Is Bethesda Trying To Stop People From Selling Used Games?


Bethesda might be cracking down on online merchants who sell reused games, a new report by Polygon has now revealed.

For those who are not aware, Selling used titles are completely legal and are protected by something called the First Sale Doctrine, which enables the distribution chain of certain copyrighted products.

Why Gamers Sell Their Used Games

As the publication notes, many gamers sell their games, which they do for a number of reasons, one of which is that they could be finished with a game that is only meant to be played in one playthrough. A more common reason, though, is that they could be trying to save up toward buying a new title.

The reselling practice has been a big part of the video game businesses since time immemorial, so much so that half of the profits earned by huge retailer GameStop come from selling used games.

However, Bethesda might seek to end the practice altogether. The company recently sent out a notice to at least one reseller on Amazon who was trying to sell a used copy of The Evil Within 2. Bethesda demanded that the seller should remove the listing, and noted that it is sending similar notices to multiple merchants.

The seller, Ryan Hupp, told Polygon that he purchased the game but never took it out of its original wrapping. He had been planning to get a PlayStation 4 but instead, spent that money to upgrade a gaming PC. Hupp is no stranger to selling things online, as he often sells used goods on Amazon Marketplace.

Bethesda's legal firm then sent Hupp a letter demanding for the game to be taken down, along with a threat of legal action if he did not comply. The firm argued that Hupp's sale was not "by an authorized reseller" and was therefore "unlawful."

Hupp complied but reminded the firm that resale of used goods is completely legal, mentioning the First Sale Doctrine. The letter, however, claims that Hupp's sale is not protected by that law as he is not selling the game in its original form, which would include a warranty.

Is Reselling Games Bad?

Bethesda has yet to comment on the story, but if it is indeed cracking down on all resellers, then it is essentially trying to put a stop to a practice that has been going on for a long time, and to an extent, has been keeping the video game industry afloat.

"I understand the legal arguments Bethesda are relying on, and accept that they have some legitimate interest in determining how their products are sold at retail," said Hupp, "but threatening individual customers with lawsuits for selling games they own is a massive overreach."

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