This is not going to go well for GameStop. A leaked internal memo posted by GameSpy reveals that store employees are being told to open boxed copies of the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and remove a coupon accompanying the game that entitles the buyer to a free PlayPass for it — the equivalent of buying another copy of the game — on cloud gaming service OnLive.
You probably don’t need the wrongness of this to be spelled out, but just to be clear: GameStop employees are being advised to open a sealed product and “remove and discard” content inside of it that gives added value to the consumer. This is an independent action taken, as a statement issued by the company makes clear, because “we prefer not to promote our competitors and their competing offerings and services in our stores.”
Neither Square Enix, the game’s publisher, nor OnLive, probably because they’re all on an epic-length conference call with their legal departments plotting out a response. It’s frankly shocking that GameStop execs would think it is okay to authorize the removal of packed-in content from a sealed product.
The “we prefer not to promote our competitors” defense doesn’t add up at all when the retailer could have simply elected to return its shipment and refuse to sell the game. Of course, that would have meant not selling a new release that is picking up some pretty great reviews. My guess is that someone at the company crunched some numbers and decided that the risk of a potential lawsuit would ultimately cost less than not selling the new release at all.