It’s been a long time coming, but Valve has updated the terms of its Steam digital distribution platform to allow gamers to return games they don’t want. There are some conditions that must be met: the games can’t have been played for more than two hours and they must have been purchased within two weeks of the refund date, but this does at least mean that those duped by trailers or promotions can get their money back on bad games.
Better yet, the refund policy applies to DLC too, so any additional content purchased can be returned if gamers aren’t happy with how it looks or behaves in-game. The same can be said for in-game purchases, though the refund period is much shorter: 48 hours. Enabling those sorts of money-back guarantees will be at the discretion of the developer too.
Certain items that are not eligible for refunds include games purchased outside of Steam, games where the owner has been VAC banned, movies and gift purchases.
However as good for the consumer as this news is, and potentially industry changing in that developers may better focus on the opening experience of a game, some have expressed concerns that it could unfairly penalise shorter games, or indie titles with limited content, since buyers could return them after completion.
Similarly so, games that don’t use Valve’s DRM – in order to ingratiate themselves with customers – could see nefarious individuals buy the game, copy the data to another directory and then request a refund. People may also earn and sell trading cards on those games before getting a refund, which could drop the overall worth of the cards and depending on the game, potentially make it profitable to refund titles.
Reviews may also be skewed by those that have already received a refund for a game. Review bombing could take place now without people even having to pony up the cash to do so, according to RPS.
If you want a refund on a game, head to Steam’s help section and login.
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KitGuru Says: Clearly it’s good for the consumer that Valve is now offering refunds, and I hope it makes developers more honest with their trailers and other marketing materials, but do you think the system as it is is too exploitable?