Used game sales have been a part of the video game industry since its inception, and they're what companies like GameStop have built their business on. Over the weekend, it looked as if Bethesda was trying to put a stop to this practice, but the company has now clarified that the issue was over the language used in the listing. In case you didn't follow the news, Philadelphia resident Ryan Hupp was attempting to sell his unopened copy of The Evil Within 2 on Amazon's marketplace when he was asked by Bethesda's legal firm, Vorys, to take down the listing or face serious consequences. According to Polygon, "He'd been expecting to purchase a PlayStation 4, but instead spent his money upgrading a gaming PC". However, Bethesda claimed that the sale would not be covered under the First Sale Doctrine because it would lack a warranty, making it "materially different from genuine products".
"Unless you remove all Bethesda products, from your storefront, stop selling any and all Bethesda products immediately and identify all sources of Bethesda products you are selling, we intend to file a lawsuit against you", the letter read.
Senior vice president of marketing and communications, Pete Hines defended Bethesda's decision in an interview with Eurogamer, further emphasising on the resale being listed as new.
Hines said the issue was a matter of wording. "We do have an issue with people representing they are selling a new copy of the game when we have no ability to tell its actually new, so we aren't going to allow somebody to say 'this is new'". Now it seems Bethesda is trying to block used game sales, at least when it pertains to one specific seller on Amazon.
"You owned it, you bought it, so just list it as a used title. That's it, that's the end of the argument", Hines added. He complied with the takedown request but, in a response to Vorys, pointed out that used game sales are protected in U.S. law by the "First Sale Doctrine".
In an email to Polygon, he said that while he understands that the company has an interest in how their products are sold, he thinks threatening individual consumers with lawsuits over selling their copies of games is "massive overreach". However, Bethesda probably went overboard with their reaction to the listing; perhaps a request to alter the listing to use the "pre-owned" description would have better.
The Evil Within 2 is the much anticipated and well-received sequel to The Evil Within, a survival horror game made by the same developer and director as the critically acclaimed Resident Evil series.