The new Xbox refund policy for Windows 10 and Xbox One games sold digitally through Microsoft’s services are a great addition for gamers but not everyone is so happy to see the new policy. The concerns around the new policy are coming from Indie game developers who aren’t as keen on the policy as players are.
The reasons stem from the same reason there were complaints around Steam’s refund policy before, the fact that if you play less than two hours of the game you can get request a refund.
This is the policy point in question
- Games and apps are eligible for self-service refunds within 14 days of purchase if you have less than 2 hours of play time across all accounts.
The problem here is that there are some excellent Indie games that can be completed or at least mostly completed in under two hours. That means you could complete a game like Firewatch or The Chinese Room and then request a refund. This obviously isn’t what the refund policy is targeting to cover and is instead targeting AAA titles.
The Chinese Room aren’t happy with the refund policy and even proposed a different approach via Twitter with a mixed reaction in the replies.
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
Suggestions are circling the Internet that Microsoft should instead look at the completion percentage of a game and if you pass a certain point you can’t request a refund. Of course, the problem then comes for massive games like Fallout, Skyrim or The Witcher 3 which have massive game worlds you could spend hours exploring and only complete a small percentage of the game.
While there was an initial outcry about the similar refund policy on Steam, there hasn’t been much in the way of evidence to prove it has been openly abused.
The Xbox refund policy is currently available to Xbox Preview members running in the early Alpha circles of the console’s system updates. That means the policy Microsoft has outlined now may not be the one they go with when the system rolls out to all Xbox One and Windows 10 owners.