[Updated] Did OnLive coupon dustup earn gamer good will?

OnLive may have earned itself some points with skeptical gamers after a controversy involving retailer GameStop and a coupon for Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

GameStop's decision to remove an OnLive coupon from Deus Ex: Human Revolution may have backfired.
GameStop's decision to remove an OnLive coupon from Deus Ex: Human Revolution may have backfired. Eidos Montreal/Square Enix

Update: Joystiq reports that GameStop is now offering a $50 store credit and a two-for-one used game offer for customers affected by the Deus Ex: Human Revolution coupon controversy.

Before this week, if you mentioned OnLive's cloud-gaming service to dedicated gamers, you'd hear lots of skepticism. Whether it's doubts about OnLive's responsiveness or reservations about the absence of a local copy of games that have been paid for, OnLive has met with plenty of consumer resistance (although we like it) since it emerged in 2009.

This past week, though, OnLive seems to have earned itself some good will. At the start of the week, gamers discovered a coupon for a free OnLive version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in their boxed copies of the game's PC version. Putting the service, and a copy of a well-received fan favorite game, in the hands of gamers who risk nothing by giving OnLive a spin can only help win fans.

Then, a few days into the week, news broke that retailer GameStop was pulling the OnLive coupon from its Deus Ex copies on the grounds that OnLive is a competitor to GameStop's own forthcoming streaming service, due to hit beta later this year. That move, of course, met with outrage from the gaming community.

We suspect the ire directed at GameStop is a combination of gamers feeling like something has been taken from them, as well as good old-fashioned raging against a monolithic retailer. Either way, OnLive (along with Square Enix, publisher of Deus Ex), is now the beneficiary of the collective sympathies of an audience that previously regarded the service with skepticism.

For proof of this support, we submit 19 pages worth of comments on the GameSpot news post, and multiple threads on Reddit, including this one with more than 2,500 comments.

Will this new OnLive protectionism translate to new paying customers? Who knows. It's also interesting that GameStop didn't take action against the fact that Deus Ex also requires that you install Valve's Steam game retailing software for copy protection. If nothing else, it's clear that OnLive has GameStop feeling defensive.