Steam return policy forces independent developer out of business

Satsuki Then - Aug 27, 2021, 6:27am CDT
Steam return policy forces independent developer out of business

When it comes to buying video games for PC, one of the favorite places for gamers is Steam. There are many reasons why gamers like to use Steam, and one of them is because it has a return policy that allows you to get a refund on any game you don’t like as long as you played it for less than two hours. The idea behind the return policy is to encourage gamers to try independent games without fear of being stuck with a game that doesn’t work or that they don’t like.

However, the two-hour return policy does have some significant downsides for small independent developers who build short games. One perfect example is an independent developer called Emika Games. The developer built a well-reviewed horror game called “Summer of ’58.”

The problem for the developer is that since the game can be completed in less than two hours, many gamers are buying the game, completing it, and getting a refund. If a refund is requested within two hours of purchasing the game, no questions are asked. According to the developer, the return policy has resulted in a “huge number of returns.”

Considering how well reviewed the game is (currently with a Very Positive rating), it appears gamers are taking advantage of a loophole to get some free gameplay. Reports indicate the game can be completed in about an hour and a half.

The developer was clear that they’re leaving game development for an indefinite period because of the return policy. Unfortunately, anyone looking forward to the next game from the developer called “From Day To Day” it has been canceled because there is no money to develop it. It would appear Steam needs to eliminate its blanket two-hour return policy and move to some other system to prevent developers who create short games from suffering the same fate.


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