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.
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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