The number of support requests received by Valve has increased six times over since the summer sales began and 90 percent of them are Steam Refund requests.
We all know about the Steam Refund policy. If anything, after these sales we should be even more familiar with them. For those of you who don’t know about the refund policy or Steam (*gasp* seriously? what rock are you living under?), we’ll explain it to you in brief. Steam’s refund policy first came to fruition in 2015. Basically, it lets you refund any game as long as you made the purchase less than 14 days or 2 weeks ago. And you also need to have less than two hours of playtime on the game. This applies to in-game items and DLC as well. In the case of in-game items, as long as you never used it, you can refund it.
What’s with the jump in Steam Refund requests?
Anyway, one look at the Steam Support page will show you that Valve has received over 205,000 refund requests over the past 24 hours. 205,000! That is dramatically higher than before the Steam Sales started. Prior to the Steam Sales, refunds were sitting on approximately 49,000 a day. That’s roughly 18 million refund requests a year. Which is not a small amount by any means, but it’s minuscule compared to the current state of things. If we were to go by the current rate of refund requests, it would mean that Valve has received over 1.5 million refund requests just since the Summer Sales began!
The Steam Support page does not reveal how many refunds actually go through but just the number of refund requests received.
For example, Rust developer Garry Newman revealed on Twitter that over 330,000 copies of Rust had been refunded, totalling almost 4.4 million USD in refunds. While it looks like a big hit to the game, that’s only 6 percent of its total sales. Rust has sold more than 5 million copies since its release in 2013. Newman adds that the leading reason for the refunds was “not fun”, followed by “bad performance”.
Added sales stats to our backend today. These are Rust’s real Steam Refund figures. pic.twitter.com/IhjUsJUN9N
— Garry Newman (@garrynewman) June 28, 2017
The influx of refund requests does not seem to have hindered Valve’s response time too much, fortunately for gamers. The typical response time for a refund request is averaging between 49 minutes to 1.47 hours according to Steam’s Support page.
Why all the Steam Refund requests?
Steam devs say it’s normal for Steam Refund requests to spike during sales. It makes sense; Steam overflows with cheap games during sales so naturally the number of purchases are also higher.
Before Steam made changes to make sure that only in-game content was showcased in the game’s store page, it wasn’t very easy to gauge whether you would or would not enjoy a game. Since most devs on Steam have done away with demos as well, the only way for most gamers to “test the waters” is to buy the game and try it out themselves. If they don’t like it, they will refund it. This mostly applies to the more expensive titles; most people don’t even bother with the cheaper ones and let them sit in their library for some Steam street cred.
Next, you have the broken games that go on sale despite the lack of fixes or optimisations. Poorly ported games, games that don’t run on modern computers, older games that aren’t optimised etc fall under this category. Unless someone were to do a good amount of research beforehand or maybe at least go through a few reviews before making their purchase, there would be no way for them to know that the game was broken. So naturally, that’s a refund.
Another reason for this could be having bought a game prior to the sale. If you buy a game, notice it went on sale the next day, Valve allows you to refund the game and then buy it again at the discounted price as long as the game meets the needs of their refund policy.
Either way, we shouldn’t worry too much. The increase in the rate of refunds was something Valve was expecting and they will hopefully remain on top of that. So continue emptying your wallets for Overlord Gaben and enjoy the remainder of the Steam Summer sales.
Manish "Trigger-Happy" Rajesh
If he's not gaming, he's... no wait he's always gaming.