Until earlier today, I had never heard of OnLive. Apparently OnLive is a service similar to a Roku but, instead of streaming movies, it streams video games directly to a set-top box on your television. How did I find out about OnLive? A news story broke a few hours ago that video game retailer GameStop is opening copies of the just released ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ and removing promo coupons that would allow gamers to play ‘Deus Ex’ via their OnLive account for free.

The decision to remove the OnLive coupon was made by a GameStop executive who claimed that the coupon was placed in the games without their knowledge. He sent out a memo ordering GameStop employees to open copies of ‘Deus Ex’ and remove the coupon before selling the games as new to unsuspecting customers.

Below is the memo from said executive:

GameStop went on to confirm the move on their FaceBook page where they posted the following comment:

“Regarding the Deus Ex OnLive Codes: GameStop’s policy is that we do not promote competitive services without a formal partnership.
 Square Enix packed a competitor’s coupon within the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution without our prior knowledge and we did pull these coupons. 
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.”

If a retailer opens a product, removes a part of the package, and tries to sell it as new, you can expect that there will be lawsuits and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few pop up from this case. GameStop is ripping off customers who aren’t getting what they paid for. (The OnLive coupon is valued at $50.) They are potentially harming the reputation of ‘Deus Ex’ distributor Square Enix by possibly harming their image when their customers open a package with missing materials. The end result is that GameStop is selling damaged goods.

Now I understand that GameStop, which has a digital game distribution service of their own, doesn’t want to sell a game that includes a coupon that promotes their competitors but there are better ways to go about the issue. They could have worked out a deal with Square Enix to get games that didn’t include the coupon and then been up front with their customers about it. Instead they decided to go underhanded and disgusting.

I haven’t shopped at GameStop in a few years now because my local stores already have a bad habit of selling open games as new, and ripping off gamers by giving them a few measly dollars for games and then turning around and selling them for almost retail price. I’ll be willing to bet that this move is going to find a lot more GameStop customers joining me in my disdain of their shops.

I hadn’t heard of OnLive before this, but I sure have now! I expect that GameStop has inadvertently helped OnLive by giving them more attention with this move than the service would have gotten with the coupons themselves.