Steam Early Access lets developers sell games before they've been completed to help fund their development. If these games are never finished, though, you won't be able to get a refund.
Good luck getting that to fly in court. If you charge for a product or service and do not deliver you are liable. The only way around it is if consumers are informed and mark that they agree to those terms.
Expect exactly that to be in the fine print that nobody reads because it's 26 pages of legal mumbo jumbo.
I dont think it matters regardless in the EU but I cant be sure. Say what you want about being the EU but on top of the UK consumer laws we are well looked after.
Steam gets a cut of the transaction, in that they're the service it's delivered through. However, it's the developer/publisher that's charging for the actual Early Access game. If that developer or publisher suddenly cancels it, it's on them. Their refunds for pre-orders before the release (aka before you get any content), or incorrect transactions, are through them, and they usually do refund. That's the legal ground I think they can stand on. It's on the publisher to keep that game going, not Steam. Early Access is a really slippery, wibbly-wobbly, weird thing that, just like Kickstarter, puts you at the mercy of a company who hasn't finished stuff yet and may outright fail. That company SHOULD refund you if they fail, but that money might be tough to find. Steam ain't the FDIC - they can't pick up after someone else's snafu, but to me, offering Early Access was the mistake. It's not reliable stuff. Although... what could you do? Minecraft did that well and ethically-priced for years, and you're not going to reject the next Minecraft because that full experience isn't out of beta yet. It's a rough topic.
I thought kickstarter was a pledge until the product passes a certain point, then you pay. If it cancels or fails, do you lose out or get refunds?
@NukaCola: But multiple projects have gotten funded (some beyond even their wildest imaginings) and then later had to sheepishly admit that they needed additional funding from private investors, due to running out of money. What happens when there's no private investor, and you don't see anything at the end? Nothing happens. You're out of luck.
You agree to the clause when you sign up to steam. That's how they set the rules. The court would most likely be on their side.
Early access to me implies it isnt a finished product. I've always been under the impression that my early access dollars are basically just kick-starter funds anyway.
This is a very complicated concept for people to grasp.
But don't you get your money back if a kickstarter doesn't go ahead? It's a little bit different a kick starter is to start a product. EA already have the product but unfinished. You buy a product that you believe will be finished and that developer takes your money and has the money to finish the product and doesn't then that's wrong.
This should require a refund more so than the idiot mouth breathers that think they should get refunds if a kickstarter fails....That is investing this is at the very least purchasing an item
Lets see how many people try to take them to court..
I really hate to say this, but there should be some consumer protection laws for this type of case. Had I known that I was taking a chance, I wouldn't!
Been saying the same thing for a while, trouble is if Congress isn't more concerned with shutting down the games industry in support of their own political agenda, they acting in favor of companies.
"Had I known that" I think EARLY ACCESS is a pretty big hint on it's own just with the name alone. Not all projects are completed, same with Kickstarter. STEAM gives the option to fund these early-betas through EARLY ACCESS, but in no way are you being guaranteed anything. Wait for the release or take the risk. Why should a company have to carry the burden of a failed project when they are only a platform that carries these devs, many for the greater good. EDIT: And I agree with what many here say: The devs should have to refund the players IF a full game was promised, but anything in development (!!!) can fall out due to lack of funds or creative differences. If a game cancels and never makes it past Alpha, then you paid for the right to play that Alpha, you gor something for your money. Ideally, games should be completed, but game development just does not work like that.
If you go just by the name EARLY ACCESS then what you would expect is early access to the game. Now it the title was something like Early Access to Alpha then I would agree with you.
No there really shouldn't. Now you know you are taking a chance, though you probably should have from the start, so now you can avoid it. Those who get it, shouldn't be "Protected" because of the idiots who just don't get it. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move right along.
Well it would be pretty f'd up if Valve had to refund a game like DayZ that is $30 (?) with 1 million sales and growing. Smart move, for them at least, though they need to make sure they have it in their terms and clearly state it to the buyer, or big problems could arise. I really wish early access would stay under the radar, because it could potentially give a game that turns out great a bad name due to early impressions. DayZ and Minecraft (probably some others) prove how effective impressions and discussions can really effect sales.
Yeah and any game that gets canned and leaves a player's library will also cause a major ruckus like that one game that Square Enix squelched from Steam's library.
The developers of the project should offer the refunds since the funds are going towards their game
Exactly this. If they arent doing this they are running away with the money
And if they use it all developing the game (as intended) then have some sort of catastrophe, what then? Send an already destroyed developer further into debt? We're talking about your $15 and their entire business. Sorry, I see nothing "fair" about it.
Consumers don't need laws for protection, they need to use their heads and think things through BEFORE spending anything on something, the usual "Shut up and take my money" isn't a smart thing to do anymore... maybe back in the 90s but not now... just think twice who you're giving money to.
Why should they? It'll be in the fine print and if the devs go under who's going to reimburse you, Valve? That'll mean one thing, no more green light. I'd rather risk a few £££ and support the smaller dev.
Wholeheartedly agree with you. The chances of this happening, I'm sure, is rare enough. So, if it happens to the one out of "insert number here" games I purchase Early Access from, I will be more upset that a small studio collapsed than losing my money. Most Early Access games are sub-$20. OH NOES!!!
It's just like Kickstarter, you are investing in an idea. If their plan to make money fails or is too little and they lose control, thats what you risk. However on Kickstarter they clearly state this, so Valve better do the same.
How many of you pre-order digital content that far in advance? It's not like they'll run out. I guess if they offered some boss pre-order bonuses, but most of the time they offer that right up to the launch date.
It's not a pre-order, you are investing in a game to be made with this. A pre-order is through the store and is used to purchase copies of the game, if those copies don't arrive, the store gives the money back. In this case you are not investing in the store, you are investing in the game. That money is spent to develop the game, it isn't saved. If they use the money and still run out, there is nothing there for them to refund. This is why its a contract between you and them, however according to the terms they are not required to refund anything.
Good, I'd be the same. You paid for what you get and also Valve got it right too with their advice.
What's to complain about? One should know the risk playing early access games. Pretty f'ing obvious, damn people, try thinking, just a little bit.
Fine with me. I have several Early Access games and I knew very well that they my not finish the game. I also didn't purchase the expensive Early Access titles. Too much money. But its okay, I'll just wait until its NOT expensive and buy it then. The power of choice is great, really. WARNING!! If you brain can't process the idea of Early Access STAY AWAY FROM IT. It's on YOU, when you buy those games.
Expect more people making early access games. This is perfect for those who just want to make easy money and get away with it.
It's people's fault buying early access games in the first place. "oh but I can't wait to play it! It looks really good! I want to support it!".
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