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Very impressive article Jake! You are very talented.
nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
In the past, Steam refunds were rarely offered and went by an individual basis. Today, they can be requested for almost any reason and are causing much unrest for developers.
Although Steam’s refund feature has been available for a week, some developers claim that the refund rate for their games has jumped to anywhere from 30% to 70%. The developers of Revenge of the Titans, Puppygames, are part of this category. They tweeted that there is a “55% refund rate on RoTT alone. Versus five refunds in 10 years direct”. Qwiboo has also tweeted out a stat except it was much higher than Puppygames’ refund rate. “Out of 18 sales 13 refunded in just last 3 days. That’s 72% of purchases. Rate of refunds before was minimal.”
With the developers that are freaking out over this spike in refunds, Phil Tibitoski who is president at Young Horses (creator of Octodad) is part of the group that isn’t. He said that he’s “hoping it’s just an initial surge” and his company isn’t panicking, but “trying to to understand and find a correlation to guess as to why they were returned.”
Even though the requirements for refunds say that players must have owned the game for less than 14 days and played the game for less than 2 hours, Tibitoski believes that Valve is approving refund requests for games that have been played for more than 2 hours and owned for longer than 14 days. His suspicions could be true because Valve’s post on refunds states that “even if you fall outside of the refund rules we’ve described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we’ll take a look.”
Currently, it’s not proven that people are abusing this new system, but for now one thing for sure is that people are definitely using the new feature to their advantage and this could be detrimental to the motivation to create indie games.