If you bought the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which, by all accounts, is an excellent game,) you were supposed to get a voucher inside the box that would allow you free access to play the OnLive version of the game. Every copy of Deus Ex is supposed to have this coupon included, as part of a special partnership between publisher Square Enix and the OnLive service… that is, unless, you’ve had the misfortune of buying the game from Gamestop, who is apparently opening sealed copies of the game, removing the free access code, and selling the opened, OnLive-deprived package as “new.”
Gamepro has posted an alleged leaked email from Gamestop management telling employees to destroy the OnLive vouchers that were supposed to be given for free to anyone who bought Deus Ex, in an attempt to keep Gamestop customers from switching over to OnLive’s competitively priced digital distribution service. It’s an underhanded business tactic by a company who already has a less than stellar reputation with gamers, and as bad as Gamestop’s reputation is, I never expected them to actually deprive their customers of content by actually tampering with “new” copies of the game.
Gamestop has yet to comment on the situation, but Steve Pearlman, founder of OnLive, released the following statement: “In the future, if GameSpot continues to tamper with a publisher’s product without their permission, how long will it be until an angry publisher decides to pull their product from GameSpot’s shelves?”
And he’s right — With more and more publishers including vouchers for online services inside new copies of games (including Valve’s famous decision to include a Steam PC copy of Portal 2 with every PS3 version of the game sold,) it certainly seems like a matter of time before both publishers and gamers become fed-up with Gamestop’s shady business practices.