Bethesda Threatened Legal Action Against Someone Reselling a Video Game

It could set a bad legal precedent.

Bethesda Softworks

Game publishers tend to not be fans of used game sales as it cuts them out of any profits from the sale. In a confusing legal move, Bethesda Softworks took action against someone reselling an unopened game it published, which could set a bad legal precedent.

Amazon Marketplace seller Ryan Hupp had a sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 for sale on the site when he received a cease and desist letter from a law firm representing Bethesda according to a report from Polygon on Friday. The letter states Hupp was not an authorized reseller and could not legally sell a “new” copy of the game as described in his listing.

A representation of dealing with Bethesda's legal paperwork. 


The key point here is the usage of the term “new.” Hupp did not open the copy of The Evil With 2 thus selling it as new would be an accurate description since it was still unopened. However, Bethesda’s legal representation, Vorys, cited calling the game “new” would be false advertising. The reason? The game sold wouldn’t have a warranty.

In a video game’s instruction manual or on the backside of the cover is usually a warranty from the publisher that lasts from 30 to 90 days. Typically, this warranty covers the purchaser of the game from any manufacturer defects, which may cover a disc with no data or that doesn’t work properly in the system. For the most part, however, purchasers of a game will just return the item back to where they bought it in exchange for a new one.

Still, since these warranties start at the time of purchase, in this case when Hupp bought the game, then it’s likely the game’s warranty had expired. Thus, a case could be made that the game is not “new” even though it’s in the original packaging.

After receiving the letter, Hupp removed the listing for the game. Whether or not this will be a common practice by Bethesda remains to be seen. Some did remark that a way to circumvent this legal issue is to not use the word “new” when describing a sealed game, but rather describe it as “unopened.”

Although some gamers are not so keen on Bethesda with this news, there are many praising the company over the newest info from QuakeCon regarding its big game in 2018, Fallout 76.

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