The controversy over GameStop's backroom hijinks has been resolved for the time being, as Square Enix officially defended GameStop's right to remove third-party coupons.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that a GameStop executive had instructed store employees to open copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, remove a coupon that provided a code to let owners of the game download a free copy from the streaming game service OnLive, and then sell the opened game as new.
Our desire is to not have this coupon go to any customers after this announcement, read the email from Josh Ivanoff, GameStop Field Operations Manager.
The revelation sparked a considerable amount of objection in general, and especially from customers who were predisposed to consider GameStop's business practices as somewhat less than perfectly ethical to begin with. Many observed that the retailer, which bases much of its business around buying and selling used console and handheld games, refuses to accept opened PC games for trade-in or returns.
GameStop was obviously dismayed by the negative publicity, and sent a follow-up email to its stores instructing them to follow a more defensible policy, albeit one that undoubtedly hurt sales for both the retailer and Square Enix: stop selling the game entirely.
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As GameStop is developing a streaming service in our Spawn Labs Cloud Gaming Division, the coupon that was included is for a competitive service, read the email. We are returning all copies of the regular PC edition to the vendor in agreement with Square Enix.
The argument sparked some debate over whether future possible competition is as persuasive a rational as current real competition, but the response to the furor was not all negative; many observers defended the company, agreeing that GameStop has the right to choose what it does and does not sell, and especially to refuse to give access to what amounts to direct competition.This argument was echoed on Thursday by a statement from Square Enix, the publisher of the Deus Ex games.
As part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution's boxed offering on PC, Square Enix included a third-party coupon, read the statement. 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.
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