6/2/15

Regarding Refunds

As most of you probably know, Steam announced an official refund policy today.  Any game can be refunded for any reason, provided you have owned it for less than 2 weeks and played it for less than 2 hours.

Now, this puts developers like me in an interesting situation.  Both my games (and probably many of my future titles) can be easily completed in under 2 hours.  Indeed, they were designed to be completed in a single sitting.  Which means players now could purchase them, play them, and return them.  For the unscrupulous, both The Moon Sliver and The Music Machine have now become free to play.

So here's what I have to say about that:

If you've purchased either of my games, completed them, and genuinely feel that they were not worth your money, feel free to ask for a refund with my blessing.  I'm not in this business to cheat or mislead anyone.

If, however, you purchase either of my games, complete them, and feel they were worth your money, I ask that you don't refund them.  I count on my development income.  It's what I live on, and it's what enables me to continue making games. 

At the time of this post, with the information all of us have--consumers and developers--it seems that narrative-focused games under 2 hours are going to be sold on the honor system.  You could treat the new refund policy as a free rental service.  But in my time as a developer, I've been open and honest about what my games are, I've tried to price them fairly, I've taken criticism to heart, and I haven't tried to censor negative feedback or reviews.  I've treated you all with respect.  I hope as this thing goes forward, you will treat me with respect as well.

2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed The Moon Sliver a lot. That said, I think that Valve's move is a good one for the industry. I understand indie developers worries nonetheless about how this could be a free to play mode for awful people. I don't have an easy solution for this, except maybe making the refund time shorter for cheaper games. That said, I have the feeling that such unscrupulous people would be the kind to just pirate the game. Lets hope I'm right in that this will benefit everyone involved.

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    1. I think there are a lot of benefits for the consumer, and some potential benefits for developers. But the exploitability of this loophole worries me, and I hope that either a) people won't abuse it, b) Valve has a plan for keeping it from being abused, or c) both those things.

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