GameStop's OnLive response 'probably legal'

Some are questioning if there can be any legal ramifications against GameStop for removing OnLive vouchers from DXHR. Mark Methenitis, attorney and industry analyst, said that "it's probably legal."

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Earlier today, GameStop confirmed that it was opening new copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and removing free codes for an OnLive version of the game. The company told us that the "competitor's coupon" was placed into boxes without the company's knowledge--a retail trojan horse, if you will.

While the company's action has been seen as drastic, some are questioning if there can be any legal ramifications for removing content from a sealed product and selling it as new. Mark Methenitis, attorney and industry analyst, said that "it's probably legal" because "GameStop isn't removing any essential element of the product."

"The only issue would be if the box advertised the promo and GameStop did nothing to change that, there might be a deceptive trade practice or false advertising kind of claim. But from the consumer angle, there's not much," Methenitis told IndustryGamers. Considering the last-minute discovery of the promotion, it's clear that many--consumers and retailers alike--were kept in the dark. There was pretty much zero advertising of OnLive's addition to retail copies.

While consumers can't do much against GameStop (other than not purchase products from them), OnLive and Square Enix may be able to threaten legal action. Wired explains: "Tortious interference litigation results when one party accuses another of intentionally damaging their business contracts or relationships. By removing OnLive’s coupon from copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, GameStop might have violated United States economic tort law."

Unfortunately for all parties involved, heads are likely to clash again as OnLive CEO Steve Perlman told Joystiq that this promotion was just "the first of many." With a growing number of high-profile PC releases in the pipeline, it seems like GameStop will have many more boxes to open in the coming months.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 24, 2011 7:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, GameStop's OnLive response 'probably legal'.

    Some are questioning if there can be any legal ramifications against GameStop for removing OnLive vouchers from DXHR. Mark Methenitis, attorney and industry analyst, said that "it's probably legal."

    • reply
      August 24, 2011 7:24 PM

      PC games are probably such a small percentage of GameStop's business that I'd be surprised if they even care. Although, considering that the last GameStop memo said that Deus Ex returns should be processed as normal before their little mini-recall, and it's a Steam game, seems like it would've been a good opportunity to get a free game had you bought a copy there.

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        August 24, 2011 7:24 PM

        Not that I would recommend that, since the return probably would be charged back to Squeenix instead of hitting GameStop in the pocketbook.

    • reply
      August 24, 2011 7:25 PM

      Probably legal is the best kind of legal.

    • reply
      August 24, 2011 7:41 PM

      Okay, not it makes more sense:

      http://www.spawnlabs.com/

      We bought one of the Spawn Labs consoles at work for testing and it kind of sucked. I think we still have it somewhere.

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      August 24, 2011 8:33 PM

      those assholes

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        August 24, 2011 9:19 PM

        this is what should have been done in the first place if they didn't want the coupon to go out.

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          August 25, 2011 5:33 AM

          They were probably trying to do what was best for themselves (and consumers) by at least still selling the game. A few people realizing they didn't get a coupon they didn't know was going to be in there vs everyone not getting a copy at all.

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            August 25, 2011 5:52 AM

            oh absolutely. This was hey we'll just pull the coupon and save us the shipping and lost sales due to a recall. "Oh shit, our memo was leaked"

            /hastily called meeting

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      August 24, 2011 9:39 PM

      What a bunch of douchebags. How can it be legal? If they open it, it isnt new any longer.
      Fuck Gamestop. I am glad I decided not to buy from them a long time ago.

    • reply
      August 24, 2011 9:46 PM

      Honestly, Gamestop can go screw themselves. I'd already limited my shopping there to the occasional previous-gen titles that might be hard to find elsewhere, but after this they're never getting another penny out of me. The fact that they open titles so their high school dropout employees* can play them and then still sell them as "new" copies is bad enough, but actively stealing from the consumer like they've done with Deus Ex is a whole new level of anti-consumerism.



      *This assumption based solely off of the maturity level and vocabulary of most of the GameStop employees I've dealt with. I'm sure this is not always the case...just most of the time.

    • reply
      August 24, 2011 10:22 PM

      "GameStop isn't removing any essential element of the product."

      If I'm buying a copy to get a free version for Online and it's not there...I'd call that pretty fucking essential.

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        August 25, 2011 4:34 AM

        What if you have an under spec pc and the only way you can play it is onlive? Then it is totally essential.

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      August 25, 2011 12:02 AM

      Can't wait for them to go the way of Blockbuster and Borders. Their pricing structure and trade-in compensation sucks ass.

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        August 25, 2011 3:54 AM

        Pretty sure theyre not leaving anytime soon. Publishers still rely on them and Gamestop is soon starting a game streaming service.

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      August 25, 2011 4:45 AM

      They have an interesting idea of what a "new" product is.
      I wonder if the gamespot CEO would be interested in a slice of this new pizza I already ate last night.

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        August 25, 2011 4:53 AM

        How about you read the article, silly? It says it's probably legal because they don't remove any features from the actual game. If you eat someone else's pizza, you ruin their purchase. Your comparasion is shit.

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          August 25, 2011 4:59 AM

          yes, that is the implication. You correctly identified Pre-digested pizza as shit.

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        August 25, 2011 5:56 AM

        no, they opened the pizza box, peeled off the pepperoni and sold it as new

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      August 25, 2011 6:20 AM

      I do wonder if, in the overall scheme of things, if this is going to change GS's policy of opening new games to put disks behind the counter for purposes of theft reduction.

      But I also suspect they are going to be more critical of what games they sell.

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        August 25, 2011 6:34 AM

        I doubt it. They've been under legal scrutiny before for their employee "rental" bullshit and they still pull it.

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      August 25, 2011 9:06 AM

      Fuck this mess, buy on Steam

    • reply
      August 25, 2011 11:36 AM

      boycott this shit company

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