Steam Refunds

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Steam Refunds

Postby amv2k9 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:23 pm

Valve recently implemented refunds to Steam, allowing consumers to return bought games within two weeks of original purchase and as long as they've spent less than two hours playing. In addition, the policy does not extend to DLC/microtransactions, and games that are part of a bundle cannot be returned individually; the whole bundle must be returned.

Unsurprisingly, some developers are already speaking out about the practice, voicing concerns that this will be abused in regard to games that can conceivably be beaten in <2 hours. Valve claims that they will be tracking abuses of the system.

TotalBiscuit made a video that goes into depth regarding the limited and possibly misleading sales data some devs have offered to back up their claims, and the responses of other developers:
Last edited by amv2k9 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Nash » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:26 pm

Good! I hope developers stop making crappy non-tested unfinished games because of this.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Dancso » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:44 pm

I like this aswell.
I'm honestly shocked that devs actually speak up so loudly about this.

The only real problem I'd see is with short games (<2 or just slightly above 2 hours of content), but even then I'm not sure if many people would bother to wait several days just to get their 3 dollars back.
I've always been very conscious of my work so I may have been influenced to put on an extra level of polish into my game because of this :P
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Project Dark Fox » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:25 pm

It can indeed be abused. And I'm not even talking about < 2hr games.

Steam does not track your gameplay hours when you are off of the internet. (PDF does not condone cheating your gameplay hours in this way. Please don't do that if you are even THINKING about abusing the system. In fact, please, just don't abuse the system.)
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Reactor » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:19 pm

2 hours play at least? Whehehehe, seeing that today's single player games hardly guarantee 2 hours of gameplay, that's a very generous offer :D

I'm glad they gave up this "modders selling mods for cash" thingy.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Nems » Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:51 am

Reactor wrote:I'm glad they gave up this "modders selling mods for cash" thingy.


I have a feeling they haven't gave it up, just working on trying to spin it and reintroduce it in such a way that the internet isn't going to come for their heads immediately after being announced.

I mean, don't get me wrong: refunds are certainly a step in the right direction to gain consumer trust. However, it's one of many steps they need to take. Speaking personally, Valve/Steam still have a ways to go before I feel ready to give them cash for any game in the library using Steam Workshop. I quickly took Shadow Warrior 2 off of my wishlist when I saw that the game will incorporate Steam Workshop. I didn't -want- to do that. However, as far as I'm concerned (unless either a developer comes right out and says they won't allow mods for their game to be monetized or Valve/Steam comes up with a less bullshit way of monetizing mods), any game that utilizes Steam Workshop has the potential to be abused by paid mods.

Yes, I realize I probably sound like Enjay about this issue. Honestly though, I take that as a compliment after April's massive goatfuck. :P
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby jpalomo » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:17 am

This can easily be abused. You could buy Doom, copy the iwad to a separate directory to use in a source port, then request a refund. I don't endorse piracy, so don't actually do that. There is also the issue of trading cards which i think the video posted earlier mentions (people can actually MAKE money by buying, playing, then refunding games).
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Dancso » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:17 am

jpalomo wrote:You could buy Doom, copy the iwad to a separate directory to use in a source port, then request a refund

True, but Doom is one of few games that could be abused like that. Most games are also protected by DRM, so there's that too.

Besides, if someone wants to pirate a game, there's far easier ways than waiting several days for your money to get refunded, not to mention risking your steam account's good standing if they do sniff out you've been abusing the system.
The cards issue they definitely should address, one logical solution would be to disable their acquisition until you're no longer eligible for a refund. Not that anyone is getting rich from a few 5 penny cards though.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby CorSair » Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:17 am

Regarding refund abuse: There are always, and I emphasize ALWAYS freeloaders around. This is not limited to games only. Pirates gonna pirate, scammers develop new ways to get their "rightful" money back.

This refund system could potentially weed out scams and hacks, and in some sense, it is good way to test games, since there are not that many games that put trial versions or demos around, and we are at the mercy of trailers. The only bad thing I get is that scamming is easier in this system. But I think this will just spike for few weeks. And I think Valve will get their shit together with their refund system.

One thing I heard about is that the refund you get goes directly to your Steam wallet, dunno how good or bad thing it is. I presume Steam doesn't lose much on refunds with this way?

Oh and those devs who complain the refund system... Call me naive, but if your game is good enough for its worth, and if it has replay value to the boot, why you should be afraid of refunds? If you are afraid on about what I posted first, you can't do a jack shit for that. Freeloaders exists. The end. If its off from your bank account... Well, too bad, but someone makes dosh and someone doesn't. But if you can't make game work properly on your end, and that person can't be arsed to fix their problem or are simply out of luck with their hardware, I doubt many of them ain't gonna hold onto a game that won't start properly or has critical bugs. As for not liking the game... Now, we came into grey territory. Can't comment on that for much, since taste varies on each person, but if your refund is on and only about for political statement of the dev, I doubt you are going to get that refund any time.

Personally, I believe this is just minority of indie devs that complain about this, and I believe they are some people with too much ego to shut up.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Hellser » Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:21 am

Nash wrote:Good! I hope developers stop making crappy non-tested unfinished games because of this.


I'm with Nash on this one. Sure, the system can be abused. But surely Steam/Valve has a way to detect that this or that person has bought so many games and yet has refunded them all. That's not what we should be worrying about. What we should be worrying about is shit games getting through Greenlight. It's possible, behind the scenes, that a famous YouTuber could've been given money. This famous YouTuber reviews the game in a positive light and now everyone in the world wants to play this game. All they need to do is spend one hour and a half playing it before going ".. this game is shit", give it an honest (negative) review on the game's page before getting their refund. The YouTuber looks bad, the game looks bad.. and the game developers who in the first place released the said shit game won't get any money. So they can't abuse the Greenlight system.

Without this refund system, the developers will get the money and proceed to make more shit games and rinse and repeat through Greenlight. Everyone but the end user (us) will be happy. I want this system to stay. Valve isn't EA. Valve has humans behind their desks. Sure, the pay mods was a terrible idea. Valve canned that. Greenlight had a mixed review. But it did introduced SOME good games.. and that's what this refund system is about; bringing those GOOD GAMES to light and not hidden amongst piles of Unity-made/Unity-asset games. Where as EA wouldn't care less and deny refunds and ban accounts (I believe SimCity 5 suffered from this). As I said before. Yes, this can be abused. But I believe the good outweighs the evil in this case.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Reactor » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:56 am

Exploiters gonna exploit (haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate). If there would not be any refund policy, a great number of worthless maggots would deliberately create crappy games or mods or outright sell someone else's work as own (Michael Hardy, anyone?). We already have tons of shitty games, thanks to the likes of Shitty Interactive, we don't need more. If there is refund, of course many scumbags will see this as a ripe opportunity to refund their games once they completed them. It's a 22 bullet trap.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Marisa Kirisame » Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:01 pm

I bought the metro redux bundle a while ago and moments after installing it, asked for a refund. Why? Because I expected a non-half-assed Linux port this time, but instead got the same exact issues as in the original metro: last light. I made it VERY CLEAR on the refund note what exactly is the problem, and how it could be solved, but who knows if they'll ever read those.

It's very important to have such a system indeed, developers need to know and FEEL the consequences of an unhappy playerbase.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby amv2k9 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:58 pm

Project Dark Fox wrote:Steam does not track your gameplay hours when you are off of the internet.
...Which leads me to believe Valve will, assuming it's possible, implement offline playtime tracking into Steamworks. Which will have the added benefit at least from Valve's perspective of goading an even higher percentage of games on Steam into using Steamworks, all without ever explicitly requiring that your game use Steamworks.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby Reactor » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:30 pm

It is possible, by installing a program that turns itself on when you run the game's main executable, but I'm not sure it can be so sophiscated that it could track the player's every movement. In other words, if you run the game, and leave it in the main menu for 2 hours without actually playing, then going out with your friends to take a drink of beer or two, the program will most likely treat it as playtime.
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Re: Steam Refunds

Postby SyntherAugustus » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:36 pm

I refunded Homeworld Remastered (full price back from release) and got DCS World addons from the Steam Sale from it. The system works!

It's too bad about HW though. From a Supcom/Total Annihilation perspective, the remake was buggy and 10 steps backwards.
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