Microsoft have begun implementation on their latest online scheme – to include a full xbox one digital game refund option with every app or game purchase given that it meets the appropriate criteria. It’s a system that’s been in operation for Steam for a while now, and works well with a trusted (or threatened) client base, however whether or not Sony and Nintendo will follow suit is another matter.
Microsoft will allow you to grab a refund on your latest purchase given that you have met the following guidelines:
- Your download is not a DLC, season pass, or game add on
- Your game has been downloaded and launched before you request a refund
- It has been over a day since the game’s release
The restrictions seem to cover Microsoft against any abuse from parties willing to repeatedly spend an hour and 59 minutes in every game to say they’ve played it before running back for their cash. Don’t be deceived by the necessity for download and launch, if it’s a cooling off period you’re in need of, it will be easy to simply get to the menu screen and then backtrack on last night’s post-pub purchases. I’ve always tutted at PlayStation and Xbox’s lack of cooling off period, physical products are returned straight after purchase if the buyer changes their mind, and yet a digital copy that never runs out of stock and can’t be damaged through first hand use is off limits.
That being said, I understand the need for such heavy restrictions. Things can quickly get dire if you let patrons run amock in games for hours before demanding their cash back. No Man’s Sky is at once a perfect example of why we need digital refund schemes and why they could be dangerous. Buyers who were genuinely expecting a different experience were owed their money back if they believe they were sold a product that was not advertised to them – i’m controversially of the pro-Hello Games opinion that i knew exactly what i was getting myself in for when i preordered and loved every hour of it. However, the players who had put 50 hours or so into the game had their money’s worth in that play time, regardless. They clearly stuck around for 50 hours for something, so a refund would be completely out of the question.
This is why such strict refund rules are necessary in the digital video game world. The Microsoft storefront isn’t necessarily getting anything back in return for relinquishing your cash, unlike physical retailers. However, I see it highly unlikely that Nintendo and Sony will follow suit.
It’s the cold, hard money of the case. Sony doesn’t need to offer refunds to match Microsoft. When choosing between one or the other, it’s not going to be a deal maker for a prospective buyer. Perhaps Microsoft can get away with being the company you can try games out for a couple of hours on before getting your back with, but you’ll have to be trying out games that aren’t worth your time in the first place if you’re not hooked in those hours.
Although, it’s unlikely Xbox One will become the pushover of the market. They have strict warnings of consequences in place for those who abuse the system, but how many times can you get away with it? Surely it’s a good thing that you can demo a $60 title before you take the full plunge – just like the good old days.
Fellow PlayStationers and Xboxers, what do you think? Would you be tempted to buy a full game just to kick around with it for an hour and then get your cash back from Microsoft? Is it so bad that it requires consequences if you do use the refund system as a demo technique in the face of such rising game prices? Let’s talk in the comments.