Leading retailer GameStop has admitted to removing coupons from the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution that entitled buyers to a free copy of the title on streaming games service OnLive.
That the code had been included was only revealed by Square Enix on Tuesday – the same day the title arrived on the US High Street.
As revealed last week, GameStop is itself preparing to launch a streaming games service in 2012. The move is no doubt designed to pre-empt a possible future shift from boxed games retail to a wholly digital model.
And clearly, promoting a rival’s streaming games service does not fall into this strategy.
An email sent to GameStop staff obtained by Ars Technica reads: "Please immediately remove and discard the OnLive coupon from all regular PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
"Our desire is to not have this coupon go to any customers after this announcement."
A spokesperson for the chain added that: "Square Enix packed the competitor’s coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull these coupons."
The news comes amidst ongoing rumours that UK retail is growing increasingly uncomfortable about selling PC games that integrate Valve’s Steam functionality.