Steam's two-hour refund policy forces an indie developer into hiatus

MaestroIT

Posts: 61   +54
While other games like MSFS 2020, in 2 hours you don't have still a running game to try. Steam
downloads an installer then you run the game to download the rest of the 100GB, which bypasses the 2 hours by much (I needed 24 hours to download).
 

mrvco

Posts: 135   +128
Sounds like he needs to add a ~30 minute tutorial and boost the 'estimated completion time' or maybe a 'crash bug' that only occurs on the first play-thru at the ~30 minute mark that forces you to restart from the beginning or even find a way to encourage multiple play-thrus.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 883   +1,678
It is immoral to support developers whose games you won't play. You create evil.

Read my post again... I said I will check the game out and if its good, he will get paid, regardless of the time.

Now remove all the artificial grind, unlock for the sake of unlocking, crafting for the sake of crafting, "we placed all our checkpoints before lengthy unskippable cutscenes", "we have 500x sidequests and 498 are identi-kit fetch-quests", etc, mechanics from many "50-100" hour AAA's and re-measure them... ;)

Quantity doesn't equal quality and I've had more fun from short 5hr titles like Portal than certain "50hr" Tower Climbing Simulator (tm) ultra-repetitive snooze-fests...

Perfect example is Subnautica.

Amazing game, but the game can be beat in 60 minutes if you know what you need to do.

If, not, you can easily burn 10-20 hours running around.

But a great game regardless,
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,126   +2,142
Now remove all the artificial grind, unlock for the sake of unlocking, crafting for the sake of crafting, "we placed all our checkpoints before lengthy unskippable cutscenes", "we have 500x sidequests and 498 are identi-kit fetch-quests", etc, mechanics from many "50-100" hour AAA's and re-measure them... ;)

Quantity doesn't equal quality and I've had more fun from short 5hr titles like Portal than certain "50hr" Tower Climbing Simulator (tm) ultra-repetitive snooze-fests...
Except in this case we can just as easily say the same about being a small indie dev: it doesn't means the games will be a good quality experience. In fact on average most games on steam are utter garbage: just people placing free assets on a flat map and selling it, 0 effort, something most people can put together after a few tutorials and 2 or 3 weeks worth of work.

Sorry but I have no doubts that indie games that are actually high quality experiences that are on the short side (But probably not on the ridiculously short side like 90 minutes to see *everything* it has to offer, that's just a red flag no matter what) probably do not struggle with refunds. It's the asset flippers like Digital Homicide that complain the loudest about not being able to easily scam people out of money with a no refunds policy.

Honestly if you look at most of my comments on other news items and threads you'll find out that I am a big indie game advocate, but I want the *best* indie games to come through and people should be aware some indie devs are just plain terrible and as I said, not even achieving 2 hours of content or being memorable enough that people would like to revisit it later is a huge red flag: I can guarantee 99% of all games under 2 hours long are just garbage and are not these great, deep artistic experiences you'd like to think they are, they're just regurgitated free or stolen asset flips.
 

jpuroila

Posts: 388   +235
Except in this case we can just as easily say the same about being a small indie dev: it doesn't means the games will be a good quality experience. In fact on average most games on steam are utter garbage: just people placing free assets on a flat map and selling it, 0 effort, something most people can put together after a few tutorials and 2 or 3 weeks worth of work.

Sorry but I have no doubts that indie games that are actually high quality experiences that are on the short side (But probably not on the ridiculously short side like 90 minutes to see *everything* it has to offer, that's just a red flag no matter what) probably do not struggle with refunds. It's the asset flippers like Digital Homicide that complain the loudest about not being able to easily scam people out of money with a no refunds policy.

Honestly if you look at most of my comments on other news items and threads you'll find out that I am a big indie game advocate, but I want the *best* indie games to come through and people should be aware some indie devs are just plain terrible and as I said, not even achieving 2 hours of content or being memorable enough that people would like to revisit it later is a huge red flag: I can guarantee 99% of all games under 2 hours long are just garbage and are not these great, deep artistic experiences you'd like to think they are, they're just regurgitated free or stolen asset flips.
If the game is that bad, why does it have a "very positive" review score on steam?
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,916   +1,116
Steam could fix this by just implementing an achievement tracking system. Let Devs put in an 'completed the game' achievement, and if your account has that, no refund for you. This would not only help protect developers of purposefully short games, but also protect developers from the occasional speed-runner who may want to speed-run game before refund window expires.
 
That's a bummer. I'm a huge fan of the refund policy, but I wouldn't mind seeing a special exemption for the refund policy. Lowering the time window is not a good idea because there are many times where you can spend over an hour just trying to get a game to run properly or work around some kind of crash (but maybe that should be a sign to just refund the game!) Perhaps obtaining an achievement for completing the game negates the possibility of refunding?
 

Gezzer

Posts: 161   +83
That's a very simple to fix problem. For games shorter than 4-5 hours in length change the 2 hour limit to 10-25% of the games stated play time. 90 minute game now has a 22.5 minutes of playtime until the player reaches the limit. Round it up to 25 minutes and everyone's happy. Well that is except for the shitty bastards that can justify ripping the developer off, but who cares about them?
 

Bamda

Posts: 270   +133
In my opinion, if you complete half of the game you should not be able to get a refund. This is legalized stealing, one of the worst kinds in the gaming community!