Retail Deus Ex HR Coming With OnLive Code

It's weird that Ubi doesn't just use this for all their games.

Update: This astonishing story on Ars reveals that GameStop – the US’s largest games retailer – is having staff remove the vouchers because it competes with their own online service, Impulse.

Apparently people still sometimes buy games in shops! Imagine that. And if you do that with the US retail version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, according to VG247 you’ll get a code to play the game via OnLive. That’s the service that lets you stream the game via your internets, so it’ll play on any machine with a decent connection. It’s an interesting inclusion. And makes me wonder – have you tried OnLive, or any similar service yet? What have your experiences been?


  1. Jumwa says:

    Interesting twist. Though in my neck of Canada we’d need an actual store that sells PC games to try it out.

    • Shodex says:

      I went to Zellers yesterday and got my hands on a copy of Fallout 1 & 2. These weird brand spankin’ new copies. I passed by the electronics section on the way to the shoes section and saw them.
      I didn’t leave there with any shoes.
      Retail PC gaming is a strange thing.

  2. Dana says:

    Isnt it available only in US ?

    • Dana says:

      I meant the Onlive service, not the promotion itself :D

    • RaveTurned says:

      OnLive cloud gaming service to launch in UK on 22 September

      Edit: Or I could link to their actual UK site, which says much the same.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      No, it has been in Europe for more than one year (for testing, but worked normally at first). But then they have disabled their european server(s), so people were forced to connect to the US centers, and then disabled access to non-Usans. As far as I know it doesn’t work now, though it is supposed to run again in couple of months. Even when the ping was OK the graphics were pretty shitty (due to compression), and the lag was there, so I wouldn’t recommend it for serious players. But it would be a good way to “demo” play the games, even if somewhat costly. Due to their current policy it’s is only a curiosity now, not an alternative. Unless you live in the US, but that’s a minority of gamers.

  3. Stellar Duck says:

    So, wait. Let me get this straight. You’d have to buy the game AND pay the 10$ sub for OnLive?

    That seems… a bit much.

    • wccrawford says:

      I’m pretty sure that the $10 is a monthly fee for access to a certain games catalog, and that the games you buy can be played on without that subscription.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      OnLive accounts are free? The subscription cost is if you want that playpack of theirs, which I assume you don’t need if you have a separate code for a game.

    • non_player says:

      No Sub for OnLive unless you pay for the entirely separate monthly service. I don’t think this is required for this offer.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I thought they dropped the sub? I’ve never payed them a dime and as of the FEAR 3 launch my account still worked…

      Anyway, if you have a fast enough internet connection, you’re close to their servers, and you aren’t playing anything too twitchy, the service works fine. Not something I use much, and at lower speeds like mine it looks terribly compressed.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      In that case, it seems more reasonable. Thanks for clearing that up. I could just have sworn that it said on PC Gamer that it was the case.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      It used to be the case, but they dropped the fee several months ago.

  4. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Played the 30 free minutes of red faction armageddon. I have a pretty good internet connection, and the game was playable, but the input lag is very noticeable and the graphics were not on max, shall we say. (It also doesn’t look bad in the way low graphics settings look bad, but bad the way low quality video looks bad, which feels quite uncomfortable for gaming.) Works fine with slower games – I’d gladly play turn based strategy that way, for example – but twitch-based fps and tps is a struggle. I tried a bit of AvP too and that was not very fun with the mouse lag.

    I like the approach of playing 30 minutes of the game for free. You can also play 30 minutes again, and again, with all your progress removed of course. It’s something that steam should have. For me personally I can see it as a way to try out games I might buy, but since I have a computer that makes them much more good-looking it won’t be a primary platform for many a year. Also the mouse lag.

    • Ertard says:

      Exactly my experience, except I’d be a bit more colorful: it looked like absolute shit.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Post-Internet Syndrome says:
      I like the approach of playing 30 minutes of the game for free… It’s something that steam should have.

      This is actually a great idea, but I highly doubt it’s possible because of piracy : (

    • LionsPhil says:

      Unfortunately, the types of games that have time or “instance”-limited demos, rather than conventional content-limited ones, are also the types where being able to use that time/instances over and over again would probably actually be largely a substitute for the full game, since they have little in the way of progress to lose from continual resets. Anything PopCap, Audiosurf, Beat Hazard, that kind of thing.

    • LostViking says:

      @KenTWOu says:
      08/24/2011 at 17:30
      This is actually a great idea, but I highly doubt it’s possible because of piracy : (

      Every single PC game worth playing is cracked allready (even Settlers 7 which was supposed to stop piracy with its annoying online DRM). I don’t see why 30 minute demos would make a difference?

    • Tei says:

      Steam already have “Free play week-end” for a lot of games.

      Downloading 20GB to play 30 min don’t make sense. For Steam what make sense is free weekends, and these already exists.

  5. non_player says:

    As a huge fan of pretty much all gaming, I love OnLive. It’s not as good, graphically, as my gaming PC, but the microconsole and portability definitely have their perks. I find it’s great for games like Darksiders and Tomb Raider and such, although it needs some improvement in mouse input sensitivity before it can really appeal to the masses of FPS players out there.

    One of the big complaints I hear about OnLive from hardcore players, aside from the input lag, is how you don’t “own” your games – these complains coming from the same people who buy things on Steam and pump hundreds of dollars into MMOs. It’s amusing.

    Being such a fan of OnLive as I am, I’m sad I purchased Deus Ex on Steam, now. I prefer it on PC, yes, but I would also like a copy on my OnLive account, and it looks like Steam users aren’t getting this bonus. That’s a shame.

    • wccrawford says:

      I’m not a fan of OnLive yet, but it seems to me this would have been a good opportunity to really try it… Had I not bought from Steam.

      Maybe OnLive will realize this and take steps to include us.

    • non_player says:

      I think it would be an even sweeter deal if the code were included not in retail versions of the game per se, but instead with things like the Strategy Guide, or other sideline promo material.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      There’s a big freaking difference between technically not owning something because of EULA and really honestly having no control over anything because you never have direct access to the data.

    • Robin says:

      “It’s amusing.” – If you don’t understand how commercial transactions work I suppose.

      If Steam or any successor loses the license to sell a game (unlikely, but let’s assume we’re looking many years ahead) there are contingencies in place to allow me to still play the copy on my HDD.

      When OnLive drops a game from its catalogue it vanishes into the ether and you don’t get your money back.

  6. tenseiga says:

    Strange. What they are saying is the cost of buying the game and playing it on your hardware is the same as letting you play (what looks like , considering you bought the game) for as long as you like on a huge cost to the onlive guys. The natural choice if this becomes the norm is not to have dedicated gaming hardware but just use OnLive (assuming your internet can support it).

    • Baboonanza says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily count on the current fee structure remaining as it is. Clearly they are pricing low in order to build a market and IMO higher charges will be required at some point in the future if they want to make a profit.

      Like the recent Netflix streaming pricing, only OnLive have even high costs.

  7. Vinraith says:

    Ah, the future of always-online DRM. Joy.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      You do realize you’re play the game from their servers, eh? Just how would you expect to play from their servers “offline”?

    • Vinraith says:

      You wouldn’t. You can’t. It’s completely uncrackable, always-online DRM where the publisher remains 100% total content control at all times. If it’s successful, why would any publisher ever release a game any other way?

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      “If it’s successful”? It already is. And would you look at that, they’re still selling games on retail.

      This is a completely different type of service aiming to have “cloud gaming” for people without a great computer. It’s obvious you need an internet connection, so I really don’t get your sky-is-falling conspiracies that if Onlive is successful that it’ll end gaming as we know it. By your logic I can say every single multiplayer game should go die in a fire because it’s got that “wretched always-on DRM”, completely ignoring the fact that the game has to be online at all times for a reason.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Pointless Puppies

      What if OnLive becomes a requirement to play games, like Steam is a requirement fro DE:HR? Change is happening slowly – Steamworks DRM is becoming more popular slowly. Why not expect the same from OnLive?

    • non_player says:

      *dons tinfoil hat and eats some popcorn*

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      If it’s successful, why would any publisher ever release a game any other way?

      Cost. OnLive has to be ridiculously expensive compared to the MMO model, what with running the whole game, using the GPU, *and* encoding the video to transmit to the user. MMOs are just as effective as DRM, and they provide a non-laggy user experience with better graphics.

      The Diablo 3 model is the way forward. Much cheaper. And with AWS, even indies can do it easily. Mwhaha, etc, ha.

    • Pointless Puppies says:


      Why would OnLive ever gain that kind of dominance? It’s completely illogical to think that a service so heavily reliant on a very good internet connection (that a whole lot of people don’t have) is ever going to supplant Steam as the de-facto digital distribution platform (and Valve letting it happen). It only happened with Steam because it was the only digital distribution platform that gave a damn nearly a decade ago. With practically no meaningful competition, the market was there for the taking.

      OnLive is a niche service for a subset of gamers, and it’s serving that niche pretty well. Why, then, are people so insistent of saying it’s TEH WORK OF SATAN instead of recognizing it for what it is?

    • Kaira- says:

      @Pointless Puppies

      I’m not saying it’s a work of Satan or anything evil in itself – it’s a service, and clear one about that as compared to some else services. However, I am quite concerned about how it will take off, since if it gains dominance, why wouldn’t companies start using it for DRM, especially when in the future Internet will be more far-spread? It doesn’t take much to establish a firm foothold for this service – one hugely anticipated and hyped game exclusive to the service, and there you go.

      I’m not saying this will totally happen, but I am still concerned about it.

    • Pointless Puppies says:


      You’re still being needlessly concerned. You present a pretty far-fetched scenario of OnLive gaining so much market dominance that devs use that for its DRM instead, even though there are far more efficient ways of implementing such DRM in-house without having to rely on a cloud gaming service.

      We can easily have this fear of multiplayer games that by default require an online connection. They’re clearly dominant, so why is it that the vast majority of single player games can still be played offline? Them being dominant doesn’t mean they’ll automatically drive other models to extinction, in the same way that multiplayer games being dominant hasn’t resulted in always-online DRM for single player games everywhere (except for a few highly idiotic publishers like Ubisoft, but just look at how much hate they’re getting for it. It’s clearly not going to be “the wave of the future”).

      It’s simply far-fetched to speculate that a niche service will dominate over already established platforms that are more convenient for consumers, and the stipulations of said niche service (the stipulations being a constant internet connection) will be used maliciously used by publishers to ram always-on DRM down our throat in the distant future, hence being a reason to hate the niche service today. The leaps in logic required to make such a concern viable are just far too large.

    • Vinraith says:

      Fair point. I expect the cost of doing things like this is going to drop sharply over the next few decades, to be honest, but we’re far more likely to get saddled with the MMO model in the near term. All the same negative effects for the customer, but far less expensive for the publisher.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Fair point. I expect the cost of doing things like this is going to drop sharply over the next few decades

      But so will consumer hardware. In the mid-term future, probably 10-15 years, we’re going to reach a plateau where you can buy extremely powerful computers for not much money, and no gamer will want more. Consider 2001, where you maybe had a Pentium III with a GeForce 2 and paid $1500+ for it. Modern hardware is staggeringly powerful in comparison, and about half the price.

      There’s only so much a developer can possibly want to do with a game running on a monitor in front of you (ie, leaving out holodeck stuff), and except for silly things like attempting to simulate every atom in the universe, we’re going to be able to do it within the next couple decades.

      Honestly, I don’t see services like OnLive lasting very long. They don’t make much sense as a business in the longer term. The lag isn’t going away, even if everyone gets fiber and it’s only an extra 5-10ms.

    • Robin says:


      Conspiracy? OnLive are on record essentially saying that that’s the outcome they want (or more likely need) to happen for their business model to make sense.

      OnLive is criticised because while anyone with two braincells can see it’s never going to be a workable replacement for a local copy of a game (as well as being a horrific waste of bandwidth), publishers have shown in the past that they’ll hold developers’ work to ransom for the sake of fuckwitted DRM schemes.

      Losing even one game to Steve Perlman’s cock-eyed Lawnmower Man wank fantasy would be one too many.

    • Pointless Puppies says:


      Show me one CEO who says “we want to have a niche service”. Of course every CEO wants their product to be industry standard. It doesn’t change absolutely anything I’ve said before, because a CEO’s pipedream does not equate to reality.

      At any rate, I really doubt I can ram some sense into that rather thickened bone matter around your head. I’ve come to a conclusion that when it comes to OnLive, there’s a really weird sect that chooses to seethe openly any time that service’s name is muttered. I’m sorry, but attempting to discredit my claims that all these wild allegations are mere conspiracy theories with hateful spewing about “cock-eyed Lawnmower Man wank fantasies” doesn’t really help your case, you know.

  8. CommanderZx2 says:

    This is a really odd thing to bundle, because if you are buying it retail then you are most likely already confident that you can run it with your current hardware.

    Therefore anyone who buys this and decides to test the onlive service will find it an inferior experience to what they already got with their retail purchase!

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      The idea seems to be that you can use your OnLive copy as a secondary, for playing when not at home on your gaming computer. Sounds like a great idea, if they share the saves.

    • disperse says:

      They will almost certainly not share saves.

    • Dao Jones says:

      Correct, the shares are different. link to

      Though, this brings up a good point. My friend purchased Dirt 3 and no matter what he did, he could not get it to run. He tried every solution he could find online to no avail. If the game were to have come bundled with OnLive, he would at least have the ability to play the game, just not on his super duper computer which ironically, couldn’t even boot up the game.

      That’s something, right? :o

      Edit: Bollocks. Next post from Rirse says exactly what I said. Why must I be so impatient? :(

  9. Rirse says:

    Honestly not a bad idea. Buy the game and find out your PC can’t run it….that’s okay, just use the OnLive version until you can upgrade. Plus the game was Steamworks, so ultimately it’s win win.

  10. Loopy says:

    Don’t buy from Gamestop though:

    link to

    Apparently they don’t like the competition and are chucking out the coupons in all copies (allegedly)

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:


      They suck so much.

    • Loopy says:

      Even better, I just read from one commentator (called “dancingcrab”) over on PC Gamer that Gamestop is the only one stocking copies with the coupons in anyway:

      link to

    • CommanderZx2 says:

      Clearly that story about gamestop removing the coupons deserves more news coverage, as I can barely find it mentioned anywhere online.

    • Loopy says:

      It seems the news is slowly starting to filter out now: link to

      From 1up: “As outrageous as it sounds, a GameStop PR rep, Beth Sharum, confirmed that this was the case, telling GameSpy, “Square Enix packed the competitor’s coupon with our DXHR product without our prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons.”

      link to

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Joystiq is reporting it as well:

      link to

      I’m thinking this can’t possibly be legal, but given the OnLive hate in gamer circles I doubt anyone would actually complain.

    • CommanderZx2 says:

      Opening a sealed product and removing contents from it surely means that it can no longer be sold as new. Therefore anyone who has bought it from there should sue them for it.

      A class action suit for selling used products as new sounds like a great ideal.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      For what it’s worth, Gamestop left my Onlive code in the DVD case. Guess I just got lucky.

    • ZamFear says:

      Removing the coupons seems a bit petty, considering DX:HR requires steam, and therefore contains a competitor’s entire store.

    • Vagrant says:

      I’m sure they’re working on a way to bundle cracks to remove Steam from steamworks games as we speak.

    • Gundato says:

      I got my Augmented Edition from Amazon and have no code either. Wondering who I should contact (or if I even care enough to contact).

    • Baines says:

      CommanderZx2, Gamestop routinely opens games and sell them as “new”. About the only way you can guarantee getting a sealed copy of a game is to get it within the first week, before they take the time to take the discs out of the box.

      Mind, Gamestop also has been known to sell used games as new. I’ve known Gamestop employees who were told to take new games home and play them so that they could talk about the games in the store later. The copies they played were of course still sold as “new”.

      I’m pretty sure that at at least some stores if you sell a copy of a game that is in good enough condition, that they might mark it as “new” (as they open new games anyway, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.)

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Ars Technica is (re)reporting it as well.

      link to

    • scubasteve says:

      I bought mine at gamestop yesterday and got the code. I guess they didn’t get the memo (or ignored it)

  11. Dominic White says:

    The thing that clever, nice people will do: Give their Onlive code to someone with a non-gaming-spec PC.

    Also, stop being such elitist jerks.

    On that note, I wish I had one such spare code to give to my girlfriend. Integrated graphics are the spawn of satan, but it’s what she’s stuck with.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It is not being an “elitist jerk” to not want a degraded gameplay experience entirely dependent on the whims of somebody’s else’s mainframe.

      Some of us still like the idea of personal computing.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      It is not being an “elitist jerk” to not want a degraded gameplay experience entirely dependent on the whims of somebody’s else’s mainframe.

      Some of us still like the idea of personal computing.

      Actually, your response is EXACTLY being an “elitist jerk” response.

    • urahara says:

      A reasonable complaint of cloud gaming and programs in general is if they were not build from scratch to be cloud based. Cloud based built programs are pretty damn quick…

      Think of it like the difference between a good console port (ie rebuilt for the PC), or a bad one (tutorials mentioning console buttons no button remapping etc)

    • Dominic White says:

      @LionsPhil – That’s great! So, give me £400 so I can get her a gaming-spec laptop, because I don’t have that kind of cash, and neither does she. Onlive provides a reasonable alternative to paying for expensive hardware. If you don’t like that, fine, but you really are being an elitist jerk.

  12. Hensler says:

    Tried playing Borderlands co-op with OnLive- way too much lag, even with a very broad broadband connection. But I can imagine it working fairly well for some offline RPGs, includes DE:HR.

  13. 8-bit says:

    to answer the question in the post, I tried onlive and it wasn’t bad considering I live in the UK and was using wireless at the time. don’t get me wrong there was a lot of lag but when the service comes over here I could see it working well, possibly as a good rental service for shorter 8 hour games.

  14. psyk says:

    Posting about and wanting a view on something that is basically an always on DRM system on the site where the commenter’s hatred for always online DRM burns O so bright. XD

    Am surprised most of the people who comment on this site can manage to view it at least once a day.

  15. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    My copy (from Wal-Mart) also came with a code for the “Explosive Mission Pack.” My internet connection is so abysmal where I live (rural North Carolina) that it was a challenge just to activate the game, so I can’t speak to the quality of this item until/unless I drag my desktop to someplace with a better option.

  16. Bilbo says:

    I’ve used it, the lag is very bad if you’re in the UK and trying to communicate with the US data centres. When it’s actually released over here I think it’ll be a reasonable substitute for a proper machine when out and about or travelling.

  17. scorcher24 says:

    Gamestop is removing those Codes:
    link to

    • psyk says:

      Is that an official onlive blog? If so people are paying these guys??????

      “Square Enix packed the competitor’s coupon with our Deus Ex: Human Revolution product without our
      prior knowledge and we did pull and discard these coupons,” Sharum said.”

      So onlive try and sneak a product on to the shelf gamestop catch them onlive cry like babies

    • Dionysus says:

      Sneak a product onto the shelves? This promotion is fully supported by at least the game publisher, and Gamestop should not control what’s in the box.

      (Not saying the allegation is true or not.)

    • Malkara says:

      Yeah, a multi-million dollar company couldn’t afford their own domain so they’re using a account.


      Here’s their real blog for those of you that aren’t gullible idiots.

    • Loopy says:

      Except nobody was actually gullible enough to believe that it was the official OnLive blog, despite what you say, and the story has turned out to be true anyway.

  18. Lucretious says:

    My experience with OnLive has been pretty awesome. All of have is a crummy old HP laptop, which isn’t much of a gaming rig. With Onlive, as long as I’m using an ethernet cable, new games all run pretty good for me. Even online multiplayer games. Not as good as a high-end PC, so I don’t think there much sense in the service if you have one, but its great for people in my situation.

  19. Shodex says:

    How does OnLive’s performance hold up during fancy games? Does the stream ever stutter, or does it have a delay?
    Also, whats the BandWidth intake like?
    Though, to stay on topic. That’s nice that they’re doing that, OnLive looks to have potential and it’s nice to see company’s sticking up for the underdogs.

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      @Shodex, The main thing you should look at at this point is the latency. The game stream sometimes reduces in quality when there isn’t enough bandwidth, but remain playable. But when the roundtrip to and from the server takes a long time, the input lag becomes very noticeable, very quickly.

  20. dr.castle says:

    “Apparently people still sometimes buy games in shops! Imagine that.”

    In the US at least, the cheapest way to get DX:HR (that I’m aware of) is to order it from amazon–$50, standard price, but with a $10 promotional credit, bringing it down to $40. The retail copy activates on steam, so there’s no reason to spend $10 more to get it digitally.

    Anyway, point is–in addition to being the cheapest way to get the game, the amazon retail copy comes with the OnLive insert, if you care about such things.

  21. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    OnLive does not compete with any other platform, simply because it is its own separate thing. You use OnLive when you have a killer connection but limited computing power. You use Impulse or Steam, when you have a killer connection AND a high amount of computing power.

    A desktop version still looks and feels better than the OnLive version, but there is something magical about playing a game with Complex 3D graphics on a simple laptop.

  22. Fox89 says:

    I’m surprised it’s legal for them to open games and take codes out. I assume it is as nobody is kicking up a fuss and threatening to take them to consumer standards.

  23. Larkington says:

    Apparently Gamestop is pulling DX:HR completely.

    link to

  24. donmilliken says:

    I honestly don’t know what GameStop are thinking, removing the OnLive codes. If GameStop wants to promote Impulse then instead of trying to sabotage a competitor’s promotion, they should take a note from OnLive’s book, maybe offer a free digital copies of games sold at GameStop if the game is also available on Impulse, something like that.

    They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this is bad publicity for GameStop. It makes them look cheap and petty and it needlessly pisses off customers, giving them no reason to choose Gamestop over one of the many other available outlets for this game.

    It’s not even like the free OnLive version of the you’ve already just bought matters so much, it’s the principle of the thing.

  25. Malkara says:

    They’ve now completely pulled the game from their shelves, according to Ars Technica.

  26. Dave L. says:

    Now that GameStop has pulled the PC version altogether, is it too much to hope that Squeenix will make the ‘GameStop Exclusive’ DLC mission available to everyone in NA free of charge?

    • diamondmx says:

      As much as I would love that – I suspect it is not possible due to their existing agreement with GS.

  27. Kenny says:

    I think this is a genious move. OnLive is shonky enough that very few people who have actually bought the game will opt to play the streaming version, so those people will give their OnLive code away to a friend. Those friends will check out the OnLive version, like the game but find it frustrating and be more likely to purchase the retail version.

  28. LLamaPie says:

    Just so you guys know the CEO of gamestop did some damage control with the PR disaster this caused him. The email I got since I bought retail:

    “Dear GameStop customer,

    Earlier this week, GameStop removed a competitor’s coupon from standard edition PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a recent release by Square Enix. We were not aware that the product box would contain this competitor’s offer. We regret the events surrounding this title release and that our customers were put in the middle of this issue between GameStop and Square Enix, the publisher of this game. And for this, we are truly sorry.

    For your inconvenience, we would like to offer you a free $50 GameStop gift card and a Buy 2 Get 1 Free pre-owned purchase. We want to earn back your trust and confidence in the GameStop experience. Please bring in this email and your store receipt or order confirmation from and present it to a Game Advisor.

    Paul Raines
    CEO, GameStop ”

    As you can see the game costs $50 and he’s giving everyone who bought it for PC a $50 gift card. That’s pretty damn generous.