GameStop Can't Get Promised Preorders Bonuses To 'Enslaved' Players



GameStop dangled a comic book and t-shirt as incentives to get gamers to preorder Enslaved: Odyssey to the West during a promotional period, but when the game came out last week, the retailer couldn’t provide the goods.

Cheap Ass Gamer rounds up complaints from gamers who were burned by the screw-up.

Tiffany from Gaming Angels,who submitted the story to us, tracked down GameStop for comment and received the following revelations:

1.The manufacturer of the shirts and comics actually has not yet provided GameStop with the goods.

2.GameStop wants to get the items out, but until they actually have them…well, they can’t very well get them to everyone that pre-ordered.

3.The promotion itself was very vague. If you pre-ordered online (the only way to get in on the promo), but opted to pick up your copy of the game in-store, unfortunately, you might not get the items. It depends entirely on how many shirts and comics they get. There was no specification referring only to shipped items, however.

4.In the event that the item manufacturer flakes out completely, GameStop may be able to offer some kind of condolences, but we won’t know unless that happens.

If you’ve ever been burned by unfulfilled preorder swag, share your story.

(DEAD) TODAY (8/31) ONLY! Preorder Enslaved: Odyssey Get T-shirt and Comic Book [Cheap Ass Gamer via Gaming Angels]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Alvis says:

    GameStop is altering the deal. Pray we don’t alter it any further.

    • Dunkelzahn says:

      Am I the only one that can only think of Robot Chicken’s version of this?

      • intense_jack says:

        You must also ride this unicycle everywhere you go from now on. I have altered the deal, pray I don’t alter it further.

  2. Darrone says:

    Most of their pre-order swag is crap, and now they aren’t even delivering that crap.

  3. madmallard says:

    “Condolences?” no no, they mispelled that, right?

    It’s spelled “refund.”

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      Refund for what, exactly. No one paid a premium to receive the swag. Yeah, it sucks when the free swag doesn’t materialize, but was the free swag really swaying anyone who was on the fence about buying the game?

      If the swag made you buy the game, testify! (Not in the legal sense… I’m being dramatic.)

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Offer and consideration.

        They offered Enslaved: Odyssey, a comic book and at-shirt in consideration for my money.

        They failed to fulfill their part of the deal.

      • MercuryPDX says:

        I don’t think free schwag sways people whether or not to buy the game as it does WHERE they buy the game. If the choice is $59 for the just game or $59 for the game, comic book and T-shirt, I’d go for the schwag.

        • dbeahn says:


          I’m a deal seeker (shock, right? On this site?) so while good swag won’t make me buy I game I don’t want, I may well alter my choice of where I buy (and Gamestop is WAY down my list of places to buy games from) that game. “Free” with purchase is no free, it is part of a package deal, no matter the marketing speak used.

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          Again… refund for what? They should compensate you because you chose their store? Now if the game wasn’t available to you on the release date, then yes, a refund would be in order.

          • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

            Last I checked, when you promise something to get money- you generally have a legal obligation to provide it.

            If I buy a car that’s advertised as “Car+Lowjack at no extra charge” and then told, “Sorry, no Lowjack.” that’s what we here in consumerland call a bait-and-switch.

            It’s not “free”. They paid for it. Just because Gamestop chooses to price things differently, it doesn’t relieve them of their obligation. Unless you can find where it says, “While supplies last” somewhere on there.

            • yusefyk says:

              What you described is not a bait-and-switch, it’s simple fraud.

              Bait-and-switch is advertising for a particular product at an appealing price or high quality, then limiting sales of that product to push consumers to a higher-margin or lesser quality one.

              Because bait-and-switch is a legal term, you should learn what it means before trying to define it for others.

              • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

                Actually what you describe is a popular misconception of what a bait-and-switch is.


                “Likewise, advertising a sale while intending to stock a limited amount of, and thereby sell out, the loss-leading item advertised is legal in the United States. The purveyor can escape liability if they make clear in their advertisements that quantities of items for which a sale is offered are limited.”

                Do… do I gloat now?

            • All Work and Low Pay says:

              You have a contractual obligation to fill it when money is put down.*

              * While supplies last.

              Even if the “contract” is breached, the refund can easily be initiated by the consumer by saying: “Because you do not have the free pre-order incentives that swayed me to purchase this, I would like my pre-order deposit back.”

              Problem solved. Nothing stopping you from getting a “refund.”

          • Mephron says:

            If an extra payment is required for the swag, then that extra should be refunded.

            For example, on December 7, Gamestop will (like many other stores) be selling the new World of Warcraft expansion. If you pre-order a limited edition version instead of the standard version, and they do not have one for you, and you prepaid for the entire thing, then you should get the difference back.

            On the other hand, if the only reason you bought it from Gamestop is the exclusives, then that still might be something of a bait-and-switch, based on the fact that they advertised “get x with y”, then fail to deliver x. There should be some kind of compensation. However, in this situation as described, it should come from the game manufacturer for their inability to deliver the additional promotional material, not from Gamestop.

        • madmallard says:

          I dunno if you didn’t know this, but pre-ordering at Gamestop requires putting money down. Them accepting money is a contract to provide specified goods after time/date specified.

          Failure to provide means if the customer wants, they should get their money back. (if not, whatev, buy another game with the balance.)

          Gamestop only owes them what they paid in the first place, or what they promised in the first place.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    Sounds like a new age version of bait and switch, the bait and don’t deliver.

    • Cicadymn says:

      Bait and blame it on someone else.

      • Griking says:

        What if it isn’t their fault and they really never received the extras from the manufacturer?

        If the extras were that big a deal then just return the game for a refund. As long as the game hadn’t been opened it should be returnable for a full refund for at least two weeks.

        • Kibit says:

          Well… Game Stop has been known to open brand new games when you return them to make sure the game is inside and not give you the NIB price when you return it.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Good luck getting a refund on the game. Store credit is all you’ll get, if that.

    (btw, yay for the 4-hour Consumerist embargo being over. I was shaking without my late morning fix!)

    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

      It looks like Phil is the only one working this Columbus Day!

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Exactly what I was thinking. Do NYers get Flag Day off too?

    • tubedogg says:

      So long as you didn’t open it and you have your receipt, there’s no problem in returning it. If you knew you didn’t get the extras and opened it anyway, well, that’s your problem.

    • All Work and Low Pay says:

      Refunding what? Assuming you were upset enough to not purchase the game, I can talk from experience of having to work at the crap-fest of a company at one point that it is the companies policy to refund the money. If you purchased the item and then for some reason decided that it now matters that you didn’t get some free crap, then you can return it unopened and with a receipt in 30 days. 7 days at the least, depending on store manager or district managers preference for full cash back.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        They denied my g/f a return on the 7th day after purchase. I didn’t want to get too involved (she doesn’t like that) but I asked for a store credit which they offered. I knew it was bullshit, but as I said she wouldn’t have been happy if I argued with them for her.

        • All Work and Low Pay says:

          Was it unopened? Was it with receipt?

          If so you ask them to contact the district manager or to use their phone/ use your own cell in front of them to contact corporate. It’s obviously just some power hungry senior game adviser who doesn’t understand the refund policy.

  6. StuffThingsObjects says:

    Guess we should console them.

  7. dolemite says:


    “Hey, do you think you can do anything about the fact I won’t get my free items?”
    “I offer my condolences”.

    I think they mean to say: “If you preordered with us, whether online or in-store, and we don’t have the items available, we will ship them to you, free of charge when they do become available. In the meantime, enjoy the game.”

  8. psykomyko says:

    My local comic shop got the Enslaved promotional comic books published by Marvel, and was giving them away for free. It had a short prequel story to the game and some concept art. I didn’t think it was very good.

  9. MSUHitman says:

    Funny thing is, the comic was packaged with the game at KMart.

  10. Beeker26 says:

    This happens a lot with these kinds of promos. The publisher makes up the swag, the retailer promotes the swag, and then when the time comes for the customer to receive said swag there’s none to be had because the publisher hasn’t delivered them yet. The whole thing is kinda shady at best. No one in the industry really seems to care much about making sure the stuff they advertise is ready and available when it’s supposed to be.

  11. grucifer says:

    Why loan gamestop money through pre-orders with no ROI?

    Gamestop can have my money if and only if I can have my product that day… these “extras” certainly aren’t worth it most of the time.

    In this case they should offer refunds to anyone who pre-ordered with them.

    • Greyfox2401 says:

      they tried that with the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker by offering Ocarina of Time/Master Quest for free with preorder BEFORE the game came out so people would preorder Wind Waker just to get Ocarina of Time then cancel then do it again the next day.

      my local Game Crazy at the time was taking them in trade for 15 bucks apiece

  12. kingofmars says:

    A friend and I preordered a castlevania game for the DS, which came with some swag. I picked mine up at the store before he was able to, and I ended up getting the last preorder bonus. I always wondered how they run out of pre-order bonus swag? Afterall, they already know how many preorders there were!

    • outlulz says:

      That also happened to me, whichever Castlevania that was that came with the game case and stylus.

    • XTC46 says:

      They underorder swag becasue a common % of people wont pick up the preorder. So they save the money.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      This has happened to me, as well. It’s part of the reason I no longer bother with reserving games. There aren’t many titles I feel the need to get on day one, and I can’t recall a time in recent years when a store doesn’t have enough copies.

  13. apd09 says:

    GameStop Can’t Get Promised Preorders Bonuses To ‘Enslaved’ Players

    This made my head hurt. I don’t think that Preorders should be pluralized, “GameStop Can’t Get Promised Preorder Bonuses to ‘Enslaved’ Players” that sounds and reads so much better.

  14. Thebestdudeeverr says:

    Hopefully you paid with your credit card!

  15. agent 47 says:

    When Left 4 Dead came out, they had a promotion that knocked $5 off the game if you preordered. I had already preordered the game so I asked if I would get the $5 as well and they said that the price would be adjusted when I came to pick it up. When I picked it up, they said their computer wouldn’t let them do the discount. That was the last game I ever bought from Gamestop.

    • parliboy says:

      I’m surprised you bought that game from GameStop. The last time they didn’t have something in stock that I wanted, Best Buy in the same shopping center had copies.

      When Best Buy is where I’m going to for reliable shopping, due to your screw-up, you’re in trouble for my business.

    • chuckreis says:

      I quit shopping at Gamestop because of the way the way the manager of a local store treated customers during a day after Christmas sale. I had a giftcard to use so I used it (at a different location) and have not bought one thing since. I used to pay for their discount card and everything.

      Ebay has better prices for used games and new games can be bought most anywhere.

  16. SexCpotatoes says:


  17. bizsar says:

    Vote with your wallets people. Simply quit shopping at places like this, regardless of the SWAG they dangle in front of you like a carrot to a rabbitt. It’s really not worth it and we all know this place is questionable from the get-go.

  18. dangerp says:

    On an entirely unrelated note, has anyone else noticed that Phil is the only one posting for the last two days? Is everyone else at consumerist on vacation?

    • apd09 says:

      It was posted in response to other people say this a few times, remember it is Columbus Day today so most likely he is the only one there. No idea how long it takes to get something posted, but I am betting there are only a few other technical people working today because of the holiday.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        What holiday exactly? It’s freakin’ Columbus Day.

        • apd09 says:

          Well our Government still feels the need to celebrate the guy who came American and stole the land from the Native Americans while intentionally giving them infection diseases.

          Friday, January 1 New Year’s Day
          Monday, January 18 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
          Monday, February 15* Washington’s Birthday
          Monday, May 31 Memorial Day
          Monday, July 5** Independence Day
          Monday, September 6 Labor Day
          Monday, October 11 Columbus Day
          Thursday, November 11 Veterans Day
          Thursday, November 25 Thanksgiving Day
          Friday, December 24*** Christmas Day

  19. Powerlurker says:

    This is part of the reason why I’ve largely moved my gaming purchases to Amazon. They frequently sell the game for a few dollars below MSRP, they still get the preorder premiums, and the one time there was a screwup by the publisher, Amazon gave me a $20 gift code. Plus with my student account, I now get free 2-day shipping.

  20. Framling says:

    Had basically the same thing happen when we preordered Lego Batman from Gamestop. They promised us a Lego Batman keychain, they delivered a poster, we never went back.

  21. DJ Charlie says:

    NCSoft’s City of Heroes: Going Rogue was supposed to come with a mousepad and a few other items (exclusively at GameStop). Well, a lot of people pre-ordered, and when release day came around, the only way to get the mousepad was to BUY it separately at the counter for $5. Needless to say, neither the players nor the NCSoft folks were very pleased.

  22. kgmoome says:

    GameStop looks bad on their own, now this makes them look even worse.

    Hopefully they will do the right thing, whatever it is…

  23. JonStewartMill says:

    “Enslaved” — is that the name of the game or a terse description of GameStop customers?

  24. tidomonkey says:

    Why anyone preorders anything baffles me. Time and time again Gamestop and its competitors have shown that once they have your preorder, it means very little to them. Contractually they are under no obligation to give you anything other than a refund if they cannot provide the goods on release. Meanwhile, they have had your money for months. Interest on $60 for a few months doesn’t seem like much, but multiply that by thousands of preorders and it is significant.

    • tubedogg says:

      If you really think there’s more than a handful of people who put down the full purchase price on the game before it comes out…well you’ve never worked at GameStop.

      • tidomonkey says:

        Correct, I’ve never worked at Gamestop, but putting even $5 down that guarantees nothing is still silly to me.

        • Greyfox2401 says:

          if that were the case gamestop would lose because to be honest its well documented that gamestop prefers to sell used games because they only a small chunk of that new 60 dollar game as apposed to the used copy they sell for 55 which they get all of (a profit of near 30 dollars after 25 dollar trade in)

          but if your point is that there aren’t reasons to preorder because of short supply for AAA titles then your right. I think the only title in recent memorythat actually was hard to find for a while was Demon’s Soul but that was because it wasn’t expected to be a hit.

  25. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    This isn’t as bad as when the Buy More couldn’t deliver the new Spy Attack game on LAUNCH DAY!

  26. spmahn says:

    9 times out of 10, Gamestop will only get maybe 5 – 10 pre-order bonuses that get divied up amongst employees before they ever make it to the customers. Then when you ask about it, they hide behind the caveat of “Quantities are limited”. How are you going to prove they didn’t already give them all away?

  27. lostalaska says:

    I’m generally not a fan of Preordering. When I lived in a larger city (Phoenix AZ) I could always find a copy of the game I wanted within the first 3 stores I’d stop at. Now I’m living in Juneau, Alaska and we have a total of 3 stores that sell video games (Fred Meyer, Wallmart, Costco). I can still usually find the game I want at Fred Meyer or if worse comes to worse Wallmart.

    The preorder bonuses I generally don’t care about. The few I’ve gotten were usually DLC tie-ins and were utterly worthless as they should be. Any game developer worth a damn isn’t going to give out a preorder “bonus” DLC that will unabalance the game so instead you wind up with a special “helmet” or a new “outfit” these really don’t do anything to improve the game and generally are throw aways. I’m also not a fan generally of chotchkies

  28. johnva says:

    Frankly, when online downloads completely kill off the business model of stores like GameStop and Best Buy, it won’t be soon enough.

  29. drburk says:

    I pre-ordered windows 98 I was promised a good OS and didn’t get one.

  30. Voltanis says:

    I never received the messenger bag that was the pre-order bonus for Mirror’s Edge… some excuse about “limited quantities” and by that they meant all their employees snapped them up before the store opened.

    Yet another reason I will never spend another penny at LameStop.

  31. DanKelley98 says:

    And they said: “3.The promotion itself was very vague.”

    LOL. They actually said “don’t count on us”……

  32. RavenWarrior says:

    They have a sweet bag as a preorder gift with DJ Hero 2, but i don’t want the game and definitely don’t need the turntable in the package. I’m going to go there that morning, make sure I get my bag, then return the unopened game later on in the day, with some excuse like ‘someone else bought the game for me.’ None of my money stays theirs and I get a $45 bag for nothing.

  33. Greyfox2401 says:

    if you complain enough they might refund in cash, but if your already shopping at GameStop and the free stuff was really that important transfer your pre-order to another title and move on if you read the article without seeing “gamestop sucks” inbetween every word you’d read that it’s not gamestops fault and their working to fix the problem if it wasn’t gamestop you’d all bitch “fuckin’ amazon”

  34. Kid U says:

    This is partially why Kmart has become my store of choice for new release games. (Really?!?!?) Yes indeed, Kmart has been pushing a new set of deals on new release games, and they are pretty amazing. For example, I bought Halo: Reach on launch day and got (1) $25 off a 2nd game (SSFIV), and (2) a $25 off gaming coupon for later use. $60 game –> $50 in savings. I later used the $25 coupon on NBA 2K11 on its launch day, and got another gaming coupon, this time for $20.

    • dwtomek says:

      I was just about to mention this. I feel like I’m walking through some Post Apocalyptic nightmare from the moment I step inside, but my last 4 game purchases have effectively been 50% off. A fair trade in my book.

  35. Tzvi says:

    You must also wear these clown shoes and refer to yourself as Mary.

    I have altered the deal, pray I don’t alter it further.

  36. trechills says:

    same thing is happening right now with the preorder codes for Def Jam Rap Star,
    first of all the exclusive download tracks were supposed to be available on october 5th when the game was released,first you are diredcted to a gamestop page, then to a konami page, where you must register, then your told that the songs will not be available until 10/13/10,today, then when you go there today, same run around and your told it could be 6 more weeks, then your codes are denied.
    i called gamestop and bryce told me, that we are just the supplier of the game and they can not offer any assistance, its in konamis hands, bryce actually told me,”if you bought a computer from best buy and windows had a probelm you wouldnt call best buy would you?”, so when you call konami they tell you its gamestops fault they didnt give out the codes correctly. and ask you to submit a ticket with a picture of your preorder reciept!

  37. Alessar says:

    Once I pre-ordered the game Digital Devil Saga part 2 at GameStop. I was the only person to do so. When I went to pick it up I asked for my pre-order promo soundtrack. The guy at the counter said they got none. I said I pre-ordered way in advance and the manager even noted that. He unwrapped the reservation paper around the game and saw this big note from the manager that was on the other side. His co-worker gave him a shifty eye and said she was pretty sure that ONE copy had come in. A bead of sweat trickled down his brow. Obviously he helped himself to the swag but in this case there wasn’t any to spare. Fortunately for me, I suggested he call the next one to see if they could “spare” a bonus. I figured if he called and emphasized they’d run out it would be more likely they could part with one. Inexplicably, that store had no pre-orders but got 12 copies of the soundtrack so there was no problem, just a 5 minute drive on my part. But, it goes to show you that allocations aren’t always based on actual pre-order numbers (or they are from a date more than a month in advance of the game release) and employees often help themselves to the swag.

  38. supr says:

    The main problem with pre-order bonuses is that stores are told when they pre-order bonuses run out via internal email, but if they fail to removing merchandising that details the bonuses or effectively communicate that fact to customers, that leads to customers expecting a bonus when technically the period within which they could receive the bonus has already passed.

    In other circumstances, customers not receiving their bonuses was the result of stores being allocated the incorrect number of bonuses, but this is easily rectified by communicating with other stores and making arrangements with stores that have a surplus of bonuses.

    The rarest situation is when the bonuses aren’t received due to matters beyond the company’s control, such as the manufacturer of the bonus being late with their delivery.

  39. zeiche says:

    I was offered a refund of my pre-order because the pre-order bonus was AWOL. The refund process went so smoothly it seems this happens all the time. Looks like bait-and-switch.

    Should have purchased the game and taken them to small claims court for $12.