Microsoft Flight Simulator’s prolonged download and install process won’t cheat you out of requesting a Steam refund.
When Microsoft Flight Simulator released earlier this week, it quickly became clear that its separate launcher could cause some problems. Flight Simulator has its own launcher that runs after you start it, and it’s what handles updating, installing and the initial download.
This approach, while irritating, is familiar to PC players. Many MMOs do this for various reasons, but it’s particularly frustrating when you play those games through Steam, because it means you’ll have to launch the game anytime you want to update to the latest version.
This also creates a different problem, which is what players have brought to Valve’s attention this week. By default, all Steam customers can refund any of their new purchases, so long as the game or app has been used for less than two hours. Unfortunately, Steam often considers any time spent with the game launcher open to be play time.
In other words, by simply leaving the Microsoft Flight Simulator launcher running to download or update, you’re accruing game time, which some worried would disqualify them from being able to request a refund despite not having actually played the game.
The good news is that Valve has confirmed to PC Gamer that the time spent with the launcher running won’t eat into your actual game time, so you should be able to request an automatic refund as long as it’s been done before reaching the two-hour mark.
“The time it takes your machine to download the additional content will not be counted against the Steam refund policy,” said Valve. “We are working with Microsoft to see if we can improve the download experience.”
It’s worth noting that what’s happening isn’t the result of some wide-spread problem with the game. Microsoft Flight Simulator has been widely praised by critics, including our own Alex Donaldson, who called it “a remarkable release fit for seasoned pilots and beginners alike”, this was simply concern for players.