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Steam now offers refunds for any game, within certain conditions

Hayden Dingman | June 3, 2015
Doesn't run on your machine? Didn't like it? Want to prove a point? Valve doesn't care. They'll give you a refund anyway, within reason.

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Most things I buy, I rest easy in the knowledge that if I don't like it, I can return it and get my money back. That new food processor I bought for Thanksgiving that broke on the first use? Returned. The headphones I received with a broken left ear? Returned. The monitor that showed up with not just a single dead pixel, but a whole dead zone? Yeah, definitely returned.

But video games have always operated in a different sphere--especially as we've moved forward into an all-digital era. You buy a game on Steam and can't play it, that's it. There's no recourse. Or there wasn't, until now.

Starting Tuesday, Steam is offering refunds on any title provided you meet the following conditions: You bought it within two weeks, and you've played it less than two hours. From the announcement:

"You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam--for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it.

It doesn't matter. Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we've described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we'll take a look.

You will be issued a full refund of your purchase within a week of approval. You will receive the refund in Steam Wallet funds or through the same payment method you used to make the purchase."

It sounds simple, right? And it is simple--maybe too much so.

See, in general this is an excellent move. With the death of the "game demo," PC gaming is a bit of a crapshoot. No matter how much you read, no matter how many YouTube videos you pore over, you don't know how your rig is going to run a game prior to buying it and launching it yourself. You just can't. There are too many variables at play.

And I can certainly understand feeling burned by a game. I didn't even buy Assassin's Creed Unity. I got it for review, and I still felt like I was owed some compensation for suffering through its early technical woes. Mortal Kombat X on PC is still a wreck two months after release. These things happen.

The problem is that Valve casts its net too wide. It snares certain edge cases that are now in danger of abuse--games/experiences that last less than two hours.

 

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