Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good and Evil in the Real World

I got involved in the debate over GameStop's removal of a coupon for Onlive from copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Twitter yesterday and today. Since this is my blog, this is where I get to have the final say. I probably won't gain any friends or readers by saying I think the majority of gamers whining about how GameStop is TEH EVULS for this move are completely on the wrong side of the debate, and don't even really have a leg to stand on. Gamers are a whiny bunch in general, seeming to take every game-development and business decision in the industry as a personal affront. Seriously, y'all are almost as bad as the sports nuts talking about how "we" won or lost the game, when none of them were on the field or court. At least I have yet to hear of video gamers rioting, the way some sports hooligans have. Now I have bemoaned the occasional change to gameplay; but ultimately, if I don't like a game or product or store, I just stop playing or purchasing there.

GameStop made a legitimate business decision to remove competitor advertising from products they are selling in their stores--advertising they were not initially aware of when receiving the shipments. The manufacturer/publisher, Square Enix backed them up:
"Square Enix respects the right of GameStop to have final say over the contents of products it sells and to adjust them where they see fit in accordance with their policies."
Many Tweeps think the removal of the coupon constitutes product tampering or outright theft by GameStop against their customers. It was even suggested that they could/should have put stickers on the boxes indicating the removal. I have a question for someone who knows: Was the coupon advertized as part of the package, either in promotional material or on the box itself? If not, then it is a bonus that GameStop customers simply don't receive. The box is still new and can be sold as new, despite claims otherwise by some gamers.

As Tobold assesses, this may be another sign of the end of the brick and mortar game store. Now I am not definitely not one to say "old" companies need to lobby and/or sue to try to hinder innovation. But neither are they obligated to hasten their own demise. Besides it's not the brick-and-mortar GameStop that is a direct competitor with Onlive, it is their own online and streaming enterprise.

I don't work for GameStop. DE:HR is not a game I personally care about playing. I don't have dog in that fight. But I am annoyed as hell about the whining in this "community."

4 comments:

  1. Just to play devil's advocate here - does that mean that Publix can now go into my Frosted Flakes and take out all the contest cards and prizes? Because my son is not going to like this. (-:

    For full disclosure, I have no dog in the fight either, this is the first I've heard of the controversy. (-:

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  2. Oh there were all sorts of comparisons to other products, none of which is quite the same as software. The question is do your frosted flakes from Publix contain a coupon for free frosted flakes at Food Lion?

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  3. I'm sort of ambivalent towards this whole controversy. In the end it comes down to bad communication between Square Enix and GS. And now Square Enix backs GS, so really it now falls upon OnLive if they want to do something about it. Leave it to the companies to sort it out.

    One thing though, I haven't heard anything about the refund policy on this yet, but I do think that GS should give refunds to those who ask for it. They didn't tell anyone about the removal of the coupon which is technically a part of the full product, and I think if a customer finds out after the fact, they should have the right to return the product and go buy it elsewhere that would include the coupon if they really want it. I don't think they do PC game refunds though, and if that applies here too then that's probably the biggest issue I have regarding this matter.

    Personally, I will continue to buy from any company that will give me the best price and value, and if it so happens to be Gamestop and a particular game I want, so be it, it's not like I'm going to stop shopping with them over this. I don't deny what they did sets a pretty aggressive precedence for the future, but I also think a lot of people are blowing this out of proportion, especially those who for whatever reason already have a beef with GS.

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  4. "The question is do your frosted flakes from Publix contain a coupon for free frosted flakes at Food Lion?"

    Ah, but that's not the question is it? The question is, does Publix' rights go beyond a choice of whether or not to carry the product and into the realm of being allowed to modify the product. And the answer (and I think other comparisons would bear this out) is that they do, if the company gives them permission.

    In this case SE is okay with it, so that's all she wrote. But...what if SE had not been okay with it? In that case, I don't think GS would have had a leg to stand on, publicly or legally.

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