Steam is Down, with a new Refund Policy to boot

Valve's gaming system Steam is down throughout much of Western Europe as the brand introduces a new Refund Policy. One has very little to do with the other, of course, but both should be taken into consideration as you head to your favorite multiplayer game this afternoon. What you're going to see is a lot less competition from your friends in Germany and a lot more chat about how, if a game is less than 2 hours long, you might just be getting the whole experience for free.

On Tuesdays at around 4PM Pacific Time Steam has a regularly scheduled maintenance session. When this downtime is being written about this afternoon, it's several hours before the normal maintenance time. So it's not that.

It would appear that this outage began at around 2:30 PM Eastern Time – that's around 11AM Pacific Time. Reports on several Down-detecting sites suggest that hundreds, if not thousands, of users have been affected.

Meanwhile Steam has a new refund policy.

Valve updated their policies as of this week straight through their Steam Refunds portal. There you'll see words like "you can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam—for any reason."

They've suggested that even if your reason is a lack of PC processing power and simple mistaken taps of buttons. "Maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it."

"It doesn't matter" – Valve.

Valve suggests that users head to to speak up. There, "Valve will, upon request, issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours."

Items that are not available for refund include Movies, Gifts, and games in which users have been banned by VAC – that's Valve's Anti-Cheat system. Pre-purchased games are included in the refund policy – you can get a refund any time before the release of the title or after, starting on the game's release date.

Sound fair to you, the gamer?

How about you, the game developer?

Of special note: systems like Google Play have very similar systems in place – don't fret too much.