What is the New Refund Policy for Early Access and Advanced Access Games on Steam?


Valve has recently updated its refund policy for games purchased through its Early Access and Advanced Access programs on Steam.

Previously, players could request a refund for these games within 14 days of purchase, regardless of how many hours they had played before the official release date.

However, the new policy now counts the playtime accrued during the Early Access or Advanced Access period towards the two-hour refund limit.

How Does the New Refund Policy Work?

According to the updated refund policy, when you purchase a title on Steam before its release date, the two-hour playtime limit for refunds will apply, except for beta testing.

However, the 14-day period for refunds will not start until the release date.

This means that Steam still offers refunds for any reason within 14 days but under the 2 hours of playtime limit.

You can get your money back if you simply don’t enjoy a game or accidentally purchase the wrong title.

The only change is that you can’t play early-access titles indefinitely before deciding on a refund.

Two hours is still a reasonable window to judge if you want to keep playing.

What About Pre-Purchased Games?

For games that are pre-purchased but not playable before the release date, you can request a refund at any time before the release.

Once the game is released, the standard 14-day/two-hour refund period will apply.

Why Did Valve Update the Refund Policy?

The primary reason for this update appears to be closing a loophole that allowed players to play Early Access and Advanced Access games indefinitely before launch and still request a refund after the official release date.

By counting the playtime during these pre-release periods, Valve aims to ensure that players have a fair opportunity to evaluate the game within the two-hour limit before committing to the purchase.

What Does This Mean for Players and Developers?

For players, the updated policy means that they need to be more cautious when purchasing and playing Early Access or Advanced Access games. While they still have the opportunity to request a refund within the two-hour limit, they can no longer exploit the previous loophole and play for an extended period before making a final decision.

For developers, this change could potentially impact the feedback and testing process for their Early Access or Advanced Access games. Players may be more hesitant to invest significant playtime before the official release, potentially limiting the amount of feedback and bug reports developers receive during the early stages.

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