We spoke to OnLive at Gamescom last week (interview forthcoming) and one of the initiatives they said they were rolling out was including OnLive codes to games in with boxed copies, with Deus Ex: Human Revolution being one of the biggest titles to support such a move. However, news has recently broken that major retailer GameStop have in fact been tampering with sealed, new copies of the game and forcefully removing these codes before distribution.
An email was intercepted from Josh Ivanoff, one of GameStop's Field Operations Managers that stated the following: 'Please immediately remove and discard the On Live [sic] coupon from all regular PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Our desire is to not have this coupon go to any customers after this announcement.'
GameSpy first reported the story, and a GameStop rep has confirmed to the website that, according to them, 'Square Enix packed the competitor's coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons'.
GameStop are already making forays into the digital market, having acquired the Impulse platform earlier in April this year, along with streaming tech company Spawn Labs. It's clear the company sees OnLive as a direct competitior, but with OnLive's own streaming service offering the game online for $49.99, and with the free boxed codes no doubt engineered to promote awareness, there's some serious research to be done here. Do GameStop have the right to open these copies and remove competitive material, only to then repackage as new? What of the legality of the situation? Reports are coming in of buyers who have an OnLive coupon and those who don't, so there's already disparity in terms of products sold at the same price.
Mind you, this clusterfuck is spreading even more publicity for what is an absolutely cracking game.
We've contacted both GameStop and OnLive for further comment.