Valve Clarify Refund Policy for Cancelled Early Access Games


Playing an Early Access game on Steam when suddenly the developer goes quiet? You’ve paid your money and been given a buggy mess in return, on the promise that some day it’ll be a fully-fledged game with actual polish? Tough beans, if the game’s developers bail out when development is part through, you’re stuck with your purchase, Valve has said.

As found by Gaming Blend:

We cannot offer a refund for this transaction. As with most software products, we do not offer refunds or exchanges for purchases made on our website or through the Steam Client. This includes, but is not limited to, games, Early Access Games, software, gifted or traded purchases, downloadable content, subscriptions, and in-game items/currency.

There’s a pretty good reason for that, and it’s entirely fair. First of all, you’re making a purchase based on the prior knowledge that the thing your buying needs work. You’re not being fooled into thinking you’re getting a finished game or anything like that. Sure, the developer says they’ll improve it, but the game itself is sold entirely as is.

Secondly, how would Steam differentiate between those who are genuinely outraged by the fact the developer has left the project unfinished and those that would just get the refund for the sake of it? Time played, would be the obvious answer, but even that isn’t foolproof. Steam isn’t required to give a refund in this case, and it’s fair for them not to.


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Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. His first book is out this year, as is Hero Sapiens, the web series on which he's lead writer.

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