There are a lot of reasons to avoid shopping at GameStop, or their affiliate EB Games:  they rip off gamers with their used game pricing, they stock very few copies of PC games, they push terrible warranties onto unsuspecting / less savvy consumers, and they pre-open all of their new games just to name a few.  But now they’ve managed to sink to a whole new low:


OnLive and Square Enix announced yesterday that as an extra incentive for gamers who couldn’t quite bring themselves to pull the trigger on the new Deus Ex release, all boxed copies of the game will include a coupon for a free copy from cloud gaming company OnLive. I don’t really see it as a “seal the deal” offer but it might come in handy someday and hey, free stuff is free stuff, right?

Not if you bought it from GameStop. Shortly after it went on sale, buyers began reporting to GameSpy that their supposedly brand-new copies had been opened and that the OnLive coupon was missing. Dodgy, yes, but things didn’t get full-on greasy until an anonymous source provided the site with a photo of an email, allegedly from GameStop management, telling employees to pull the coupons and throw them away. “Our desire is to not have this coupon go to any customers after this announcement,” the memo said.


That’s right – GameStop employees were instructed to steal and destroy  pack-in content from a newly released game.  It makes you wonder what other casual theft that GameStop has been instructing its staff to perform in the name of hindering its competition.  Buy your games anywhere else other than GameStop – they don’t deserve your money after this underhanded stunt.

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11 Responses to “GameStop / EB Games: Sleazeballs”

  1. I have all kinds of thoughts about this, and they’re all bad. What a horrible way to go about this – rather than coming to an arrangement with Square Enix, they are putting the immediate brunt of this fiasco on the shoulders of their field employees, which is quite the dick move (and, sadly, typical).

    Additionally, in spite of the negative internet storm that this is causing, there will likely still be thousands of people who go into GS/EB and buy the game over the next few days who are oblivious to what has happened, and won’t be able to get their money back because it’s too late – the game “has been used”.

    GS/EB is one of many retailers whose leadership has a perverted long-term view of crap like this. The OnLive coupon may have been a minuscule detriment to whatever garbage they’re cooking up for a future streaming service, but in the meantime, they are trashing any goodwill that they have with those customers. Smart move.

    • Aye, looking ahead I see unfortunate potential for the Stardock games and Impulse sales that I’ve occasionally been pleased with. I’ve not purchased a new game at GameStop for… easily a decade or more, so I’m already out of the loop, but this is bad news.

    • Well, given that GS/EB basically doesn’t carry PC games any more, I suspect there won’t be many people going into the shops for it anyways.

      I’ve bought a tonne at the local EB Games over the course of my gaming life – but probably nothing ever again.

  2. My thought is that they must be getting really desperate. Are we going to see them close within the next couple of years Maybe it would be just as well.

    Things like this are incredibly damaging because most people take fairly simplistic approaches to shops – a binary do I shop there? yes/no? They’ll have a number of people decide not to shop there and years later won’t even remember why other than that there’s something bad about shopping at Gamestop.

    • Given that the only way I can vote on issues like this is with my wallet, I’m all for boycotting chains that I feel are not honest, and don’t deserve my money.

      I still refuse to visit because of their fake “We’re going out of business” scam last year.

  3. Agree, and no need to feel too angry. When your only method of competing – when other channels of distribution surpass you – is to pull others down and resort to dishonest tactics like these, you’re not going to be in business too long anyway. Happens all the time in business, nothing to see, move along move along
    (but sure, I’m angry too)

  4. [...] Systemic Babble – GameStop/EB Games: Sleazeballs [...]

  5. I’ve looked around, but can’t find it… Why, exactly, did Gamestop pull the coupons? Why would they care? It’s an Onlive game, it wouldn’t cost Gamestop anything to have that coupon go out, would it?

    Generally (as I remember from my retail days) the manufacturer/distributor refunds the amounts of coupons, not the end retailer (unless it’s an internal coupon, of course). But this wasn’t a Gamestop coupon.

    Regardless, openning sealed packaging, modifying the contents and selling it without permission or explanation to the customer is really, really bad form. To put it bluntly: Fuck EB/Gamestop.

  6. Wow, thats even worse than I thought. So they didn’t cost Gamestop a penny – actually, removing the coupo s cost them directly in labour – they just removed them because they were for another distributor? What’s more, one that’s entirely different?

    That’s a whole lot sleazier than I first thought.


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