Eurogamer’s Robert Purchase spoke with Pete Hines about their decision to pursue legal action against people reselling games. Go read Purchase’s article and come back.
While I agree that it’s difficult to tell if a “sealed” copy of anything actually contains what it says, or is something that just weighs the same, I found this part of Hines’ argument particularly telling:
“He, specifically, was trying to list it as a new product as if he was GameStop or Best Buy… He’s not a company, he’s not a distributor…”
To Pete Hines you’re not allowed to sell something as new unless you’re part of an incorporated legal entity.
Last week I bought some electronics from a person off of Craigslist, they were selling it as “new” because it was still sealed. When I met the seller I had them open it up before buying it because you do need to be able to tell that it isn’t a box with a brick in it.
That is a legitimate concern, and I’m not sure how you resolve that question over an online purchase, but it isn’t really up to a the original software developer or publisher to police that. If they are going to do that, you would hope that they have a very strong argument against the individual seller.
Hines is quoted as saying:
“…we don’t want our customers buying stuff from a vendor like Amazon where they think they’re buying a new product and suddenly finding out they got a disc that’s been played, somebody kicked across the floor and scratched and ‘oh they took out the insert that had the special items I was supposed to get for buying this’.”
Hines never makes any statement that the original seller, Hupp, was actually selling a resealed product as new, but he sure does love to speculate that this is what is happening. This is an incredibly flimsy excuse to approve the legal threats against Hupp, and it absolutely isn’t the same argument that his lawyers are using. Their argument is all about a bogus missing warranty.
Even if they’re successful in their pursuit of shutting the practice down, you don’t need to be a lawyer to smell the stench from Maryland. This is about locking out individuals from doing what they want with the things they purchase, not protecting anyone from buying a resealed game.