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Steam’s 2-hour refund policy stops indie developers from developing games • Eurogamer.net

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This is why we don’t have good stuff.

A new debate broke out over Steam’s two-hour refund policy.

If you don’t know, Steam will offer a refund for all game purchases as long as you play for less than 2 hours and within 2 weeks of purchase. I have no questions.

This is a “professional consumer policy” (or a cost-effective way to reduce the number of customer service staff, depending on who you ask), and the 2-hour playtime threshold is an unreliable consumer. Is intended to prevent it from being abused.

However, while most AAA games easily exceed the length of two hours (see you, Assassin’s Creed Valhara), small indie games in short stories can be inadequate. This can lead to situations where the player can return the game within two hours of exiting the game.

This is exactly what Emika Games, an indie developer who recently released Summer of ’58, a psychological thriller with a very positive overall rating on Steam, is facing. Unfortunately, the game can be completed in about 90 minutes, leaving enough time for players to take advantage of Steam’s refund policy.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the developers said they were “quitting game development” and noted that they didn’t have enough income to develop more games due to the large refunds. ..

friend! Thank you for your support! I leave game development indefinitely to gather my thoughts. pic.twitter.com/q93NxWjyUI

— EMIKA_GAMES (@EmikaGames) August 26, 2021

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This is an unfortunate situation where consumer-friendly policies are harming developers who can hardly afford to lose sales. It’s also a difficult problem to fix.

Reducing the threshold from 2 hours only harms consumers who go through a very long AAA release. Steam may set individual policies for shorter indie games, which would require additional staff to ensure that the game is actually short. This is unlikely to be done by Valve. Another potential technical workaround is to use Steam achievements as a sign of game completion. The option to return the game may be removed if the player gets the final result to end the story.

A good balance between developer consumer rights and security How do you think this can be solved?

Sources

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2/ https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-08-27-steams-two-hour-refund-policy-leads-to-indie-developer-quitting-game-development

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