Steam’s new refund policy allows players to get their cash back within 14 days of purchase, as long as they haven’t played the game for more than to hours, which all sounds very reasonable. However, developers have shared data that paints a far more gloomy picture.
The refund policy is great news for consumers, but some smaller developers are questioning the move based on sales data.
Kotaku has collected a number of the dev’s data over on their site and refunds overall appear to have increased to between 30 and 70 per cent.
The graph above shows sales for Revenge of the Titans developer Puppy Games, while Qwiboo, developers of Beyond Gravity, have reported 72 per cent of purchases refunded in the last three days. Considering the game can completed in an hour, this obviously created concerns over whether the refund policy is already being abused.
Matt Gambell, the solo dev behind RPG Tycoon also chimed in over on Skatanic Studios blog, saying “Over the entirety of the 31 days of May, RPG Tycoon was refunded ONCE. In these first 7 days of June out of the 60 average units sold, over 20 of those have claimed a refund.”
He went on to say that “part of the problem [is there’s] no way of knowing WHY users have claimed a refund. There’s no communication with me as a developer.I have so many questions… Could it be that they were having technical issues? Is it something that could have been solved by talking to me? Did they ACTUALLY mistakenly buy 7 copies of the same game, is that even possible?”
It seems that some developers may turn to DRM to counter the possible issue of people copying games and then refunding them.
Bloody hell steam refund rate has gone from 0.09% to 17%. Methinks people are taking the piss. Here comes DRM again sadly…
— cliffski (@cliffski) June 7, 2015
Has everyone simultaneously decided to play silly buggers? Or are consumers being given the chance to vote with their wallets, and this is just the unfortunate outcome?
Let us know in the comments if you’ve taken advantage of the refund policy yet and what your thoughts on it are.