Steam is undoubtedly the biggest online distributor for video games on the planet. It’s rather silly that, having this status, the Valve-owned service has never offered a way for disgruntled users to get a refund on bad purchases. Whether it be down to not meeting hardware specification, software incompatibilities or just personal taste, there was no way to reclaim badly spent cash. Until yesterday that is.
Steam has outlined, and subsequently implemented, a new system that will allow you to request a refund on a purchase based on a few criteria. The new policy first stipulates that requests for refunds have to be made within 14 days after the game is purchased, meaning you won’t be able to get your money back from Aliens: Colonial marines no matter how much you scream and shout.
Secondly, the game in question will have to have a total playtime below the two hour mark. That gives you ample time to boot it up, test, tweak and finally come to the realisation that things just aren’t going to work. Should you meet those requirements, you can shoot off a request to help.steampowered.com and Steam will hand back your money – no questions asked.
Even if you fall just outside, you’re still free to submit a request – after which Valve will assess your case individually and make a decision. Refunds on DLC are a trickier issue though. While Steam will offer refunds on certain DLC, they can’t promise it will work on all third-party application (considering DLC can have an effect on the core, standalone product).
You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam—for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn’t meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn’t like it.
It’s a revolutionary step for Steam, and one that countless gamers have been asking it to take for years now. It’s also going to change the stance developers take to online games. Launching a title where servers are down on launch day might invite a torrential downpour of refund requests – and publishers won’t like that.
Last Updated: June 3, 2015