It’s been less than a week since Valve announced its new refund policy, and already we’re hearing reports of abuse straight from developers.
Developer Qwiboo revealed it has felt the negative impact of Steam Refunds with its game, Beyond Gravity. The game is a procedurally-generated platformer where you guide your astronaut to new planets by jumping between them, collecting as many pickups as you can. The game has been sitting at the $1.99 price for several months and has received a Steam user rating of Very Positive, although Qwiboo has shown how its short game has suffered from the new Steam Refunds policy by tweeting out a sales graph showing its decline.
Along with the sales graph image, Qwiboo says, “Out of 18 sales 13 refunded in just last 3 days. That's 72% of purchases. Rate of refunds before was minimal.”
Abuse of Steam’s new refund policy many PC developers were concerned with. In fact, it was one of the subject’s we touched upon during our most recent Chattycast episode. While the new Steam refund policy benefits its customers, it would appear indie developers who create short experiences will be feeling the sting of abuse the most unless Valve does something to change its policy for their benefit. Until then, we don’t see the abuse of buying a small, indie game and playing it for under an hour to then asking for a refund to stop any time soon.