Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been investigating refund policies further on two of the main PC gaming platforms, Steam and the smaller GOG.com (Good Old Games). I’ve been doing this lately on a few games I wasn’t overly happy with and legitimately wanted to return via digital options.
To my surprise I actually found the Steam refund policy much fairer and faster in terms of providing a refund back to your virtual account, assuming you meet a specific set of criteria. They have a proper system in place for refunds so if you go to the “Support” link on the Steam game you’ve purchased you have the option of selecting a couple of reasons for requesting a refund and voila, the refund ticket is automatically submitted. I bought two games on Steam that were on sale and even though they have been reviewed well by users I found them not to my satisfaction (Dragon’s Dogma and Depth were the games in question).
I submitted a ticket for each of them and within 6 hours I had received notifications from both saying that the funds had been refunded and would remain pending for 7 days, before going back into my steam wallet. The really impressive thing is that I received the funds about a day later.
The criteria to note here on why my Steam refunds were accepted:
- I had played the games less than 2 hours.
- I had requested the refund with 48 hours.
I’m not sure how it would refund policy fares on Steam if you don’t meet that criteria.
Good Old Games is a much smaller gaming platform but being the little guy I was hoping that they also had some really good refund policies. The main difference between Steam and GOG.com is that GOG will only refund if you can’t get the game working. By refund I mean complete return of your money to your bank account. On their website they offer a 30 day money back guarantee but you have to be aware if the game works and meets the minimum system requirements you will not get your money back inside the 30 day window.
Not only that but you have to email GOG.com support to even request a refund – they don’t have an automated system like Steam has. Back in the early days I was having loading issues with No Man’s Sky (before some of the experimental patches came out). I tried logging a ticket and requested a refund. Three days later I got a response that said a patch was being released. That particular GOG representative did not offer me a refund at all. I should have possibly replied again to say that was not what I asked but in fairness a patch did arrive that fixed my problem.
They really mean it on their FAQ page when they say they want to help you get the game working first. Tough if you don’t like the game by the way, which is a big plus on the Steam side. With Steam if you don’t like the game you can just say so as one of the reasons and if it meets that criteria generally you’ll get a credit to your Steam wallet. Not so with GOG.
Then I tried to run No Man’s Sky on my a different PC, a 3rd gen Intel NUC with a Intel 4000 graphics chipset on it. Not surprisingly it didn’t run because it didn’t meet the minimum specifications required. For prosperity I logged another ticket to see what GOG’s response would be. They were very polite but said the 30 day money back guarantee didn’t apply because the required minimum specifications were part of the Terms and Conditions. I thought this was fair enough and thanked them for their response, which took 3 days mind you. This new representative then told me via email I could receive store credit valid for one year if I wanted. I found this to be more than fair so I accepted. I’m not sure if this is standard practice or the representative was trying to be very helpful but I am pleased they were able to help me with my request.
In fairness to GOG with their initial delays in responding I think the terrible initial state of No Man’s Sky has put them on the back foot for answering support tickets. I bet they are re-thinking why they released No Man’s Sky on the GOG platform altogether. Anyway within half a day I had received the funds in my GOG account in place of owning No Man’s Sky. I consider this to be a big win considering No Man’s Sky simply feels unfinished.
In summary, Steam being a bigger player has some great short term refund policies but playing it longer than the mentioned criteria may limit your refund choices. GOG does genuinely seem to try and help you get enjoyment out of the game you’ve purchased before considering other options, but they were more than fair when I dealt with them. My only complaint with GOG is that they can take a while via traditional email (several days) to respond to your request whereas Steam has a great automated refund system in place. I’m glad I had positive experiences overall on both gaming platforms.
When you buy a game always consider that you may not receive a refund. In terms of digital purchases this was the first time I’ve ever asked for a refund. It is important to always read the Terms and Conditions prior to making a digital purchase.