Steam broke its own concurrent user record over weekend with more than 7 million PC players playing numerous games on Valve’s platform. We could say that Steam dominates the PC world, but if they do not reconsider the refund policy the domination could fail very soon.
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How many of you play their games on Steam and have you ever purchased a game there that was unplayable or nothing like it was said to be? I know my disappointment with X Rebirth was huge, not that I ever thought of asking for a refund. Well even if I wanted to ask for it, I would never get it. Steam’s Refund Policy states they do not give refunds.
Valve’s domination is mostly due to its stability, good download rates, good games at good prices, and a Steam Greenlight feature where developers can apply for their game to be added to Steam. This is where Valve dominates over other platforms such as Origin an Uplay. There’s one area where Steam could start losing loyal players, and that is the Refund Policy.
The Refund Policy states you have no recourse to a refund, unless some very specific circumstances have occurred. “As with most software products, we do not offer refunds or exchanges on games, DLC or in-game items purchased on our website or through the Steam Client … An exception is made for games purchased during a pre-order period if the request is received prior to the games’ release date.”
EU players aren't able to invoke the Distance Selling regulations, according to the End User License Agreement (EULA) on Steam, once “performance of the services has commenced”. This is rather strange, as soon as you start downloading a game this rule will apply. It is not like you would know whether a game is full of bugs until you start playing it, or whether a game is as it was described.
You can read previews and reviews on other websites, but those are just someone’s opinions, sometimes you will agree with them and sometimes you won’t. It’s like when a friend tells you their new car is awesome and is so easy to drive it, but unless you drive that same car you won’t know whether you would have the same opinion.
I read a lot about X Rebirth before I decided to buy it, but it did not function as advertised. My disappointment and frustration made me uninstall the game after less than 10 hours of play. What if I wanted a refund for a game that wasn’t even playable due to so many bugs? Maybe I would got my refund, but how would I even apply for one? There’s no information on that matter. Do we just contact Steam’s support and hope for the best?!
There are rumors that Valve will allow one refund per account, but as I said those are just rumors for now.
In Steam wants to continue to dominate PC gaming world it has to reconsider the Refund Policy. Origin for example offer a full refund and from my experience user support is what matters the most.
Origin’s policy includes “Origin PC digital download refund: The Great Game Guarantee allows you to return EA digital game downloads (PC/Mac) purchased on Origin for a full refund within 24 hours after you first launch the game, within seven days from your date of purchase or within seven days from the game’s release date if you pre-purchased/pre-ordered, whichever comes first.” Still not perfect but miles better than Steam’s unclear policy where players don’t even know whether they can apply for a refund or not.
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.