Indie Developers Call out Over Steams Refund Policy

/ 1 year ago

steam 1

Sneaky PC gamers are abusing Steam’s new refund policy, Indie developers have claimed, and they can prove it. Qwiboo and Puppygames, developers of Beyond Gravity and Revenge of the Titans, respectively, have both presented graphs that show a sharp plummet in sales since the refund policy came into effect on Steam.

The refund policy allows players to effectively demo games and get a refund if they are not satisfied, providing “the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours.” A fair policy, on the surface, that many Steam users have applauded, but short indie games are sadly left ripe for exploitation. In such cases, players can buy the game, complete it within the two-hour allowance, then apply for a refund.

Qwiboo was the first developer to reveal how the policy had hurt sales. A graph, released by the developer, shows how sales of it game Beyond Gravity – a well-reviewed, procedurally generated platformer, priced £1.59 – took a nosedive after the refund policy was implemented.

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13 out of 18 sales of the game were refunded in the last few days, Qwiboo revealed.

Qwiboo included a second graph, showing that Steam’s upcoming Summer Sale is unlikely to be a factor in the sales figures.

beyond gravity 2

Later, Puppygames chipped in, showing off a graph of total sales of all its games since Steam’s refund policy began:


Hopefully, these revelations should encourage Steam to make its refund policy more dynamic, with the time limit reflecting a percentage of the estimated game length, rather than just a rigid two hours.

Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

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  • grumpytrooper

    Most indie games can be properly (to know whether you want to continue playing it or not) assessed within half an hour. In all fairness Steam should have known that this was going to happen to shorter games, if there is a way to abuse something so that people can get something for nothing then they will because they are arseholes.

    • Louie Hill

      I’m actually willing to bet they just didn’t feel the game was worth the entry requirements. Why jump through refund policy hoops when you can just pirate if you’re willing to do that?

  • Matthew Pierson

    I can’t say I feel bad for whiny indie developers whose games aren’t worth more than two hours of gameplay. Even if people can beat their games in under 2 hours, it obviously shows that their games have no replay value if people are only playing once. The devs “suffering” can either cry about it or do better.

    • Chris

      Buy 20 hours of ‘non-indie’ gameplay for $20 and you see no problem, buy 2 hours of gameplay for $2 and problem? No wait, let’s buy 10x 2 hours of gameplay and ask for refunds = $0, yay!

    • Robjin112

      You are saying that 2 hours of gameplay is not long enough for $2.40? A movie ticket costs way more and is also roughly 2 hours.

  • Júlio Sencadas

    So im forced to acept a game simply because i bought it, humm no specially now that Devs delivers shitty games…

    The Demos should never have ceased to exist! I have the right to return a game that doesn’t perform as advertised…

    • Futilizer

      That’s what I’ve been saying for the past 5 years. Where did all the demos go? The demo pretty much told me whether or not I was gonna buy this. Don’t like people refunding your game? Make a better one and stop using early access. Seriously.

      • Júlio Sencadas

        Early acess should be free, a way of testing the game as of a demo per say…

  • Cenarl

    I Like how t hey said “Rate of refunds before was minimal.”
    Of course it was….

  • Steve Cox

    So they make a game that can be beaten in an hour or so and they are complaining that people want their money back? Make a real game or DIAF.