I can’t pretend to be on the front line of this story. This broke over the weekend on Polygon, where it was reported that an individual, Ryan Hupp, had received a letter stating that Bethesda would be seeking legal action over his sale of The Evil Within 2. His infraction?

The copy he was trying to sell was unopened, so he was was selling it as a new game. That seems rather straightforward, right? He never opened the game and never played it, but Bethesda is bent out of shape over the fact that Hupp isn’t an “authorized reseller”. Pete Hines himself had something to say about the issue, explaining that there’s no way to verify that Hupp never opened the game and played it before selling it again as 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 added. 

-Eurogamer

I find this statement to be rather interesting, considering my experience in game sales. More specifically, my experience working at GameStop.

New, “New”, And Pre-Owned

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had new releases of games arrive at my store, snugly wrapped in their cellophane, and needed to get a display copy out on the floor. It should be obvious that we didn’t put out sealed cases… Loss prevention and all that, you know. Since we never received enough display cases or case inserts to show that we had a game in stock, we had to open up at least one new game for every release. We slapped a price sticker on the case, took out the inserts and the game disk, and put the empty case out on the shelf.

If we ran low on our stock of games, we would end up needed to sell that opened copy… as a new game; at full price.

What you may not know is that there’s a perk of working at GameStop that allows employees to borrow games by signing them out. However, you aren’t restricted to only borrowing used games, you can borrow brand new games as well.

That’s right. If you’re an employee at GameStop, you can sign out a brand new game, the day of release, take it home and play it. What’s great for GameStop is that they can still file the disk back into the case and sell that game to a customer as a new copy. Hell, my store still had an old vacuum sealer with rolls of cellophane in the back that previous store leaders used to reseal game cases.

Remember that quote from Pete Hines?

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,

GameStop employees routinely open up and play brand new games, only to sell them later as new copies, yet do you see Bethesda suing GameStop? Bethesda threatened Hupp for attempting to sell a brand new, unopened game as new, yet GameStop allows their employees to open games and play them, then turn around and sell them as if they were brand new.

Funnily enough, Hines tried to make the connection that Hupp “…was trying to list it [The Evil Within 2] as a new product as if he was GameStop or Best Buy…” I’d say that if it’s okay for GameStop to open up games and sell them as new still, it should be alright for a person to sell a game that was never opened or played as new. Let me go one step further and say that if Bethesda wants to pick this hill to die on, they need to crack down on GameStop over their practices.

I sense a disconnect in logic here. Pete Hines’ argument makes no sense, but it appears that Bethesda’s stance on selling games as new doesn’t apply to big companies, only the folks they know they can push around.

In your opinion, is Bethesda within their rights to sue, or are they giving special consideration? Is GameStop’s game borrowing policy applicable in this situation?


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Posted by Shelby "Falcon509" Steiner

I'm just a gamer that enjoys talking about my hobbies. I do a little more than that too. I love cooking, grilling, being outdoors, going target shooting, etc.

8 Comments

  1. Bethesda is in a tight spot right now imo. I think Pete Hines is playing damage control because their legal team got overzealous (again) and tried to sue someone else. It makes Bethesda as a company look really bad and most people can’t separate them from the developers that make their games. They’re totally different. I think the situation as a whole sucks and I learned something today. I had no idea that Gamestop was doing crap like that. I’m glad I rarely ever shop there and when I do it’s for something like a micro sd for my Switch…

    Part of me thinks this was Zenimax’s doing again.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. I can see that. I know that Bethesda isn’t the worst games company on Earth, and they likely have their hands tied by their legal team or publisher. Still, I think Hines’ statement just made things worse.

      As for the GameStop thing, it’s been going on for some time. Some stores might not do it, but I always felt sleazy about selling someone a “new” game that has been opened and played. Not really new at that point honestly, but I don’t see Bethesda, Zenimax, or their legal counsel making a stink about it either. Only jumping on the little guys.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Pete Hines didn’t make anything better, but what exactly was he supposed to do? He’s most likely legally obligated to play face and cover their asses. It’s not a job I would want.

        Gamestop is shady as hell. When I buy a new game I expect it to be new. I’m glad I download all of my games with the exception of a few games that I like to have physical like Pokemon and Fire Emblem.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

  2. I have an article like this being published on Monday.

    This is a dangerous precent and I worry that this might start something if they end up doing this. Whose to say that companies like EA or Ubisoft won’t start sueing people if they want to resell a game that they haven’t opened.

    Bethesda should probalby rethink this.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. I knew Gamestop was doing stuff like that, which is why I aimed for the used because to me they all feel used. Or if I got new, it had to be wrapped.

    I think Bethesda is in the wrong on this. And as to why could be a long thing so I am going to leave it as is. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. I never felt right about the way we sold new games, but I still can’t understand why GameStop gets a pass when everyone else is subject to rules.

      Like

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      1. I can see why it feels weird/wrong. I still think it is off. T.T

        Like

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  4. My gut reaction is Bethesda is being ridiculous. I’m a bit too tired and brain foggy to fully explain why, but it sounds like the argument I heard years ago about how gamers don’t really “own” games; they’re just licensing a product. With things being more digital, I think we’re going to see more of this.

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