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Steam just changed its refund policy, but it shouldn’t affect you too much – unless you were gaming the system

Valve clearly wants to keep up with the growing trend of games charging extra money to let players in early.

Steam’s refund policy remains the best in the industry, and today, Valve made a small change to how it considers a certain tier of games. In recent years, more and more major releases have started allowing customers to play early.

Usually, this window is two to four days, and players get it by buying (or upgrading to) a deluxe, ultimate or other kinds of more expensive editions. Previously, however, Steam’s refund policy did not consider this - until now.

In a very brief note posted to Steam, Valve said that playtime accrued during those ‘advanced access’ periods will now count towards the Steam refund policy (two-hour) period. In other words, if you pay for the deluxe edition of a game and decide you want to later refund it, you won’t be able to after playing more than two hours.

You can still request a refund, of course, but the automated, easy refund system available for games you played under two hours would be out of the question at that point. Previously, some players took advantage of that limitation to play the games for longer, and request a refund once they’ve been officially released.

As with any other game, of course, if you never played the game, you can request a refund at any point prior to the start of the advanced access. Steam’s normal 14-day refund window does not start until the official release date, so that’s not changing.

This change is part of an attempt to keep up with the ever-evolving games industry. The trend of offering a few days of early access has been getting increasingly popular, with multiple major triple-A games including it as a bonus in their non-standard editions in recent years.

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