Gamestop apologizes for Deux Ex-gate

The leading games retailer in the US is try to make amends for the admittedly ridiculous way it handled an issue with the PC game Deus Ex.

Gamestop was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this week, because of a popular new game called Deus Ex – specifically, the PC version.

Among the myriad pamphlets and manuals that are standard for a packaged game, this particular game included a coupon for Onlive, a cloud-based PC game service that allows users to play games without the need for local storage space – players pay Onlive, not the manufacturers or individual retailers, for the service.

It’s kind of like the Netflix of video games.

Putting in promotional materials in the packaging of video game boxes is nothing new. In fact, it’s quite commonplace, but it is usually for a specific product or service and not a direct retail competitor.

Gamestop saw the Onlive promotion as egregious as, say, if Deus Ex publisher Square Enix had decided to put a $5 Best Buy gift card in each game copy. That kind of thing just isn’t done.

So the store ordered all employees to grab their PC game inventory of Deus Ex, remove the shrinkwrap, open the box, pull the coupon, and continue to sell the game as though it was new. “While the new products may be opened, we fully guarantee the condition of the discs to be new. If you find this to not be the case, please contact the store where the game was purchased and they will further assist,” the store said in a statement.

Believe it or not, that strategy didn’t really go over to well with consumers. So instead, it then decided to pull all copies of the game and hide them in their back room. If a customer came in asking for it, employees were directed to say they were sold out. If that customer had a pre-order, then and only them could a store employee begrudgingly sell it.

Not surprisingly, this whole ordeal lit up all around the gaming community, sparking uproar and outrage.

So now, Gamestop has offered affected customers a peace offering to apologize for its bungled handling of this issue. In an e-mail sent to customers who pre-ordered the game, the retailer wrote:

“Earlier this week, GameStop removed a competitor’s coupon from standard edition PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a recent release by Square Enix. We were not aware that the product box would contain this competitor’s offer. We regret the events surrounding this title release and that our customers were put in the middle of this issue between GameStop and Square Enix, the publisher of this game. And for this, we are truly sorry.”