Octodad Dev: Most Steam Refunds Are Outside of The "2-Week Window"

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Octodad Dev: Most Steam Refunds Are Outside of The "2-Week Window"

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Octodad developer Young Horse weighs in on Steam's new refund policy.

Ever since Steam launched it's new refund policy, it has been met with praise from gamers... and some skepticism from developers, particularly small-time indie devs. Octodad developer Young Horse is a small-time indie dev, and while it disagrees with the whole "Steam refunds are harming developers," sentiment going around (it stressed that "Our general opinion at Young Horses is that the refund system is a positive change"), it has noticed a few problems with the system.

Just like all the other devs, it has noticed a surge in refunds since the new system, but doesn't believe that is too huge of a cause for concern. Developer Kevin Geisler said he "would think that pent up refund demand / fascination and Valve's large focus on the new system would naturally encourage an initial boom of refunding."

However, he doesn't believe that Valve's "two-week" window policy is accurate, noting that a huge majority of Octodad refunds are falling well outside of it. "Since Steam does break down the data by sale price, we are in a position where we can have some certainty on when a returned game was purchased," he explained. "It turns out that 80% of our refunds match the sale price for these periods, putting the purchase dates between 2-5 months ago. The other 20% of refunds at full price could have been purchased at any point in the last 6 months."

"We did not expect that the vast majority of our refunds would come outside of the advertised 2-week window guarantee. Upon figuring this out, we were able to find a good number of anecdotes of people on reddit successfully getting refunds outside the limitations," he continued.

Despite this, Geisler does not think there is a cause for concern. He trusts Valve's judgement, and does not believe that the system will be abused in the long term, again stressing that the initial spotlight on the system is what is causing the massive surge in refunds.

Source: Gamasutra

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Considering how new the system is there are bound to be a few quirks like that. So long as Valve properly fixes them there shouldn't be much cause to worry.

Wow. I mean, really - wow.

It's kind of sad that someone has to point out that of course on the first day that refunds are allowed you're going to see a spike of pent-up refund demand.

I'm actually buying games now that I wouldn't normally buy because I don't have to worry about spending 20 bucks on a piece of shit. I've bought 6 games in the last week that fall under this criteria and I've returned about half of them (one because it just wasn't my cup of tea - the game play didn't match the description on the tin, and the other 2 because they were just garbage).

Those people who's games I returned didn't "lose sales" because prior to the refund policy, I would have never touched their steaming (no pun intended) piles of hot shit. However now, I can take a chance on things and sometimes it leads to a pleasant surprise of a game I enjoy and sometimes it leads to confirmation that the game in question is shovel-ware garbage.

its almost like if you make good game then you dont have anything to worry about.

In your experience you mean.

Need to add that little caveat. Not all developers will/have seen the same refund expectancy as you

I wonder if the two week countdown is starting just since day one. I know plenty of friends who played only minutes of a game, and wanted to return them before this policy was enacted. Valve could be letting people return games that are over the two week limit if they haven't hit the two hour mark as sort of a make-up period for people who felt burned before. Although Valve never stated as much, so more likely a bug.

mmm so could i return bulletstorm since GFW live is dead.

I keep looking at these stories as if they're important and then I remembered that recently valve was noted as having BS customer service, and then I also remembered that they won't let me buy games from them anymore until I submit a copy of my passport and drivers licence, along with a copy of my credit card. I thought I was being scammed at first to which the Steam support specialist reminded me that "I" had contacted them, and not the other way around.

Has no one else tried to do a Refund? I did and tried a few games. It seems that since this is a new feature, Steam is currently accepting all games purchased within the last 6 months to be reviewed for a refund. Try it yourself. I wonder why no one else has figured this out.

BoredRolePlayer:
mmm so could i return bulletstorm since GFW live is dead.

well its not really dead it should be but isn't

escapist, I am disappoint.

I know I shouldnt be, after the wizardchan thing, but you instituted new policies and archon even came on and said things be changing.

if you are going into making games with the mindset that your consumer base is nothing but terrible shitty pirates who are only out to exploit you, then maybe you should not be making games, and instead work at EA or activision where your mindset fits right in.

Well that's a bit irritating. A certain strategy game that turned out to be a disappointing rip off of its peers was refused me a refund when I thought I'd chance it the other day, despite minimal play time and being only a few weeks outside the window.

Bah >.>

Eric the Orange:
Dude, Steve are you trolling us for clickbait. Because no offense that's what this looks like combined with yesterdays article. I mean I guess your job is to get views and purposely taking the opposing side of a contentious topic will do that, But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

How is this clickbait? The title says that the Octodad devs think there are a lot of refunds coming from outside the 2 week period, and the content clarifies why they think so.

Edit:

valium:
escapist, I am disappoint.

I know I shouldnt be, after the wizardchan thing, but you instituted new policies and archon even came on and said things be changing.

if you are going into making games with the mindset that your consumer base is nothing but terrible shitty pirates who are only out to exploit you, then maybe you should not be making games, and instead work at EA or activision where your mindset fits right in.

Also, can you clarify why you are disapointed?

It says right on the refunds page, end of second paragraph

You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam-for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it.

It doesn't matter. Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, 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. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we've described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we'll take a look.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds/

There is also a boatload of statements from devs on http://devsonsteamrefunds.tumblr.com/

Eric the Orange:
Dude, Steve are you trolling us for clickbait. Because no offense that's what this looks like combined with yesterdays article. I mean I guess your job is to get views and purposely taking the opposing side of a contentious topic will do that, But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

Uhh... what? This is an accurate title, and it is, if anything, giving the opposite perspective of yesterday's article.

ryan_cs:

Eric the Orange:
Dude, Steve are you trolling us for clickbait. Because no offense that's what this looks like combined with yesterdays article. I mean I guess your job is to get views and purposely taking the opposing side of a contentious topic will do that, But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

How is this clickbait? The title says that the Octodad devs think there are a lot of refunds coming from outside the 2 week period, and the content clarifies why they think so.

Edit:

valium:
escapist, I am disappoint.

I know I shouldnt be, after the wizardchan thing, but you instituted new policies and archon even came on and said things be changing.

if you are going into making games with the mindset that your consumer base is nothing but terrible shitty pirates who are only out to exploit you, then maybe you should not be making games, and instead work at EA or activision where your mindset fits right in.

Also, can you clarify why you are disapointed?

it is outright clickbait garbage.

the author did not deem it necessary to actually do some basic research into the refund policy in question. just parrot nonsense floating around other clickbait sites "news" articles. on either article.

The Almighty Aardvark:

Eric the Orange:
Dude, Steve are you trolling us for clickbait. Because no offense that's what this looks like combined with yesterdays article. I mean I guess your job is to get views and purposely taking the opposing side of a contentious topic will do that, But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

Uhh... what? This is an accurate title, and it is, if anything, giving the opposite perspective of yesterday's article.

Thank you. That's what I was aiming for.

inmunitas:
It says right on the refunds page, end of second paragraph

You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam-for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it.

It doesn't matter. Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, 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. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we've described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we'll take a look.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds/

There is also a boatload of statements from devs on http://devsonsteamrefunds.tumblr.com/

Right? Because Heaven forbid that after several years of people demanding a refund system, Valve is maybe being a little lenient on the 2-week rule for a while to make-up for all the time when you were just stuck with a purchase.

Eric the Orange:
But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

Well, we ARE talking about the website that has been systematically purging all of its unique content, then replacing it with what amounts to syndicated content from this or that YouTube channel. So yeah, not really holding them to high standards at the moment; which is a shame, because even just a year ago I'd have stuck with them through hell and high water.

It's nice you get a period of leeway to refund games from 6 months ago, although I doubt Valve are doing out of the kindness of their hearts.

LokiSeto:
Has no one else tried to do a Refund? I did and tried a few games. It seems that since this is a new feature, Steam is currently accepting all games purchased within the last 6 months to be reviewed for a refund. Try it yourself. I wonder why no one else has figured this out.

Fortunately I haven't bought any shit games in the last 6 months so there is nothing I need to return. Everything I have tried to return they won't let me because they were bought too long ago.

ryan_cs:

How is this clickbait? The title says that the Octodad devs think there are a lot of refunds coming from outside the 2 week period, and the content clarifies why they think so.

Clickbait is an article with a title ment to make people want to click it. so as an article title that goes against the general feeling of the site goers on a contentious topic it will draw views. And I think it's kind of shady because a quick read of the new refund policy will tell you that just because a game was bought over 14 days ago does not mean it will be automatically rejected.

The Almighty Aardvark:

Eric the Orange:
Dude, Steve are you trolling us for clickbait. Because no offense that's what this looks like combined with yesterdays article. I mean I guess your job is to get views and purposely taking the opposing side of a contentious topic will do that, But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

Uhh... what? This is an accurate title, and it is, if anything, giving the opposite perspective of yesterday's article.

Just because the title is accurate does not mean it's not clickbait. lemme do a copy paste from the last guy.

Clickbait is an article with a title ment to make people want to click it. so as an article title that goes against the general feeling of the site goers on a contentious topic it will draw views. And I think it's kind of shady because a quick read of the new refund policy will tell you that just because a game was bought over 14 days ago does not mean it will be automatically rejected.

So the title seems to be insinuating that something is wrong with steam refunds, that will make people who are pro-refunds want to click the article. The fact that at the end of the article The octodad developer says he's still for refunds does not change that.

inmunitas:
It says right on the refunds page, end of second paragraph

You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam-for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it.

It doesn't matter. Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, 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. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we've described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we'll take a look.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds/

There is also a boatload of statements from devs on http://devsonsteamrefunds.tumblr.com/

It's almost as if all of the confusion and click-baiting bullshit running rampant around the 'net could be prevented or resolved, simply by people taking five minutes to read over the refunds FAQ.

But fuck that! It's so much easier to just get all-up-in-arms over it and write news posts designed to stoke the flames.

you can get a refund for games bought outside of the two weeks window. "This purchase occurred significantly outside the refund window, and cannot be refunded. You can only submit refund requests for purchases made within the last 6 months" this is a quote from steam on a game that falls outside of the six mouths window. I can conform that you can get a refund for a game that falls outside of the two weeks window.

http://devsonsteamrefunds.tumblr.com/

That is a collection of about 25 indie developer's opinions on the steam refund system, unfiltered, in their own words.

Eric the Orange:
Clickbait is an article with a title ment to make people want to click it.

By this definition, any article that's remotely interesting or newsworthy (aka the writers doing their jobs) is clickbait.

I think a far more standard and accepted definition is titles that do one of two things:

  1. Blatantly omit key piece information that didn't need omitted, so that you need to read the article to even know what it's about. For example: "You won't believe what purchases are getting refunds on Steam"
  2. Intentionally mislead readers with a flat-out dishonest title, such as by paraphrasing the dev to say something they didn't say, such as: "Octodad Dev Thinks Refunds Are Ruining Steam, Here's Why"

The only thing this news story is guilty of is not putting the entire multi-paragraph article into the title, which is completely reasonable (I'd hope for obvious reasons). Not clickbait at all, by any sane definition. The title isn't excessively editorialized, dishonest, or lacking something it should contain, so I really don't see cause for complaint.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. Seriously, as has been pointed out, the system is brand new. Any study on its positive and negative effects, in order to be remotely worthwhile, will need to last several months, not days, and won't even begin until after the system has stabilized so as to avoid being significantly skewed by obvious outlier data. Trying to reach any sort of conclusion now is like going to a Magic: The Gathering tournament, asking six people what the best card game is, and then announcing that MtG is the most popular card game in the world. Both the sample size and source are gonna make the data worthless, and a high percentage of people who would give answers such as Poker aren't even going to be represented.

Outside the two week window? Wait a tick I smell shenannigans. The system hasn't been up for two weeks yet. Also the big issue the devs isn't the two week window it's the two hour playtime window. Again this could be an issue for quite a few games since Many games on Steam can be played without the use of the steam launcher which means there's not time tracking. And these aren't just indie games. Bioshock, Mass Effect 1& 2 and Doom 3 are just a few of the larger scale titles that can actually be run outside the client. Meaning one could theoretically play these games to completion and never rack up more than 5 minutes of game time as far as steam can see.

That's what worries devs. So basically devs will wind up having to put call homes into their games so they can track and record playtime independently from steam. Or basically hard chain the game to the Steam Interface and remove Offline Mode compatability.

WhiteTigerShiro:

Eric the Orange:
But I guess I always felt that the escapist held it self to higher standards.

Well, we ARE talking about the website that has been systematically purging all of its unique content, then replacing it with what amounts to syndicated content from this or that YouTube channel. So yeah, not really holding them to high standards at the moment; which is a shame, because even just a year ago I'd have stuck with them through hell and high water.

If this website had a "like" button I'd have hit that so hard it'd crash the whole net. The Escapist has definitely gone downhill in recent months.

On topic. I'm glad Steam has a refund option after all these years and I'm willing to believe the Octodad Dev's assumptions concerning the release of pent up refund tension.

My bet is that steam is being less restrictive about the time limit right now because lots of gamers probably have a backlog of titles they want refunded but never could. Valve will probably lock it down much more tightly after the first month or so.

Covarr:
snip

Fair enough. I concede that the definition I used is probably too broad.

This is a clickbait post. Not for the reasons posted before alone, but for these reasons.

The original source is a blog post by a dev about his game.
He states some apparent facts about how old the the purchases are, based on the purhase price. It seems reasonable, but no evidence is shown. Thay's perfectly fine in a blog, which is an opinion piece.

It's not acceptable in a "News" Article.
No basic and factual research has been done, no journalism at all.

The longer than two weeks refunds are presented as a fault in the refund system and compounded by implying indie devs are generally objecting to the 2 hour limit.

Total Biscuit, who did do the basic research for his report, showed that general concern was one devs opinion again without any real evidence.

Simple research shows, as others have posted, that the two weeks is a guaranteed refund, not a cutoff point. There is no time limit to obtaining a refund and clarifications have stated that six months is almost certainly acceptable in this introductory phase.
Logic would suggest that phase will be just for the first two weeks.

The vast majority of indie devs have no real concerns at all. With the prevailing attitude of, "we'll wait and see, once it's settled down and we have some factual data".

So when a controversial argument is based on two isolated opinions and no research of actual evidence is done.
Damn right it's pure click bait and nothing else.

Do some real journalism or lose the readers for good.
Ethical journalism requires two things that are missing here.
Journalism and ethics.

inmunitas:
It says right on the refunds page, end of second paragraph

You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam-for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it.

It doesn't matter. Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, 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. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we've described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we'll take a look.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds/

There is also a boatload of statements from devs on http://devsonsteamrefunds.tumblr.com/

because what is research?

Dont you know that the best way to get veiws is to ignore even the basic research into an article?

Keep up the idea that customers are all dirty pirates though, Escapist, It's not like that worked horribly for people.

rbstewart7263:
its almost like if you make good game then you dont have anything to worry about.

Yes but almost everyone gets practically all of the satisfaction from most games within 6 months. That is a HUGE problem on Steam's part. Anyone could effortlessly take advantage of such an error and an obvious oversight they should have anticipated before implementing the system.

If I could return games like God of War or Uncharted which you beat once then never play again 6 months after I bought it I would do so no matter how much value the game had or not.

DoubleU12:

rbstewart7263:
its almost like if you make good game then you dont have anything to worry about.

Yes but almost everyone gets practically all of the satisfaction from most games within 6 months. That is a HUGE problem on Steam's part. Anyone could effortlessly take advantage of such an error and an obvious oversight they should have anticipated before implementing the system.

If I could return games like God of War or Uncharted which you beat once then never play again 6 months after I bought it I would do so no matter how much value the game had or not.

Though that does bring up a good question. I'm pretty sure the money is in the developers hand by 6 months. o_O Where does the money for the refund come from at that point?

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