By: Stephen Crane (Photo: Flickr user Wright Way Photography)
As if discussions of privacy invasion by EA weren't enough! It was leaked earlier today that gamers who bought Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the PC at GameStop would be receiving opened boxes. GameStop managers were sent out an email at about noon on August 23 instructing them to open all of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution PC boxes and pull out the OnLive coupon.
What's really disappointing is that it wasn't even for a free game. The coupon simply would have allowed customers to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the digital service for free. It should be a win for everybody. Instead, GameStop panicked because they have plans to push for a more digital approach to PC gaming as well.
I took the time to go visit my local GameStop to talk about this with the employees. What I learned was pretty interesting. I was fortunate enough to come while all the local managers were in front doing inventory, and they were friendly enough to discuss what is going on with me.
Of all the managers there, only one had actually read the email. She also informed me that by the time she had read it, the only copy of the game had already been sold. It was also revealed that many GameStop locations don't receive too many PC games anymore. Mostly what they have in stock are games that were pre-ordered and maybe one extra.
It's been going on like this for a while, and apparently GameStop learned a valuable lesson about how digital distribution affects sales with the latest World of Warcraft release. They had too many copies in stock by a long shot. They apparently sold almost nothing past pre-orders and ended up with way too many copies of the game left over. The cited reason was that Blizzard had made the expansion available for digital download at the time of release so most gamers decided it would just be easier to download it.
Today's news, unfortunately, shows how the game industry is struggling to balance profitable business practices with pleasing consumers. Either digital downloading services collect all information about your computer, or brick and mortar stores open your games and remove bonus content before you buy the game. It's getting hard to find a safe place to be a PC gamer, even with the alleged revival of PC gaming coming this weekend! At least in this instance, we can be smart consumers. If you go to the store to purchase Deus Ex: Human Revolution make sure to check the box to see if it's sealed, and if not to see if the coupon is inside it.