Change Refund Terms on Steam Early Access Games to be More Consumer Friendly
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Starting in early 2013, early access titles began hitting Steam, making it the leading platform for in-development games and gave many development teams a foothold. Many titles were released and developed with an early access badge, and the community flocked to these games, several of which became the hottest selling items on the platform. As the years progressed many of these titles were released, and many more continued to stay in their "alpha" state to continue development towards an inevitable release.
Now, four and a half years later, there has been expanding dissent within the Steam community toward titles with the early access badge (coining the term "eternal early access"). Of the 12 initial early access titles, 9 went on to be released, two were cancelled, and one remains in early access. There are now hundreds of titles with the early access designation, many of which have been in development for as many as 4 years. Games continue being released under the early access badge, and are sold under the pretense of reaching the final "release" phase, with the purchase being an advanced purchase of this state with the ability to play the game as it develops.
In its current wording and usage, there is no incentive for Steam games to leave their early access stages. Many developers use the label to justify underdeveloped and (occasionally) unplayable games, even years after the initial release onto Steam. This leaves consumers out of luck if the game gets cancelled, or fails to address: faulty coding, glitches, or bugs. As of right now Steam requires the same conditions to refund an early access game as a fully released title, and customers are met with automated replies declining refunds if they attempt to refund an early access game, regardless of reason.
This petition seeks to change these terms by requesting Valve Corp. change their refund terms for early access games to the following:
- Up to 4 weeks since purchase date with up to 8 hours of play time
- Partial refunds for legitimate* refund requests on early access games after this period
- Complete refunds/credit on early access games that remain in early access at or over a period of three years and for a legitimate* reason
- Partial refunds/credit on early access games that remain in early access at or over a period of three years for any requested reason
*legitimate refers to reasons such as: abandoned development, insurmountable game issues, or other irreconcilable issues.
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