Bethesda, which has a somewhat growing reputation for taking legal action was the center point of some interesting drama as of late. As QuakeCon 2018 was happening, the company’s third-party legal firm sent notices to multiple game sellers on Amazon asking them to take down their listings or face legal action. Ultimately, this confrontation came down to the language used by sellers, who were selling shrinkwrapped games and listing them as “new.”
Polygon broke this news, speaking to Ryan Hupp. Hupp was attempting to sell a copy of The Evil Within 2 he had bought, but never opened. Still in the shrinkwrap, he considered the game “new,” rather than “used.” Bethesda disagreed and argued that despite the game changing hands independently of a retailer, Bethesda is still responsible for its games. The logic follows that there’s no way to verify, in a general sense, if a game is truly “new” or not, meaning that someone could theoretically re-wrap a game then sell it as new without DLC codes or with damage.
The problem here is that since the game technically was new, the seller stood to eat a big loss on the secondhand market if he opted to list it as “used,” Bethesda suggested using “pre-owned” to avoid any further issues, and it sounds like the market in general may have to take a second look at the language used to determine the status of secondhand games, in order to make sure everyone involved is happy.