Razer's new laptop shines; GameStop becomes source of controversy

Last week was an interesting one for the video game industry, as the news from the annual Penny Arcade Expo (PAX Prime) in Seattle was offset by a controversial decision from GameStop.

It may not bear E3’s longstanding moniker of “the industry’s most important event,” or even draw the numbers that conventions such as Comic-Con attract, but make no mistake the annual PAX Prime remains one of the largest shows dedicated solely to gamers.

Once again, more than 70,000 eager, and often costumed, fans descended upon the Washington State Convention Center over this past weekend to not only get their hands on some of the upcoming titles, but also to hear from industry insiders during the panel discussions offered throughout the three days of the show.

Coming out of this year’s event, San Diego-based Razer snatched up its share of headlines with the unveiling of the Razer Blade.

A first for a company best known for its high-end PC peripherals, this 0.88 inch thin laptop comes with an Intel Core i7 processor as well as a 17 inch LED display powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GT555M chip.

The laptop also features an aluminum chassis and weighs just less than 7 pounds.

However, the Razer Blade’s Switchblade User Interface is what really sets this PC apart.

The Switchblade User Interface is made up of 10 touch-sensitive LED keys, which can be mapped to in-game commands, above an LCD screen that doubles as a touchpad as well as an informational display when an external mouse is in use.

With an initial retail price of $2,800, the Razer Blade is slated for release sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

However, while the end of last week closed on a high, the week began on a decidedly sour note, as GameStop confirmed that they had instructed store employees to open all PC versions of Square Enix’s “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” and remove an offer from OnLive that would have given the purchaser a free digital copy of the game.

GameStop’s justification was that since OnLive was a competitor, they were not interested in promoting their service.

Naturally, that explanation fell flat with consumers, as most took issue with the company still choosing to sell copies of the game as new in spite of already being opened and resealed prior to sale.

In response, GameStop offered up $50 gift cards to customers in addition to a Buy Two, Get One Free offer, after they had completely removed the PC version of “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” from its store shelves.

The company also said in a letter, “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.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time GameStop has found itself explaining the sale of used games as new.

Prior to this incident, the company was similarly accused of repackaging games its employees had checked out before selling them again at full retail value to their customers.

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