Why It Matters: Digital downloads have been selling physical games for years, but for many console owners, the second-hand market offers a way to trade stocks that they no longer discount on something new. At the weekend, it looked like Bethesda was trying to stop this practice, but the company has now made it clear that the problem was beyond the language of the listing.
The story began when Vorys, the law firm representing Bethesda, sent a letter to Ryan Hupp informing him that his attempt to sell a sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 on the Amazon Marketplace was "unlawful " be.
Polygon that he had bought the game the way he expected to buy a PlayStation 4, but decided instead to use the money reasonably for improving his gaming PC. As such, he tried to sell the game on the Amazon Marketplace, which he often uses.
Vorys argued that Hupp was "not an authorized reseller," and because it did not include the original warranty, the game was "materially different from real products" sold through official channels.
"Unless you remove all Bethesda products from your store front, immediately sell all Bethesda products, and identify all sources of Bethesda products you sell, we intend to file a lawsuit against you," the letter said ,
Attempting to prevent someone from reselling a game, understandably, led to a consumer backlash against Bethesda. Pete Hines, the company's senior vice president of global marketing and communications, gave a statement to Eurogamer at QuakeCon
Hines said the problem was a matter of wording. Hupp described the game as "new" on Amazon Marketplace, something Bethesda says is false advertising. "He's not trying to sell a second-hand game, he's trying to sell a new game," he said to Robert Purchase of Eurogamer. "He's listed the product as if it were new. All we're saying is, if it's an earlier product, you have to sell it as an earlier product – you can not rephrase it because we have no way "The sale is actually new."
"You could have opened it, played it for five hours, put everything in it or whatever else was in it, put it back in the shrink wrap and said, Hey, that's it "It's not new – you bought it, you bought it, so just list it as a used title, that's the end of the argument," Hines added.
Hines stressed that Bethesda is not trying to deter the resellers from playing games. There will be nothing against anyone doing this – as long as they include the word "used" in their record. But there are many copies of The Evil Within 2 – and other games – which are described as new on eBay. We'll have to wait and see if Bethesda decides to threaten her with a lawsuit.