How Gamestop Lost My Business Over Twenty Bucks

The game Brett wanted for his computer is compatible with both Windows and MacOS, in theory. He went to GameStop to buy a physical copy, and learned that he had to buy it as a download instead. They sold him a download code and he went home to get his new game. That’s when he learned that GameStop’s Impulse download platform might sell Mac-compatible games, but the program itself is Windows-only. Brett wants to warn other gamers…and to vent.

I am a long time GameStop customer. I have patronized their company for close to 10 years, and being just a 20 year old, I have a lot more time and money to spend with them.

As I’m writing this, I still can’t believe it. I used to read the Consumerist and think “How can someone just stop going to a store over something so small?” But now, I completely understand.

I am a Mac (let the Windows/Mac debate begin). I take great pride in my personal computer. However, I also LOVE Windows and all things Microsoft. I grew up with Windows and never understood why Apple users felt so cut off from the rest of the gaming world. A recent trip and later chat with GameStop sure made me understand the difficulties of gaming with an Apple computer.

I went to a local GameStop (actually a couple) to purchase a PC game that is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X. GameStop, it seems, has deemed physical copies of PC games to be obsolete, which I can understand. I noticed a sign that said something along the lines of “Don’t see the game you want? Download your favorite PC games at *URL*!” Curious, I approached the sales associate, who was MORE than helpful, and he ordered the game for me, I paid, and I was given a receipt with a download code and instructions on the bottom.

I return home to redeem the game with the code I had. Following the instructions, I’m told to download a program known as Impulse in order to download the game itself. I go to the page on GameStop’s website, enter the code to download Impulse, only to download a .exe file (If you don’t know, .exe only works on Windows computers.).

Moderately peeved, I immediately sent an email to the support email address listed on the bottom of the receipt. Essentially, my email said “The game I purchased to download in store works for my Mac, but your program doesn’t. Is there anything that can be done?” Their reply, paraphrased, was “Sorry, you can’t download our games onto your Mac, and we can’t refund any money on downloaded games.”

This did upset me, but I decided to begin to think of ways around it. A day or so later, I came to the conclusion to give the code to a friend of mine so that he could enjoy the game, and I would purchase the physical copy whenever I had the funds in the future. I gave him the code and the instructions, but he was met with a page that said “Someone else has already claimed that code.” Now, I may have entered the code into their site in order to download a program, NOT install it, but I couldn’t even get to the part where I claimed the game in any form whatsoever.

Rather angry by now, I emailed GameStop once more. This time, I politely asked if there were some way for them to allow my friend to either use that code or cancel it and give him a new one. GameStop replied with the same schtick, “We are unable to refund your order blah blah blah…”

I sent a strongly worded email following that stating that if there was no way to fix this situation, they would be losing a long time customer. I’ve received no email from them since.

This game cost me $20. Sure, it’s not the largest amount of money, and it IS just a game, but I feel completely cheated. There was nothing in the store that told me that I would not be able to play a PC game on my PC just because it didn’t have Windows as its operating system. Their own website doesn’t even state that Impulse is only compatible with Windows. A quick Google search told me that I am not the first person to have been cheated out of their money from GameStop for this very same situation.

I guess what I want out of this is acknowledgement from GameStop that they are wrong and should be more vocal with their OS compatibility. Also, it’d be nice if this could serve as a warning to all Mac gamers out there. $20 wouldn’t hurt either😛

Update: We heard from a GameStop higher-up, who let us know that the employee who sold Brett that code wasn’t following policy.