UPDATE: Amazon told PCMag it’s actually not going to require third-party dealers to secure company approval to sell used Nintendo games.
“Yesterday’s email was sent in error and all impacted listings were reinstated within hours,” a company spokesperson said in an email.
Amazon is now preventing third-party dealers from selling used Nintendo consoles and titles on its site without prior approval.
On Thursday, the company sent third-party sellers an email, saying they had to first receive Amazon’s authorization before selling used Nintendo products. “If you do not obtain approval, to sell these products prior to 2010-10-31, your listing for these products will be removed,” the email says, according to a seller who posted it on an Amazon forum.
Beau Honig, a video game seller on Amazon, told PCMag he also received the email, which he found very alarming. Each year, he sells an estimated 400 to 500 used Nintendo games over the e-commerce site. Now he’s unsure whether Amazon will let him continue selling the products. According to Honig, the email mentions nothing about which products must now undergo a review.
“They (Amazon) sent the email out, but gave no heads up,” he said. “It was ‘Oh, by the way, this is happening right now.’ They didn’t send any warning about protecting our assets. It’s been confusing for all the sellers.”
So far, Amazon hasn’t officially commented on the sudden change. But on the forums, sellers are speculating the tech giant is trying to crack down on counterfeit Nintendo games and hardware circulating on Amazon’s online marketplace.
Still, the policy change is set to disrupt the business of many third-party sellers who say they’ve been selling legitimate used Nintendo games on Amazon for years. Dealers say titles from older Nintendo consoles including the GameCube, Nintendo64, Super Nintendo and original NES, have all been caught up in this.
“Please for the love of god whoever is selling fakes just leave. You literally ruined thousands of peoples days I bet,” wrote one seller on the forum.
Honig, however, said he hasn’t encountered many counterfeit games over Amazon. He’s been selling on the site for the last eight to 10 years, and says it’s a vital marketplace to reach customers. The company also makes it easy to sell used games, and ship them out. “I basically send my merchandise to Amazon in one big box. I don’t have to do anything else. I just find (the games) and label them,” he said.
Used games are also priced significantly lower than new games, making them attractive to consumers on a budget. But the new policy from Amazon is stirring up fears it’ll be harder for Honig and other sellers to offer them over the e-commerce site.
“With the Christmas season coming, the timing was really terrible,” Honig added. “There needs to better communication. You can’t just hit us with something at the last second. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.”
Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it’s unclear if it requested that Amazon enforce the new policy. But in recent years, the Japanese video game maker has been filing lawsuits against the owners of websites that pirate retro Nintendo games, demanding they stop and pay millions in damages.
Currently, Amazon’s website is still full of listings for used Nintendo games. And according to third-party sellers, not every Nintendo product is being pulled. The change primarily affects games and hardware directly built by Nintendo. So used games from third-party game developers, such as Capcom or Activision, remain online for now.
However, Honig noted that the best selling used Nintendo games are often first-party titles. “So that includes your Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, things like that, which are extremely popular and I’ve sold quite a bit of,” he added.
Earlier this year, Amazon made a similar change concerning used Apple products. Only authorized third-party dealers can sell refurbished Apple gear on the site now, forcing many smaller, independent resellers to go to other platforms such as eBay to sell their recycled Apple hardware.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comment from a third-party seller on Amazon.