For my next trick, I will - in 638 words or so - flesh out the latest and pack on my own personal thoughts on it! Today's topic is something new to Steam users and devs submitting to it, and it's generating all sorts of reviews. To some, it's a wallet-saver that insures the most bang for one's buck. To others, it's the death of demos and even a potentially income loss for certain developers. What one thing could span across bought DLC, games of all types, and both the player and developer base as a whole?
That's right, folks - Steam's officially offering refunds. Here we go! Wordcount begins....now!
|Sorry, Kairo. I love you and things, but...|
For Customers: Unwanted games and DLC can be returned for a full refund under certain circumstances, so satisfaction is guaranteed! Right?
Well, right, but that's where the circumstances kick in. Thankfully, they seem to make sense: Abuse is thoroughly accounted for by the approval systems (hopefully human?) so that customers don't make a dirty buck by refunding recently-bought games when they happen to go on sale. For that portion, I think that for customers, a good deal has been awarded.
|Away from normal device due to the heat, so this'll do for the time being.|
For Developers: For developers of short games, this refund policy can be a death spell. So much hard work put into a short and meaningful game may soon mean lowered profits from Steam! While it's hopefully not all about the money, so much hard work getting so little credit from a major consumer source will be difficult.
And what about really expensive games, one may ask? My thoughts are that for such a big game, people will be able to afford it that won't be as worried about a refund, people that can play and post videos or reviews before you buy. Unless buying on the day of release is a really big deal, a lot of the major, more expensive titles can be backed by player opinion very quickly after they're initially bought.
All in all, I feel that the new refund policy for Steam is going to hurt more than help, and I'm talking about both player experience and developer income. While refunds sound like a good idea to have in mind, and while I'd like to have them for certain reasons, I feel that the current, too-loose standards for sending a game back in may be a little bit too loose for the main reasons I mentioned above. This system could use a lot of refinery and redefinition of process.
What do you think? This is definitely open for discussion in the comments section below, or on Twitter by tagging me @SGMSoultamer. Thanks for reading!