Bethesda recently came under scrutiny for its successful attempts to prevent the resale of an unused copy of The Evil Within 2 and has now explained why it took action against the seller.
It was reported over the weekend that Bethesda had contacted an individual who was trying to sell a sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 on Amazon and demanded that he remove the listing. The copy was unused and unopened, seller Ryan Hupp told Polygon in his initial correspondence about the situation, but Bethesda still asked him to take down the listing and remove all Bethesda games from his other Amazon listings under threat of legal action.
Bethesda's legal letter that came through its legal firm, Vorys, took issue with the game being labeled as "new." With Bethesda saying that it was "false advertising" to market it as such and that the game was different from a new copy since it didn't have a warranty included anymore, Hupp said that he understood Bethesda's legal standing but called the practice a "massive overreach."
"I understand the legal arguments Bethesda are relying on, and accept that they have some legitimate interest in determining how their products are sold at retail," Hupp told Polygon, "but threatening individual customers with lawsuits for selling games they own is a massive overreach."
While it was unclear at the time why Bethesda chose to single out Hupp's listing, Eurogamer spoke to Bethesda's Pete Hines at QuakeCon 2018 and asked for some more details. Hines answered to say that the issue was solely with the product being marketed as "new" when it was indeed a second-hand copy that someone had purchased and intended to resell. Hines said that even though it looked new, there could be changes made to it that buyers would be unaware of.
"He's not trying to sell a secondhand game, he's trying to sell a new game," he told Eurogamer. "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."
Hines stressed that Bethesda is not at all trying to stop people from selling used games, so long as they market it as such.