Steam Refund Requests Hit More Than 300,000 a Day After Summer Sale Launch

That number has dropped to around 205,000, but those are still a lot of return requests.


The Steam refund system raised some eyebrows in early May when the official support page showed it was processing more than 49,000 refund requests a day. Apparently that was nothing. Late last week, with the launch of the Steam Summer Sale, the refund requests per day spiked at a more than 300,000.

Previously, refund requests have fallen into a relatively normal run of peaks and valleys over the past 90 days, but as the sale kicked into high gear, the number jumped dramatically to more than six times the previous high. Currently, Steam has received about 205,000 refund requests in the last 24 hours. Apparently Valve was expecting the deluge, as the support page says responses to those requests are averaging between 48.72 minutes to 1.47 hours, which is actually down substantially from the 1.35 hours to 1.53 days when the requests were around 49,000. 

The sale has not changed Steam's refund policy: It will issue a refund for any reason, but a purchaser must play less than two hours of the game and submit a request within 14 days to be eligible for a refund.

Steam has not revealed exactly how many of those requests turned into actual refunds, but Rust developer Garry Newman posted on Twitter that 329,970 refunds had been issued for the game, totally almost $4.4 million. He did not mention how many of those came after the Steam Sale started. Luckily, the game has sold more than five million copies since Facepunch Studios launched it in 2013, and Steam did not start its refund policy until just before its Summer sale in June 2015. Newman said that the reasons for return were led by "not fun" followed by "bad performance," which he said was "pretty fair."

A few developers commented that a 6% return rate is about normal for Steam, but it can spike to 10% during sales.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 29, 2017 11:10 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Steam Refund Requests Hit More Than 300,000 a Day After Summer Sale Launch

    • reply
      June 29, 2017 11:31 AM

      Good. The return policy is a good thing. Glad people are using it.

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      June 29, 2017 11:37 AM

      that seems alot.

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      June 29, 2017 11:44 AM

      that's an insane number of refunds. must be people just 'trying out' the games. maybe they'll create a system where you don't even get charged until you hit the 2-hour mark in game

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        June 29, 2017 11:49 AM

        refunds are the new demos (2 hour max)

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        June 29, 2017 11:54 AM

        otoh valve has probably bought an entire workstation from money that i've spent on games that i've never played or had refunded

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        June 29, 2017 12:02 PM

        I'll never have to pay for a game again!

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      June 29, 2017 11:47 AM

      That is crazy

      People really need to do a bit of research before buying games.

      • reply
        June 29, 2017 4:26 PM

        Yeah go check that sponsored influencer content! Oh wait...

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        June 29, 2017 5:40 PM

        Why? What difference does it make?

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      June 29, 2017 11:52 AM

      Are overall sales higher as people are willing to take risks?

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        June 29, 2017 11:59 AM

        does valve count a game that is refunded as a sale?

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      June 29, 2017 11:57 AM

      I refunded my first game during the sale. Dungeon of the Endless looked pretty cool in videos and reviews but when I played it, I simply couldn't stand how it played. It's not a bad game but I can't imagine enjoying it. Steam refunds are pretty cool, but I have some concerns that people are taking advantage of it to demo games. On the other hand, it pretty much eliminates the need for game demos which is nice.

      • reply
        June 29, 2017 2:51 PM


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        June 29, 2017 4:06 PM

        I really disliked the game till I played coop with my brother. So fun in that context!

      • reply
        June 30, 2017 2:50 AM

        But isn't it that some people say one of the reasons there's no more demos is because gamers would get their fix from the demo itself and move on to the next game without ever buying anything?

        (not saying it's the only argument out there, I understand demos require extra work and sometimes there's no money for that).

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      June 29, 2017 1:23 PM

      Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup. So far I'm still a non-participant. In Refunds and Summer Sale. Except my Queue to Wishlist.

      • reply
        June 29, 2017 1:39 PM

        Never done a refund, only Steam sale purchase was a gift for someone else this time.

        Stay strong.

    • reply
      June 29, 2017 1:36 PM

      sounds like a ton of shitty games.

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      June 29, 2017 1:42 PM

      I refunded a game because it crashed and I mad. I was glad I could spend that on a better PC port.

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      June 29, 2017 1:47 PM

      I can see how one would want to use this to demo a game before they bought it.

      Years ago I bought a copy of "gone home" to play on my shitty inspiron laptop because I figured it would run well being all sprite based and such. Well, the thing ran at like 7fps and nothing I did changed it. If refunds had been an option at the time I would have used that.

      Game demos need to be a thing. If the refund system serves that purpose then more power to it. Although I feel like the credit card processing company is making out like a bandit here.

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        June 29, 2017 2:21 PM

        I want to say it was Prey that the devs encouraged people to use the refund capability as a demo.

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          June 29, 2017 7:27 PM

          That could be a good move, as it gets your game exposure and more importantly, some portion of people who buy it as a demo will keep it either on purpose or through inaction.

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            June 29, 2017 7:40 PM

            Like my theory on rebates: Half won't even fill it out. Half won't remember to send it in. Half won't remember to contact them when they don't receive it. Half won't remember to contact them AGAIN when they STILL don't receive it. You're down to like 7% payout.

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      June 29, 2017 1:59 PM

      I wonder how many of those refunds were due to people purchasing the base game and realizing they could pay a minimal amount more for a complete game.

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      June 29, 2017 2:17 PM

      Speaking of Steam sales, Prison Architect does not fuck around, lol.

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      June 29, 2017 2:48 PM

      I only used a refund for F1 2015. I knew it was buggy and crashy for some people but some weren't having problems so I didn't hesitate to try it out for myself. I also didn't hesitate to get a refund when it crashed several times in the hour and also didn't work well with my Logitech G27 (one of the most common racing wheels). While it didn't pan out it could have and in that case the developers would have gotten more money because I was able to try the game for myself instead of "I heard it sucked/was broken so I didn't buy it"

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      June 29, 2017 3:04 PM


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      June 29, 2017 5:39 PM

      Good, refunds are good

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      June 30, 2017 3:46 AM

      That means they're selling 3m+ games per day, which is pretty damn impressive.

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