On the whole, we at the Gay Gamer news desk try to keep things safe for work. This means no lascivious photos, no videos dripping with brazen carnality, and most of all, no sailor talk. But every now and then, a story pops up that makes me wish I could toss aside the latter, re-enacting an R-rated version of that iconic scene from "Network."
Earlier in the day, news broke that GameStop had generated some controversy over their PC copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Square Enix is running a promotion, whereby those who purchase the game will receive a coupon for the OnLive version, free of charge. How did GameStop respond? By creating up a vortex in the space-time continuum, opening up the boxes, removing the offending coupon, re-sealing them, and declaring them "new," by virtue of the fact that the disc had never been used. GameSpy contacted Beth Sharum, a Gamestop representative, who said that "Square Enix packed the competitor's coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons." While it's unfortunate that no further justification was given, it's pretty clear that the reason was that
we pulled the coupons because we can. Furthermore, too bad. it is the nature of the market that companies pursue policies that are in their own self-interest; thus, a promotion that benefits a competitor is not in line with company goals. In any event, rather than issuing an apology, offering a discount (since you're buying, well, most of the package contents), or some other way of making amends, Gamestop has declared that it will continue throwing its hissy fit - pulling all PC copies of Human Revolution - until Square Enix provides a release without the OnLive coupon.
Read on after the jump!
Yes, it follows that cold, business logic to which we've all become accustomed. No, that does not give them a free pass. I've read nothing of other retailers following suit, so for the time, this is a unilateral policy. Thus, GameStop alone deserves to be called out. GameSpy's legal analyst, LA-based attorney Eric Neigher, stated that the legality of GameStop's actions depends on their contract with Square Enix. Still, as speculation (and this is pure speculation) the symbiotic relationship between publishers and retailers - the former needs to have their games readily available, and the latter needs games from major companies - may give Square Enix some pause in taking action against Gamestop, on the grounds that they don't want to anger a major retailer.
Nonetheless, for those who have already purchased and opened a copy from Gamestop: Should you feel especially mischievous, try returning your "new" copy of Human Revolution. When the employee flashes that distinct look of bewilderment - synapses firing wildly as he or she tries to gauge whether or not you're joking - slap a clear label over the side of the box and explain that, by GameStop's newfound standards, this makes it retroactively unopened. Chances are, said employee will look at you like you've proclaimed yourself to be "Trior Greelak, King of the Lizard Men," (and rightly so) because it brings that waft of senselessness that is guaranteed to make you look like a first-rate twit. Unfortunately, this is the kind of asinine logic GameStop has employed.
Of course I don't seriously propose walking into GameStop and harassing its employees. The dreadful reality of retail life (as yours truly knows all too well) is that you're essentially the consumer's punching bag. Chances are, these people are making a laughable wage to tow the corporate line, and as such, their main objective is to get through the workday without someone donning their "angry consumer" face and making those eight hours more interminable than they already are. So by all means, write, get on the phone, go up the corporate ladder (good luck), etc. - but the employees, unlike their bosses, don't see the rewards of an idiotic and predatory policy.
Via Gamespy, GamePro; Image via GameSpy