There was some hoopla over a guy named Ryan Hupp selling a used copy of The Evil Within 2 on Amazon as a “new” copy of the game. It had not been opened, but the warranty had been removed. Bethesda had a legal firm, Vorys, to block Hupp from selling the used copy as a “new” game because he wasn’t an authorized reseller nor had any distribution clout with Bethesda.
According to Eurogamer, VP of marketing, Pete Hines, claims that Bethesda isn’t trying to stop used games from being sold, but they also don’t want individual proprietors selling used games that are labeled as “new”, which typically means they’re factory sealed and unopened.
“He’s not trying to sell a secondhand game, he’s trying to sell a new game. He was listing the product as if it was new. All we’re saying is if it’s a previously owned product, you have to sell it as a previously owned product – you cannot represent it’s new because we have no way to verify what you’re selling actually is new.
“You could have opened it up, played it for five hours, taken whatever inserts or stuff was in there, put it back in shrink wrap and said, ‘Hey this is new.’ It’s not new – you owned it, you bought it, so just list it as a used title. That’s it, that’s the end of the argument.
“We’re not trying to stop anybody from selling used games. People sell used games all the time – we understand that, we’re not trying to stop that.”
Hines attempts to explain that Bethesda was using this legal strong-arming to prevent people like Rupp from selling used games with the label “new”.
So why Rupp? And why target a small reseller simply wanting to get rid of a copy of The Evil Within 2 that wasn’t even unwrapped? Well, Hines explains that there are expectations that come with labeling a game as “new” when, in fact, it is not new, telling Eurogamer…
“[Rupp], specifically, was trying to list it as a new product as if he was GameStop or Best Buy… He’s not a company, he’s not a distributor… and we don’t want our customers buying stuff from a vendor like Amazon where they think they’re buying a new product and suddenly finding out they got a disc that’s been played, somebody kicked across the floor and scratched and ‘oh they took out the insert that had the special items I was supposed to get for buying this’.”
Below the article, commenters noted that it shouldn’t be Bethesda’s job to curate the resellers market, as that’s the duty of the platform holders such as eBay and Amazon.
Others defended Bethesda’s rebartative tendencies to police used game sales by stating that if someone buy’s a copy of a game that’s labeled as “new” and then calls up Bethesda because it doesn’t work or the disc is scratched, Bethesda shouldn’t be liable for making amends for a used game reseller claiming that the game was “new” when it wasn’t.
A few rebuffed the notion that Bethesda should be monitoring game sales, even if they are mislabeled as “new”, and that the company should contact the platform holders instead of using legal muscle to get their way.
Hines, however, stated that the move was to deter people from listing games as “new” so that Bethesda isn’t held responsible for used game or secondhand sales, saying…
“We are not trying to stop anybody selling a used game, we would never try and stop anybody from selling a used game,” he reiterated. “We do have an issue with people representing they are selling a new copy of the game when we have no ability to tell it is actually new, so we aren’t going to allow somebody to say ‘this is new’.
“If you want to sell your copy of the game, it’s ‘pre-owned’. You can’t say that it’s new because I have no way to verify that, and ultimately that person is our customer we have to deal with and if there’s stuff missing or things that have happened we’re the ones that are going to have to make it right.”
This sort of move didn’t sit well with most gamers, and while some understood where Bethesda was coming from, many disagreed with their litigious methods for resolving the issue.
(Main image courtesy of Enzo)