A bit of controversy sprang up over the weekend when reports started rolling out about a guy who was threatened with a lawsuit by Bethesda for trying to sell a video game online. Bethesda has since chimed in, explaining that it was basically the description of the game being sold that they had an issue with.
He was told he has to sell it used. That's it. He can't represent it's new. It could be shrink-wrapped again. We don't want people trying to pass something off as new that we can't be sure is new.
The above quote comes from a tweet from Pete Hines, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Bethesda. It was made in response to a comment accusing Bethesda of threatening a lawsuit against a guy who was trying to sell a copy of The Evil Within 2 on Amazon. This particular line of questioning came from a recent video posted by Jim Sterling concerning the matter. Hines claims the video was a "complete misrepresentation of what happened."
Sterling's video was just one of many reports that stemmed from this incident over the weekend and, according to Hines, not enough attention has been paid to the details. Polygon's story on the matter, for instance, states two updates have been made to their own reporting. The first states that the headline and the content of the article were changed to make it clear that the game was technically not used, but also technically not new. The second notes that a comment from Bethesda has now been included. We can't be sure of what the initial story stated since those changes are not made clear within the body of the story itself but, since this article seems to be the source of Bethesda's trouble, we assume some details were lacking.
Based on what we're seeing, folks seem to be lashing out at Bethesda for blocking the sale of a used video game. According to Bethesda and outlined in their threat of a lawsuit on the seller in question, the issue had nothing to do with the game itself and everything to do with the fact that it was listed as a "new" copy of The Evil Within 2.
The guy apparently purchased the game, never opened it and decided to sell it online. Happens all the time, right? But, rather than simply stating that it was "never opened" or "still sealed" in the description, the item was listed as a brand new copy of The Evil Within 2.
While anyone can re-sell their games, the issue comes from the fact that this was being presented as a "new" game. We realize that seems like a silly distinction, but you can't sell a game as new unless you are licensed/approved to do so. As Bethesda argues, we have to assume this guy is telling the truth and didn't just re-wrap it himself, which is not an assumption they want to rely on. If it's sold as new and it turns out not to be, that can turn into a headache for Bethesda when it comes to warranties and whatnot.
In other words, even if this copy of the game was never opened, Bethesda wanted the seller to make it clear it was previously owned. There's probably a better way of going about this but, since they have to likely handle these situations on a daily basis, we're not sure if they can be blamed for a form letter that didn't state their case super well.