GameStop Cuts Off Dawn of War 2 Pre-orders, Supposedly Due to Steam?

By Chris Faylor, Jan 21, 2009 3:10pm PST Shacknews can confirm that retailer GameStop has halted pre-orders of Relic Entertainment's upcoming PC RTS Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2.

The game's listing has disappeared from GameStop's online store, with multiple brick and mortar locations telling Shacknews that they can no longer accept pre-orders.

Employees assured us that existing pre-orders would be fulfilled upon the game's February 19 release, and suggested that GameStop has sold out of its initial shipment. The retailer is known to pull listings and halt pre-orders in such scenarios.

A supposed inside source told Kotaku that GameStop will not be selling the game because it supposedly requires the installation of Valve's digital distribution platform Steam. However, this seems extremely unlikely, as GameStop sells numerous other PC games that require Steam, including Valve's own The Orange Box and Left 4 Dead.

Then again, GameStop doesn't seem to stock Volition's just-released PC port of Saints Row 2, which required Steam to play, though it definitely sells the console iterations. And Saints Row 2 was published by THQ, just like Dawn of War 2.

Then again, GameStop is still listing Relic and THQ's other spring release, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, for pre-order. And if Dawn of War 2 ends up requiring Steam--its multiplayer beta is Steam exclusive--there's a fair chance Valor would too.

Shacknews has, of course, contacted GameStop for comment.

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  • GameStop (and Walmart, and Target, and all large national retailers) use strongarm tactics against publishers all the time. Refusing to take pre-orders is one of their big sticks. Another common tactic is to refuse to put up standalone displays, or to hide the product in a low-traffic location.

    Yes, retailers want to sell games, but if you are in the game section of a retail store there are two possibilities:
    1) You know what game you want, and you will find it and buy it even if it's on the second shelf
    2) You don't know what game you want, and you'll pick the first thing that looks interesting

    If a publisher does something to piss off the retailer, the retailer will retailate by funneling the type 2 customers to other products.

    There are some very easy ways to piss off GameStop. It wouldn't surprise me if bundling Steam with your installation disc is one of them.