Say What GameStop? Power to the Corporation
Imagine being ecstatic about purchasing a sweet new game for your PC, only to get home and discover that you don’t have the necessary OnLive code that was promised with your game as part of a free promotion. Well if you purchased Deus Ex: Human Revolution from GameStop, then that’s pretty much what you could expect this past Tuesday. GameStop has always been a source of controversy in the gaming community. And this latest tactic might just be the straw that breaks every gamer’s back, making them weary of shopping at the store in the future.
According to reports, when Deus Ex: Human Revolution launched on Tuesday August 23, GameStop employees were instructed to open new PC copies of the game remove the free OnLive version game codes. In response to the uproar this action created in the gaming community, GameStop issued this statement on its Facebook page:
“Regarding the Deus Ex: Human Revolution OnLive Codes: We don’t make a habit of promoting competitive services without a formal partnership. Square Enix packed the competitor’s coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull these coupons. While the new products may be opened, we fully guarantee the condition of the discs to be new. If you find this to not be the case, please contact the store where the game was purchased and they will further assist.”
Responding to the fiasco, publisher Square Enix issued this statement Wednesday:
“As part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s boxed offering on PC, Square Enix included a third-party coupon. GameStop was not made aware of this inclusion and Square Enix respects the right of GameStop to have final say over the contents of products it sells and to adjust them where they see fit in accordance with their policies. Square Enix invites gamers who want to purchase the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution without additional coupons to buy the game at any one of over 4,000 GameStop stores in North America or purchase a digital download copy online from www.gamestop.com.”
The following day, the retailer ultimately decided to pull all PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from its shelves until further notice. Which in turn lead to the retailer issuing a formal apology email to customers who pre-ordered the game, offering a 50 gift card and a buy 2 get 1 free deal on pre-owned games.
As suspected on days 1 and 2 of these shenanigans, consumers were not going to let the corporation get away with this underhanded tactic without giving the public notice. My Twitter line blew up with the “GameStop sucks” tweets and the like moments after this story became public. Harsh words, but in no way am I surprised by this response because as the years roll by, I see more and more people becoming distrustful of the company. Even I am starting to question whether or not this is a retailer that I will continue to use after having an unexpected bad experience with the company a few weeks ago. Since I never buy games used (and I really wanted Alan Wake), I was unaware that people can trade in a game and GameStop does NOT have to test the game to see if it works. The experience left a sour taste in my mouth and I will be more careful if/when I do shop there in the future and I will not buy any more used games from the company, period. Even though they give you 30 days to return the game if you have any problems, who is really going to know that their game is not functional in 30 days especially if it’s a 60+ hour RPG? Maybe if you played every day and never left your house or ate, sure why not.
GameStop is one of the largest video game retailers in the world. And I can honestly say that until the past few months I loved going into the store and getting my nerd fix. However, after this latest bit of controversy, I am skeptical about where GameStop will draw the line when it comes to how they will sell games in their stores. Altering packages is a travesty, and what’s to stop them from pulling DLC codes, inserts, or anything else that is promised with a game just because they feel like it? In my opinion, opening a package and removing an item should not be allowed regardless of the circumstance. If I go into a store and purchase a game “new”, I expect the game to be unopened and in its original packaging with the original content. Not “like new” or “used” unless that is what I am paying for and I was told upfront that the game would be missing certain content like codes.
What GameStop fails to realize is that this is a business of trust. If people cannot trust a company to be upfront with them about certain business practices then they will lose business. Maybe not enough to close the door on the company for good, but enough make others aware that there is a problem. The gaming community at large has a voice. If we stand up and make ourselves heard, then maybe we could get clarity on some of these issues and our minds would be put at ease when we shop at the retailer because we know that we can trust them. In addition, using social media to make other aware of what is transpiring is a good way to bring any problem to the attention of the retailer. Make your points heard, but don’t just say “blank sucks”, but rather have a valid reason and facts to back up your accusations. I’ve even see companies give out apologies on Twitter. So yes it works, as long as you the consumer put forth the effort to use it.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who was at fault, Square Enix for not telling GameStop about the promotional codes, or GameStop for opening new packages. The fact remains that it happened, and I am concerned that it will happen again, and again. Where will the line be drawn? How much more will gamers endure just to purchase a game at GameStop before they decide, enough is enough?