Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why GameStop's Actions Should Bother You

Ever since I found out about GameStop's stunt with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which I wrote about in my Weekly Roundup, I can't get it out of my head. I feel kinda betrayed, even though I'm not one who was affected by their actions. But I am someone who has been loyal to GameStop in the past and who has encouraged people to shop there over buying games at Wal*Mart or other big box stores. I sincerely believe that specialty stores need to exist and that buying one's electronics at the same store one buys their underwear isn't a good idea. But I'm also creeped out by being able to buy underwear, produce, and My Little Ponies at the same place, but that's a different rant for a different day. 

Reading more about what has gone on, especially reading the response that GameStop gave on their Facebook page, has left a bad taste in my mouth. This is that response as reported from Kotaku (emphasis mine):
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.
It's bad enough that GameStop is so unapologetic in its asshattery, but to then claim that DEHR is their product? Seriously? DEHR is Square Enix's property which they allow GameStop to sell. Square's product was sold to GameStop customers in a different condition than how they packaged it. It was tampered with, opened, and sold as a new item, and I am not the only one questioning how legal it is. The coupon they stole from their customers before pulling the rest of their copies off the shelves was valued at $49.99. If someone stole that much money from you, you'd be pretty upset and rightly so. How is what they did not theft, not deceptive business practices, and not a violation of their agreement with Square Enix to be allowed to sell their products? 

But worse than all this is the precedence it sets. If GameStop gets away with this, what next? Will they then be able to throw away any material packaged with a game they find objectionable? And who makes that call? 

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