Dear Esther devs The Chinese Room aren’t happy about the current digital refund system

For a while now, players have been able to get a refund on Steam if they’re not happy with a game, so long as it was purchased within 14 days and they’ve played less than two hours. Just the other day, Microsoft announced that they’d be following Valve’s lead, offering the same for Windows 10 and Xbox One digital purchases. 

Play our list of the best free games and you won’t need a refund. 

The Chinese Room think there’s a better way to do things if retail platforms want to be fairer to those developing shorter, narrative-led experiences, and they've been tweeting about it. One example they give is Silent Hill 2, which you can get 50% through in just a couple of hours. Obviously this applies to stuff like Dear Esther too. 

The developers started off with the articulately put, “Bit depressed about Xbox jumping on the 2hr refund B******S A******E WHY WHY WHY YOU FOOLS CANNOT SUSTAIN NORMAL TEMPER WTF MODERN CULTURE.”

They then followed up explaining their stance a bit more: 

This approach certainly makes sense for shorter, narrative-focused games. Larger games would no doubt suffer from this approach, however, so it’s still not ideal. Plus, it’s kind of a hard thing to measure - like, how do you even quantify a percentage in something like Elite: Dangerous? 

What do you lot reckon? Is there a better way to approach the refund system? 

War Thunder
Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
WhiteCrow avatarHersheySquirtle avatarTsunamiWombat avatarrender07 avatarhfm avatar
render07 Avatar
1
1 Month ago

You're right. Inside does not deserve my money. Also I watched 2 hours of a movie yesterday and decided I didn't like it so I got my 13 dollars back.

1
hfm Avatar
143
1 Month ago

There's plenty of short games that are good experiences. It's not like people are dropping $24.99 for Dear Esther, they are usually lower priced. I think what might be good to include in Steam is maybe "Average Completion Time" or something.

Oh.. also maybe whoever runs their PR/Social Media should be a little more professional.

1
WhiteCrow Avatar
325
1 Month ago

Valve/Microsoft can add a string so that if you complete the game, you're no longer eligible for a refund. You completed the product, and are essentially "renting" it at that point, largely for free.

On the other side of the token, maybe stop making such short games? I understand the genre, but 1-2 hours just isn't worth dropping money for some people, even though it's comparable to buying a movie ticket.

-2
HersheySquirtle Avatar
59
HersheySquirtle(1 hour played)
1 Month ago

Your personal taste in entertainment shouldn't dictate what products do or don't get created. There's a lot more artistic work and value in something like Dear Esther than there is in the next iteration of Call of Battlefield. And while I absolutely love The Witcher 3, it would be silly if *all* games became vast, sprawling titles where 2 hours is a drop in the bucket and a reasonable refund window.

While I don't have a good cure-all solution, I do think the implementation used in Blizzard games (and others) works well. The game is essentially free to a point (player level limit, story progress limit, etc.), and consumers can choose to pay to purchase the full game. For something like Dear Esther, I imagine, you could maybe have a walled-off early section of island to explore? Again, no silver bullets, unfortunately.

2
TsunamiWombat Avatar
581
1 Month ago

Ok maybe, I got an idea here, maybe, alright stick with me, MAYBE

MAYBE MAYBE

YOU COULD MAKE GAMES THAT CAN'T BE COMPLETED IN 4 HOURS

YOU TOSSERS

-2