Origin if you want to play.
  • lilbuddha - August 29, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    Steam is the 500lb gorilla, and isn't going anywhere. Gamestop wants to be #2 on the market, and killing off all the other smaller distribution services is in their best interest. In the short term, consumers win. In the long term, consumers lose, lose bad.
  • nm1043 - August 29, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    Damn, what an unnecessary sh*tstorm... These are my thoughts on the matter: Gamestop handled a bad situation very poorly, but they were semi-justified in their actions. Had they chosen a different way to go about this, maybe no one would care. But it doesn't change the fact that they were dealt a bad hand, and reacted in a logical seeming way. Ignoring the Ikea comparison, lets assume that when anyone purchases a new iPhone 4 from at&t, they receive a coupon offering them a cheaper plan for Verizon. You'd better believe they would remove that coupon. Or imagine when you buy a laptop from Best-Buy, it comes with a coupon for amazon, or circuit city for 50% off on accessories. As a business, Best-Buy should remove that coupon, and offer to sell their in-store accessories at a slight discount when purchased at the same time... these are all good business moves, even though they may be handled poorly. So when gamestop carried a product that they would sell, they did not assume they would also be advertising for a competitors product that could lure away potential customers. Bottom line, sometimes business is shady, but gamestop made a good business decision, however poor they carried it out, and their apology makes the game people paid for free, and offers them a second game for free (with the purchase of 2 others at used price)... Are you guys telling me that with the slew of releases coming out at this holiday season, you can't think of three games you would want to play? not including the games already released this year and last holiday?
  • nm1043 - August 29, 2011 7:17 a.m.

    Well clearly i'm a noob, since I indented my paragraphs, but a solid wall of text was posted... oh well
  • D0CCON - August 29, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    I did read it, and I certainly agree with you.
  • ParagonT - August 29, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    I disagree. By opening the packaging, they should no longer be able to sell the game as new. The seal has been breached and the merchandise has been tampered with (IF so or not). People do not care as much about the fact that they took out the codes, but as a consumer, I will not allow or support a retailer to open MY game package (If I pre-ordered), and not tell me before I spend my money on that game that they are going take the codes. This isn't a question about a "good" business practice", It's a question of legal and the principle behind it. Of course people will say "Well, just don't buy it from them." But in all honesty, that's just being an ass and the statement people who can't say anything better. It's easy to say that when you don't have it pre-ordered. In conclusion for this wonderful essay, just because their kissing ass right now does not justify this at all. They did something wrong, and now their kissing ass for it, it's simple. If they were justified in any way as you may assume, then why are they even doing this?
  • alphafour - August 29, 2011 6:18 a.m.

    Also, in response to people saying that opening sealed games to protect the discs from thefts is justified.. No it isn't.. Toys R US has a store room system where you just take a ticket to the counter and they get the game from the store room and you pay for it. RESULT: UNOPENED BRAND NEW GAME. Supermarkets have a system where they put the game in a big case which is security protected and cannot be opened and you take that to the counter and they unlock it. RESULT: UNOPENED BRAND NEW GAME. GAME (not for all of its games) puts a few unopened boxes on the shelves of the game which you take to the counter and then they get an unopened copy from the glass case behind the counter. RESULT: UNOPENED BRAND NEW GAME. In none of those circumstances can you possibly steal a game without either 1. using a hacksaw to cut through the protective box 2. smashing the window of the store room and jumping in (without getting caught by security) or 3. jumping over the counter and smashin the window of the glass cabinet (without getting jumped on by all the store staff. As you can see, there is no reason for Gamestop to open all boxed games. They should open a few games (5 or 6) for display box purposes but then those need to be sold at used prices. I've just highlighted 3 different companies/types of store that sell video games without having to open all the boxed games so why is Gamestop doing it?
  • InvasivePlague - August 29, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    How about making sure there's a disc actually inside of the case.
  • alphafour - August 29, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    Once they've opened 5 or 6 boxes for display purposes (as I already mentioned), it would become quite clear that there are discs inside the cases. Of course there are always anomalies in stock produced but that has been happening as long as mass production has been in play. I'd challenge you to show me evidence that even 1% of games sold physically in a retail store didn't actually have the discs inside due to manufacture fault. People buy magazines that are sealed inside plastic packaging routinely but they aren't likely to think that all of the pages are blank. I see your point that the discs are held in place by the plastic clips so you wouldn't necessarily hear it rattling but I don't see it being a big enough problem to worry about. Due to the retailer's fault? Perhaps.. but not due to manufacturer fault. The fact that the other companies that I mentioned have clearly not had any major problems while opening the cases (i.e. there are no high profile news articles etc) shows that the point you raised is clearly not significant enough to even warrant a long-winded discussion. It was a nice attempt but you need to come up with a better reason than that.
  • cchen04 - August 29, 2011 4:25 a.m.

    Essentially getting $50 and a Buy 2 get 1 Free coupon? Sounds like a deal. Hell Gamestop should do this every time with OnLive, just so people can go stir up some trouble and then get free stuff.
  • tntbandicoot - August 29, 2011 12:47 a.m.

    Aaaaaargh, why are you guys getting all dramatic?! Gamestop ripped something off, blah, blah, blah and so what? You guys should quit whining and go do something useful with ur thumbs!, why are you guys getting all dramatic?! Gamestop ripped something off, blah, blah, blah and so what? You guys should quit whining and go do something useful with ur thumbs!

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