Xbox’s Digital Refunds Policy Raises Concerns Among Developers
Microsoft recently announced a new digital Refunds Policy being tried out by Xbox Insiders. The way the policy works is very simple. After the purchase of a title, a player has two weeks to download, launch the game, and return it. The game must have been played less than 2 hours or the refund will be denied. This is obviously geared towards AAA titles and not the likes of Indie developed games that do not take quite as long. Unfortunately, because of this, there are downsides and some developers are raising their concerns.
Indie games are generally pretty small in terms of content. Many of them are narrative driven experiences that within 2 hours, a player could experience a majority, if not the entire game, and still be able to refund the title. All the while, still being within the limitations of the digital refunds policy. The Chinese Room, creator of games like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Dear Esther, has offered up an alternative solution.
It's REALLY simple. Refunds should operate off a percentage of game completed. Simple, fair, representative. This 2 hour thing is just cock
— The Chinese Room (@ChineseRoom) April 13, 2017
In reply to The Chinese Room, Pietro Righi Riva of Santa Ragione agreed, stating, “You need to play 100% of a game to figure out if you liked it, hopefully. Refunds should not be about liking games.” While this may not hold true for larger titles, it certainly makes sense for the story driven experiences of indie developers. Garry Newman jokingly mentioned, “My game takes 2 mins to complete. Refunds should only be available if they’ve played less than 6 seconds.”
The reason behind the refund policy was a way to help players “try out” games and having a way to get their money back if they do not enjoy them. While it makes sense for triple A titles, it simply does not work for the smaller indie developed games. Hopefully, Microsoft can take this information and find a way to appease both developers and players alike. The company has been working hard on a robust gaming environment for both sides with multiple programs they’ve been creating. This includes the Xbox Game Pass, which is similar to Netflix and Hulu, but for video games instead of movies. There are also free game developement classes being offered to those looking to get into the field, which could bring in more indie developed games on the Xbox One. It wouldn’t be preferable if Microsoft turned away some future developers because of issues with the digital refunds policy.
Steam also has a similar refunds policy and has had issues of some players abusing the policy as a free game rental service. At the same time, there’s a feeling of extra freedom when purchasing games that players enjoy having. What do you think about Xbox’s digital refunds policy? Should it be altered to be more effective across all titles, including indie developers’ games? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below. As always, don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for 24/7 coverage of all things gaming and entertainment.
Chris Calles1529 Posts
Known as "Stash" or Yippee Calles. He's a student of everything, avid adrenaline junkie, and creator of random things. When he's not delving into a game, book, or movie - He's out teaching himself new things or taking part in some pretty epic adventures. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.