Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

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FlashTHD
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Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by FlashTHD »

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6330790.html
When Square Enix launched Deus Ex: Human Revolution earlier this week, the publisher proclaimed that all purchasers of the PC retail version of the game would receive a free OnLive digital copy of the game as well. However, Square Enix's plans appear to have been partially thwarted, as GameSpy reports that specialty retailer GameStop has been removing the OnLive coupons from its copies of the game before selling them to customers.

A GameStop representative confirmed the news for GameSpy, saying, "Square Enix packed the competitor's coupon with our [Deus Ex: Human Revolution] product without our prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons."

OnLive is a game rental and purchase service that allows PC gamers with an Internet connection to stream titles for play on "nearly any" PC or Mac or on TVs equipped with an OnLive game system and controller. The company is also prepping iPad and Android tablet versions of its service.

While OnLive and GameStop can be said to compete at the moment, their markets are likely to overlap more in the future. Earlier this year, GameStop acquired the streaming game company Spawn Labs, and it plans to launch an open beta of its own streaming service later this year.

[UPDATE]: A Square Enix representative told GameSpot "We have no comment" on the matter. An OnLive representative similarly had no comment.

GameStop also provided additional comment on its Facebook page, saying, "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."

[UPDATE 2]: GameStop has reportedly changed its position on the PC version of Deus Ex. A company representative told CNN today that it has stopped selling physical copies of the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution until it receives a new version from Square Enix without the OnLive coupon included. However, GameStop continues to offer the downloadable version of the PC game, which includes no such OnLive bonus.
So! In their infinite genius, some higher-up(s) at Gamestop had deduced that in order to not promote a service that competes against their holy status them, they would attempt to discretely damage that competitor's products and sell them anyway, hoping that none of us dumb mongrels thinks anything of missing promised promotional goodies.

I wonder, when they get sued, are Gamestop's attorneys going to complain that Square isn't being gracious enough for recieving all that OnLive publicity?

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Re: Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by Radrappy »

these are the same guys that will let you trade in 3 AAA titles for 10$ of in store credit. They are pirates extraordinary. Thus this behavior doesn't surprise me much.

as an aside, are you dudes into Onlive? There's something creepy about not owning any of the games you're paying for. I understand that could be interpreted as a rental service but still. Creepy. It's definitely where the business is going though.

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Re: Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by Segaholic2 »

1. What they did was not illegal and they will not be sued. The entire internet's grasp of business sense is poorer than GameStop's.
2. Technically and legally, you don't actually own any of the games you buy on any digital distribution services. This includes Steam, XBL, PSN, etc.

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Re: Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by Crisis »

OnLive is a good way of playing games that you otherwise wouldn't have access to, i.e. when Steam or consoles aren't an option. It's especially good for Mac/Linux users who aren't prepared to pay the obscene price of a Windows licence.

OnLive also saves hard disk space, which is great if you're using a computer with a small SSD hard drive (e.g. the MacBook Air).

The idea of paying for a licence rather than the physical item has been around for a while now. For instance, the aforementioned Windows licences have to be bought again if you plan on changing hardware (legally I think it's the motherboard). The music industry has handled this exceptionally badly, no doubt helping to propagate a generation of music pirates. Then there's stuff like Capcom's Resident Evil game for the 3DS only having 1 save file that can never be overwritten.

That's why this cloud stuff is so exciting. We have computers in everything now, so the old model of "one purchase, one licence" is breaking down. Once iCloud launches in a few months, iTunes can scan your entire music archive and flag your account as "owning" that music, and grant you access to the highest quality version on iTunes, no questions asked, across all your devices, as many times as you want, and theoretically it will last forever. It'll cost $25 a year, but to be honest, I don't think that's going to be a big obstacle.

Eventually I think this will happen to games as well. There's been a general shift in gaming towards making it more universal. Consoles don't offer the advantages they once did and computers are getting into everything, so there's more and more incentive for making games as widely accessible as possible. That's why browser games have exploded - because what computer doesn't have a browser? OnLive and Steam are first-generation cloud services that offer us a glimpse into the future - where games can run on any device with a CPU and an internet connection. OnLive may not be the future, but I think most media publishers are aware that we're about to experience a seismic shift in how we store and access our music, video and games.

This GameStop story is pretty much a case in point. They know their core business is under threat, so they're shitting all over their customers in their efforts to protect themselves. It's not an unusual strategy for a company that's losing ground.

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Re: Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by Green Gibbon! »

The thing I'm wondering is whether or not the customers know what they're getting. If I read somewhere that I'd get a service or whatever included with the game then I go and buy it and get home to find out the bonus has been removed, I'd be pissed. I'm assuming stores have set up some kind of notice.

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Re: Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by gr4yJ4Y »

It's kind of like when there's a TV on at McDonald's that's playing some station and an ad for Burger King happens to pop up. But instead of management just letting it slide, they remove the TV entirely.

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Re: Gamestop's grasp of business sense revealed

Post by Crisis »

It's worth noting that GameStop never agreed to sell the game knowing there was a ticket inside letting their customers go straight to a competitor. It's entirely possible that GameStop has the firmer legal footing and could even sue SquareEnix over it. I would hate to be the Deus Ex team right now - their gesture of goodwill has caused the largest physical retailer to stop selling their game, and I don't want to think how many sales they'll lose as a result. A lawsuit isn't going to help.

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