[Update 2 5:35PM] Joystiq is reporting that Gamestop is pulling PC copies of DEHR from the shelves, as well as removing them from their website. It appears that their secret plans for digital distribution are running smack up against Square Enix's OnLive collaboration, and rather than come clean about what they are planning, Gamestop is just going to go ahead and pull the game and eat the losses. If I were in their shoes I would make an announcement about the Gamestop digital distribution program this evening and make it clear that they cannot legally sell products with OnLive codes in them because of their deal with publishing partners. Man, I wouldn't want to be them right about now. This is getting ugly and they don't seem to be able to keep themselves from making it worse.
[Update 1:25PM] We received the following statement from Gamestop PR: "We pulled the coupons because, like all retailers, we prefer not to promote our competitors and their competing offerings and services in our stores. Unfortunately, the coupon was packed without our prior knowledge."
In answer to our follow up question, "Why is the On Live code considered a competitor coupon when the customer is already buying the boxed edition of the game from Gamestop?" The response is that, "They are a competitor because it’s another place to get games, not just this title." Seems like my theory on their future plans for getting into the digital distribution game is pretty much on target.
This news is just burning a hole through the Internet, so I will try and get it into your brain as fast as possible: Gamestop is pulling the OnLive codes from the boxes they are selling of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. That cool two for one deal that Square Enix was providing to its customers? Gone. If you planned on buying the game from Gamestop, or have already bought yours, you may have been gipped.
I've contacted Gamestop PR and am still waiting for direct comment, but they have told other sites that "Square Enix packed the competitor's coupon with our Deus Ex: Human Revolution product without our prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons." On Live was unavailable for comment. No doubt their voicemail box was full when I called.
I see a couple scary precedents, and an intriguing one being set here. First, that Gamestop feels they can root into the boxed products and remove items at will. This means you don't have the chance for a pristine boxed product when you buy from them. Years ago we heard that Gamestop employees were able to play new games and rewrap them and sell them as new, and it seems that this policy is now extending to censoring what's inside the box. It's way past shady at this point, it's almost criminal.
On the other hand, the fact that Gamestop sees OnLive as a competitor, even when they've already made a sale to the customer, tells me that they have their own digital game delivery system in the works. They want to be OnLive, so they won't allow their customers access to play a game they already bought on the competing service. Gamestop has been struggling up against Amazon and Best Buy for a while now, since they are so specialized. Now we hear they are punishing customers for buying in their store, I can't imagine this is going to help sales. I know I won't be buying from them in a long while, I can tell you.