Valve Closes Loophole Some Steam Users Were Exploiting For Refunds

1 month ago 46

A Steam Deck demoing a pretend game.

Screenshot: Valve / Kotaku

Steam has an oft-exploited refund policy, whereby any player is able to request their money back for a game that they bought within the last 14 days, and played for less than two hours. (Selling a game that’s shorter than two hours? Sucks to be you.) But it seems that people buying games with so-called “Advanced Access” were able to subvert the system. No more.

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Not to be confused with Early Access—where games are released on sale but incomplete, with customers aware they’re buying an unfinished product—Advanced Access is when a developer or publisher allows people who’ve pre-ordered a game to play it ahead of its official release. And it seems that until now, Valve wasn’t starting the two hour clock until the release date.

This means people were able to mainline a game during those few days of extra access, existing within the negative time bubble Steam was creating, and then still refund the game moments after it went on general sale. Which is awfully cheeky.

In an April 24 post on Steam, Valve announced that these system-smashing shenanigans have been kyboshed.

Today we have updated a portion of our Refund Policy regarding pre-purchased titles. This change covers titles that are in pre-purchase and offer “Advanced Access”. Playtime acquired during the Advanced Access period will now count towards the Steam refund period. You can find our more information regarding Steam Refunds here.

Of course, all the usual refund policies still apply, so should someone purchase Advanced Access, play the game for less than two hours, and decide they hate it with all their heart, so long as a fortnight hasn’t passed, they can ask for their money back.

And for the indie developers who deliberately create vignette games that are designed to last less than two hours? Well, they’re all still just as royally fucked.

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