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Steam's Two-Hour Refund Policy Forces Horror Developer Into 'Indefinite' Absence

Summer of 58, released last month, has been well-reviewed on Steam, with an overall “Very Positive” rating and loads of fans leaving nice comments, giving particular praise to its atmosphere and jump scares. But as a short experience—it can be completed in around 90 minutes—that’s left the game vulnerable to Steam’s blanket two-hour refund policy.

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porkChop60d ago

This is the problem with Steam's refund policy. Personally, I think it should be based on how far you got in the game. Valve can see that someone has completed a game, they can also see the achievements a player has unlocked. If a player completes a game, or gets more than halfway through, they should not be allowed to refund it.

A lot of the smaller, cheap indie games can be completed in less than two hours. The refund policy cripples them. This developer didn't even make enough money to fund their next game, because people refunded after giving positive reviews. That's fucked up.

lovemetal62660d ago

You're either a console gamer or a complete idiot.

Kosic60d ago

Explain? Because I'm not seeing what you're seeing.

Bladesfist60d ago

I'm not sure if this is what lovemetal saw but a stereotype definitely exists of console gamers advocating for their console manufacturers interests against their own interests and another stereotype exists of PC Gamers bitching and moaning at every little thing a developer / publisher does that goes against their interests.

There is some truth to it, a lot of things that are okay in the console space wouldn't fly for PC Gamers, paying for online for example.

Flakegriffin59d ago

Well, we learned which one you are ;)

frostypants59d ago (Edited 59d ago )

Why is OP an idiot? Because you wouldn't be able to behave like an entitled leech?

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Vits59d ago

Refunds are processed automatically. So it is impossible to use a metric like "completion" to issue them. As it would cripple bigger games and make users vulnerable to shady developers with short games. Just think about it. A game like Civilization can take literally hundreds of hours to get to the "half". And a shady developer may put a "half complete flag" of their game in the first 5 minutes.

The only real solution for a game like this. Is to just not sell on Steam (or GOG, EGS and Origin as they have similar refund policies). Or just to paddle it with more content to make pass that 2h threshold.

Neonridr59d ago

if the game knows how long you've played they can also know if you "completed" it or not.

AlexMuncatchy59d ago

@Vits
That is the exception to the rule. I'd imagine most developers wouldn't implement such tricks.
You make it sound like the only "real" thing to do is to just....lie down and take it, and accept the 2 hour threshold as some wonderfully tried and tested metric.

Vits59d ago

@Neonridr

Is not a issue with the system finding out if you completed the game or not. Is the definition of completed that don't fit all games the same way.

@AlexMuncatchy

But that is not the exception to the rule. There a lot of PC games that would have the exactly same issue. The whole catalog from Paradox and Amplitude Studios for example by their own nature wouldn't work with the idea of "completion". Not alone at least.

I do agree that the 2 hours is not the best policy around though. As GOG's 30 days no question asked method is far better to me as a user. And if Steam where to implement something like that. They would have my complete support.

Bobertt59d ago (Edited 59d ago )

They can't do it based on progression because every game is different. 2 hours is nothing in an RPG and the policy works great fro most full length games. If anything they should just make a new category where the developer specify it's under 2 hours when trying to get it on the steam store and those games receive a shorter return time.

porkChop59d ago

"specify it's under 2 hours when trying to get it on the steam store and those games receive a shorter return time."

That could work, and I'd be fine with that. Something needs to be done because the current system is too easy to exploit.

Neonridr59d ago

100%, if you complete the game you shouldn't be able to refund it.

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GoodGuy0960d ago

Ooftah. If its only 90 mins then make it free and ask for donations. There are many other games that last much longer where that refund policy is greatly justified.

Christopher59d ago

Capitalism at its finest. If we don't want to pay for it, give it to us for free and then ask for donations from people because most of us definitely don't want to pay for it but want others to fund it so we can enjoy it.

Oschino190759d ago

Whoa there, you're gonna pull a muscle trying to stretch that far to blame this on Capitalism.

Capitalism - "Capitalism is often thought of as an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of society. The essential feature of capitalism is the motive to make a profit."

Christopher59d ago

Gives me the definition of capitalism while I'm responding to someone in a capitalistic market trying to tell a person selling a good on how they shouldn't make money off it but through donations and not sales.

This is like those posts of people quoting how socialism destroys stuff while showing that same stuff destroyed in a capitalist nation. I think you don't understand what capitalism has turned into here.

Chevalier59d ago

That's like saying work for free our start up company hasn't made a profit yet. How would donations keep food on the people working for you? Good thing you don't run a studio because it's guaranteed you'd be out of business by your 1st release

Rachel_Alucard60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

I just glanced through all 322 reviews. She's exaggerating heavily here, about 4 out of 322 of them are marked with product refunded and only a single one was a positive review. Beyond that, the vast majority were over the 2 hour limit or just under it. According to the dev herself, she states that the developer themself has their own report on refunds and she claims that 70% said the game is short, passed and returned the game. Which seems off to me because it is statistically impossible with the info presented and considering the game's highest peak was 93 players. Even if there were 6000 players it is statistically impossible for 70% of them to refund it unless it was some organized key reselling by scammers like what happened with Division 2 on EGS. Regardless, the issue here is that these people who refunded it, most likely never would have bought it if there was no such refund system in place. This whole thing comes off as some attempt to start clout to snowball at Steam. Already I see 3 threads on the discussion area of the game on Steam just dogpiling Valve or the customerbase. This is not the first time this has happened nor will it be the last time and it's not uncommon especially if you glance at some of these indie devs twitter accounts.

One interesting piece of info I noticed is a week ago, the game had about 50K+ twitch viewers watching streamers play the game, but it dropped off and it never translated into actual sales. I don't know if that has something to do with this but it's convenient timing.

Neonridr59d ago

no doubt people can see let's plays of these types of games and basically feel like they've played the game by watching it.

Rachel_Alucard59d ago

That's one thing too. Walking simulators are essentially beaten by watching someone else play them, especially if its linear and gives off no different experience from player to player. No different from touring through hogwarts on the Harry potter DVDs.

MocBistro60d ago

Stop making stupid indie games then.

JustTheFax59d ago

haha yeah it seems ridiculously lazy to make a game that can be beaten in less than 2 hours unless it was like $2 or less.

Christopher59d ago

They are. Did you not read the tweet?

Also, time equates to quality now? Interesting.

Soldierone59d ago

Depends on price. If this game cost any more than maybe 30 dollars I'd want more than 90 minutes. A film is normally 1 to 2 hours and costs only 15.

Christopher59d ago

***Depends on price. If this game cost any more than maybe 30 dollars I'd want more than 90 minutes. A film is normally 1 to 2 hours and costs only 15.***

His game was $10.

BrockEmSockEm60d ago

Jeez, AND it's on sale currently. AND whatever the dev makes is minus 30% to Steam. I've started the developer a GoFundMe and will try to contact them directly through their twitter if it gets any donations.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/...

Angelin60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

Hmm, what can the developer do with only 1000$?
Don’t get me wrong, the gesture us nice but depending on location, cost of living, etc, 1000$ are covering one month of expenses.

Edit: i see the developer is located in Russia, so maybe 1,5 - 2 months of expenses.

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