PC Games Store’s 30-Day No Questions Asked Refund Policy Raises Industry Concerns
Digital PC games store GOG has announced changes to it refund policy that have delighted customers and concerned developers.
The revised policy allows for GOG customers to apply to refund a game up to 30 days after purchase, even if it was downloaded, launched and played. Customers seeking a refund must contact GOG customer support within 30 days of the purchase.
Previously, GOG allowed for refunds on purchases made within 30 days so long as the game was not downloaded.
GOG’s new FAQ seems to acknowledge the change will come as a surprise. The very first answer is appended with “Yes, you read that correctly.” Followed by a smiley face.
GOG’s refund policy is now by far the most generous among the major players in the digital games store space. PC rivals Steam and Epic both offer a 14-day window on refunds if the game has been played for less than two hours. Sony’s PlayStation Store likewise offers a 14-day window, but only if the game has not been downloaded.
Nintendo does not allow refunds on eShop purchases while Microsoft has no formal refund mechanism for Xbox and PC games but does allow customers to argue their case.
Customers responded to the GOG announcement by showering the GOG Twitter account with praise. “That’s so good to the consumer,” tweeted @Dansgaming. “Huge. Just awesome,” tweeted @CohhCarnage. “Now that’s what I call customer service,” tweeted @Mahboison, “Wish other digital games platforms were also as principled as you guys.”
Game developers, on the other hand, were quick to voice their concern with the potential for GOG customers to abuse the new policy.
Rami Ismail of Dutch indie studio Vlambeer tweeted, “30 days is a lot more than I feel is necessary to evaluate a game, and a lot more than almost all games take to complete if you play them for an hour daily.”
Ragnar Tornquist of Red Thread Games expressed frustration at the general lack of consultation between store holders and the development community.
“Developers are never consulted when Steam or GOG make fundamental changes to their services. They sell OUR games. They make money from OUR games. Why do we not get a say in how OUR games are sold?”
In its FAQ, GOG attempted to placate such criticism from developers:
“We’re monitoring the effects of the current update to make sure no one is using this policy to hurt the developers that put their time and heart into making great games. We may refuse refunds in such individual cases. We’d also let you know about any future adjustments in the voluntary Refund Policy in advance.”
GOG is a digital store front for PC games owned by CD Projekt RED, developer of The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. It sells DRM-free (digital rights management) games from a wide range of publishers and developers with a focus on independent titles.