Summer of 58 Dev quits over steam return policy

Insomniator

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On the surface, people complaining/returning/crying about only 2 hours for less than 10 bucks is embarrassing.

However, I wonder if the length was noted prior to purchase, would a ton of people still be returning? Or not have purchased to begin with? If I were playing a game and got blindsided by an ending hours sooner than I though -- I could see the anger.

Guess I'm trying to think about how many are just immoral jerks/thieves vs genuinely surprised and unhappy.
 

trasixes

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Here is the real issue - these people aren't getting a refund because they felt cheated, or disliked the game - they are leaving positive reviews, or at least not leaving a negative review (why wouldn't you, if you felt the game wasn't worth the price??).

These are cheapskate jerks looking to get the experience for free.
 

staknhalo

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meh, there have been far too many 'indie devs' for a while now anyway

herd could use a good culling; so quality might then improve over quantity
 

kju1

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Also I would say I have never requested a refund for a game on steam. Not even No Man's Sky. Some of the games I bought and thought they were real stinkers. But I made the choice so I live with the consequences. It is not like we are talking about a bank breaking experience here anyway. Show some self control, be an adult, and own your mistakes.
 

DukenukemX

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Here is the real issue - these people aren't getting a refund because they felt cheated, or disliked the game - they are leaving positive reviews, or at least not leaving a negative review (why wouldn't you, if you felt the game wasn't worth the price??).

These are cheapskate jerks looking to get the experience for free.
If people felt the game is good then why would they return it? Don't they plan to play the game again? Are these people who live in countries where the average income is the equivalent of $200 per month? Who bothers to leave a review of a game they liked but also returned it? I believe most people who return the game didn't bother to leave any review at all. This just seems like someone is pushing an agenda to punish those who return products. People have the right to return products regardless if they used the product or not. The flip side is that nobody can return anything and we just end up screwing the customer instead.
 

kju1

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People have the right to return products regardless if they used the product or not.

This is not true. Federal law only requires a return if defective or if the sale contract was violated. Federal law also includes a "cooling off period" of three days for purchases over $25 for *some sales*. It does not cover online purchases at all. Most, if not all, states defer to the sales contract you agreed to upon purchase.

In this particular case the sales contract allowed for a 2 hour return, which clearly was abused by people to play for free. Sucks? Sure but its the contract the dev agreed to.

But to make a blanket statement that people can return a product regardless of use? That is just wrong.
 

Armenius

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This is not true. Federal law only requires a return if defective or if the sale contract was violated. Federal law also includes a "cooling off period" of three days for purchases over $25 for *some sales*. It does not cover online purchases at all. Most, if not all, states defer to the sales contract you agreed to upon purchase.

In this particular case the sales contract allowed for a 2 hour return, which clearly was abused by people to play for free. Sucks? Sure but its the contract the dev agreed to.

But to make a blanket statement that people can return a product regardless of use? That is just wrong.
It's to comply with European law. Valve was facing fines if they did not change their policy.
 

trasixes

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If people felt the game is good then why would they return it? Don't they plan to play the game again? Are these people who live in countries where the average income is the equivalent of $200 per month? Who bothers to leave a review of a game they liked but also returned it? I believe most people who return the game didn't bother to leave any review at all. This just seems like someone is pushing an agenda to punish those who return products. People have the right to return products regardless if they used the product or not. The flip side is that nobody can return anything and we just end up screwing the customer instead.
If people felt the game is good then why would they return it?

No replay value, essentially a one and done experience.

This just seems like someone is pushing an agenda to punish those who return products.

There isn't really an agenda being pushed - an abnormally large number of people are refunding a game with 'Very positive' reviews. It's anomalous. There were also posts on reddit (among other places) explaining the loophole, and how to get/play the game for free.

Who bothers to leave a review of a game they liked but also returned it? I believe most people who return the game didn't bother to leave any review at all.

Probably the equal and opposite of the folks buying and leaving positive reviews (also stated they have no intention of playing the game) to support the devs.

People have the right to return products regardless if they used the product or not. The flip side is that nobody can return anything and we just end up screwing the customer instead.

Not 'right', privilege. Only if the retailer extends this privilege, which in this case is only if you've played the game 2 hours or less. Also, no one is saying that privilege should be revoked - this was clearly a mistake by the developer (any loophole will be exploited). If you've ever spent time on Slickdeals - you know there is a disproportionately large number of people that will exploit ANY loophole to get free stuff. Ask Toys 'R' Us.
 

cybereality

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I think refund policies are good, and do protect the customer (as well as stopping developers from making troll games).

They should be used in cases where the game just doesn't work on your system (common with older games) or there are game-breaking bugs (maybe apt for Cyberpunk) or where the images and description on the store page are misleading.

But the rules that Steam sets clearly are aimed at more AAA titles, when the full game is a 10 hour+ experience. In that case, it works.

For an indie game that is only 1 or 2 hours, it is not really fair to play the whole thing and then get refund (particularly more so if the game was good and you are just a cheap-ass).
 

staknhalo

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I feel like if anything this just shows once again a flaw in valve's approach to make everything they can with steam as hands off and automated as possible without employing someone/a team for it while they spend their money making some hologram trashcan or whatever shit they're cooking up now instead

but also with the amount of steam users and amount of refund requests I can't really fault them for it here, but still a problem at large IMO
 

wizzi01

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I think refund policies are good, and do protect the customer (as well as stopping developers from making troll games).

They should be used in cases where the game just doesn't work on your system (common with older games) or there are game-breaking bugs (maybe apt for Cyberpunk) or where the images and description on the store page are misleading.

But the rules that Steam sets clearly are aimed at more AAA titles, when the full game is a 10 hour+ experience. In that case, it works.

For an indie game that is only 1 or 2 hours, it is not really fair to play the whole thing and then get refund (particularly more so if the game was good and you are just a cheap-ass).

That's the only time I've ever requested a refund. It was either lego Indiana Jones 1 or 2. For whatever reason the game constantly crashed no matter what settings I tried.
 

Armenius

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I feel like if anything this just shows once again a flaw in valve's approach to make everything they can with steam as hands off and automated as possible without employing someone/a team for it while they spend their money making some hologram trashcan or whatever shit they're cooking up now instead

but also with the amount of steam users and amount of refund requests I can't really fault them for it here, but still a problem at large IMO
You should direct your ire at GOG, then. You can refund a game at any time within 30 days, for any reason. It's not limited to just 2 hours play time.
 

staknhalo

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You should direct your ire at GOG, then. You can refund a game at any time within 30 days, for any reason. It's not limited to just 2 hours play time.

Don't use GOG, don't care what they do/don't do

I use Steam, so I criticise them for the things I see in just using their product that they deserve criticism for IMO.
 

DukenukemX

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Don't use GOG, don't care what they do/don't do

I use Steam, so I criticise them for the things I see in just using their product that they deserve criticism for IMO.
Just seems like you're moving the argument to where you can win.
But to make a blanket statement that people can return a product regardless of use? That is just wrong.
Wrong for who? Someone is going to lose here. It's either the seller or the buyer, and I side with the buyer. There's a lesson to be learned here and that's to make a game that lasts longer than 1 hour. Yes it's a 1 hour game. It's also a game worth ever playing once.
No replay value, essentially a one and done experience.
That's bad game design.
There isn't really an agenda being pushed - an abnormally large number of people are refunding a game with 'Very positive' reviews. It's anomalous. There were also posts on reddit (among other places) explaining the loophole, and how to get/play the game for free.
You assume the reviews are genuine and honest. Loopholes to get the game for free? They call that piracy and you don't need to abuse a return policy to do it. Quick search shows that people can pirate the game through good old bit-torrent so why even bother with a return policy?
Probably the equal and opposite of the folks buying and leaving positive reviews (also stated they have no intention of playing the game) to support the devs.
The reviews are from people who have no intention to play the game? So we know this is a good game because....?
Not 'right', privilege. Only if the retailer extends this privilege, which in this case is only if you've played the game 2 hours or less. Also, no one is saying that privilege should be revoked - this was clearly a mistake by the developer (any loophole will be exploited). If you've ever spent time on Slickdeals - you know there is a disproportionately large number of people that will exploit ANY loophole to get free stuff. Ask Toys 'R' Us.
If the retailer won't let me return the product then I call my credit card company and get the money back that way. If returning products is a problem then I won't shop with them again. Like someone mentioned I can go with GoG and get a 30 day return period. Then people will turn to piracy and then we'll wonder why people aren't buying our 1hour one and done $8 games? I've seen developers claim they would rather have people pirate their game instead of gaming the system and you really don't want that as that's a slippery slope.
 

staknhalo

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Just seems like you're moving the argument to where you can win.
LMAO when GOG was brought up as a 'whatabout' in a discussion about Steam when I myself was talking about Steam? Who's just trying to win here buddy? Knock it off.
 

trasixes

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That's bad game design.

Typically I'd agree, but it is priced accordingly, IMO.

You assume the reviews are genuine and honest. Loopholes to get the game for free? They call that piracy and you don't need to abuse a return policy to do it. Quick search shows that people can pirate the game through good old bit-torrent so why even bother with a return policy?

Not piracy - they don't keep the game after refunded. One is legal, the other is not - that matters to some people.

The reviews are from people who have no intention to play the game? So we know this is a good game because....?

Some of them are, yes, and they state as much. How do we ever truly know anything is good? You can't know it's good until you try it. Others seemed to enjoy it, though.

If the retailer won't let me return the product then I call my credit card company and get the money back that way. If returning products is a problem then I won't shop with them again. Like someone mentioned I can go with GoG and get a 30 day return period. Then people will turn to piracy and then we'll wonder why people aren't buying our 1hour one and done $8 games? I've seen developers claim they would rather have people pirate their game instead of gaming the system and you really don't want that as that's a slippery slope.

Back in the 90s, return policies on video games were adopted by virtually every retailer - once it is opened, it is exchange for the exact same game only. The reasoning behind that was that so many were.... drumroll please.... buying games, playing the crap out of them or realizing they were terrible, and then returning them for a full refund. My brother, at the time a teen, did this with Final Fantasy III on the Super Nintendo, and it was a common thing amongst his group of friends. I wasn't into consoles - I'm old school PCMR!
 

GoodBoy

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Here is the real issue - these people aren't getting a refund because they felt cheated, or disliked the game - they are leaving positive reviews, or at least not leaving a negative review (why wouldn't you, if you felt the game wasn't worth the price??).

These are cheapskate jerks looking to get the experience for free.

You can't possibly know all the possible reasons someone chose to refund the game.

It's likely that some do in fact fall into the group you describe. What is not known is the size of that group.

All this speculation is rather pointless without more information. How many people have actually refunded this game? What percentage is that of the total copies sold? I haven't seen that information anywhere.

I hold that the software author knew the terms of Steam before putting his "game" for sale there, and agreed to all terms. Such is required to sell software on the platform. Therefore he should not have created a game that was such a short experience, if he finds game refunds from players with less than 2 hours of logged gameplay unacceptable.
 
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trasixes

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You can't possibly know all the possible reasons someone chose to refund the game.

It's likely that some do in fact fall into the group you describe. What is not know is the size of that group.

All this speculation is rather pointless without more information. How many people have actually refunded this game? What percentage is that of the total copies sold? I haven't seen that information anywhere.

I hold that the software author knew the terms of Steam before putting his "game" for sale there, and agreed to all terms. Such is required to sell software on the platform. Therefore he should not have created a game that was such a short experience, if he finds game refunds from players with less than 2 hours of logged gameplay unacceptable.
No one can ever know for certain, I think that was pretty obvious coming into this discussion. We'll never have the data to confirm either way.

I'll also say the naivete of the author, and the douchebaggery of those refunding aren't mutually exclusive - both are probably true.
 

Comixbooks

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I know more about returns than any if you guys. People get that guilt trip after buying something so they return it to the service desk then all the shit stockpiles up in the back room giving Chris headaches. Steam lets you refund about 50 games then you get a warning its just a warning you won't get banned but your return privileges are put on notice I know Poly is foaming at the mouth.
 

thecold

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I know more about returns than any if you guys. People get that guilt trip after buying something so they return it to the service desk then all the shit stockpiles up in the back room giving Chris headaches. Steam lets you refund about 50 games then you get a warning its just a warning you won't get banned but your return privileges are put on notice I know Poly is foaming at the mouth.

50 games, holy shit. I haven't returned 50 things in my entire life and that includes broken shit out of box.
 

cybereality

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So the game has almost 1,000 very positive reviews. SteamSpy estimates that it sold between 20k and 50k copies.

At $9 each, that sounds like a lot of money (and it's not bad for an indie game made mostly by one person) but development could have taken 1 year or more, meaning it may not even be break even.

If the game was bad, out of those 10's of thousands of purchases, it would have gotten bad reviews. The fact that it is still very positive means the game is likely well received (and I played it, the game is really good actually).

So the only logical conclusion is that people played the game, maybe even liked it (but wanted it to be longer, sure, because they enjoyed it). Then proceeded to get a refund so they could game the system and cheat the developer.

And that is a dick move. No two ways about it.
 

DukenukemX

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Back in the 90s, return policies on video games were adopted by virtually every retailer - once it is opened, it is exchange for the exact same game only. The reasoning behind that was that so many were.... drumroll please.... buying games, playing the crap out of them or realizing they were terrible, and then returning them for a full refund. My brother, at the time a teen, did this with Final Fantasy III on the Super Nintendo, and it was a common thing amongst his group of friends. I wasn't into consoles - I'm old school PCMR!
Back then we had this thing called Block Buster and you could do the same thing for a nominal fee. People who are broke will find ways to game on the cheap, and gaming is an expensive hobby. Considering the game takes play in Soviet Russia or some country that used to be USSR, me thinks a lot of those who bought and returned it were from one of those places. $8 maybe appropriately priced for Americans and most Europeans but I don't think Russia or ex-Russian countries could afford $8.
 

cybereality

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That is a good point. The developer is Russian and the only 2 supported languages are English and Russian (both sub-titled, there are no voice actors).
 

Rizen

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$8.99 is cheap, but it is not 2 hours cheap.

I expect to get a AAA single player game on sale at $29.99 or less depending on the title, 2-3 years after launch, and I expect to get 40 hours for that. Not 40 hours of useless padded content, but 40 hours off true game and good story.

For 2 hours? I'd expect it to cost $1.50, and I'd expect to be warned about the short gameplay in advance so it wasn't a surprise.

I'm not going to lie, if I bought a game and only got two hours out of it I'd probably be pissed off and possibly request a refund as well.
How much do you pay to go see a movie?
 

Rizen

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I haven't gone to see a movie in almost two decades.

Either way it is an irrelevant comparison. A video game is not a movie.
It's a perfectly relevant comparison. They are both entertainment products.

It's also not like you wouldn't know the approximate length of a game, assuming you read a review of the product first. People can assess the value for themselves. I don't think $8.99 for a 2 hour original game is completely absurd. There have been $60 AAA games you can beat in <10 hours for a long time.
 
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cybereality

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You are paying for an experience. Not just to be distracted from your life for a fixed period of time. If you enjoyed the experience, then it was worth it.

Like, a 3 minute lap dance for $20 can be totally worth it. Are you going to tell the girl the dance should have been 2 hours and demand your money back? See how quick you get kicked out the club.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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It's a perfectly relevant comparison. They are both entertainment products.

It's also not you wouldn't know the approximate length of a game, assuming you read a review of the product first. People can assess the value for themselves. I don't think $8.99 for a 2 hour original game is completely absurd. There have been $60 AAA games you can beat in <10 hours for a long time.

I would argue that no game ever made is worth $60 regardless of how long it is, but that is a completely different story.

The markets for movies and games are very different and thus have different expectations associated with them. People don't expect to stop a movie, go to bed, continue it the next day for weeks or months on end like they do with a video game.

Furthermore, the fee for a movie is all inclusive. You are not just paying to view the licensed content, you are also paying for the rent of the facility, the equipment used to display the film (which is way more expensive than home gear) the furniture in the place, the salaries of the staff, including both ticket sales, cleaning, etc, and the electricity to make it all worth.

With a video game, you are just paying to use the content providing everything else (which is quite expensive, and probably represents the majority of the cost of a movie theater, even though I do understand that they can get quite pressed on licensing fees which is why their concessions cost their weight in gold.)

Either way, the industries are completely different, have completely different cost structures, and the customers in those industries have completely different expectations. As such it is not an apples to apples comparison. It's not even an apples to oranges comparison. It's more like an apples to tractor tires comparison.
 

Rizen

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I would argue that no game ever made is worth $60 regardless of how long it is, but that is a completely different story.

The markets for movies and games are very different and thus have different expectations associated with them. People don't expect to stop a movie, go to bed, continue it the next day for weeks or months on end like they do with a video game.

Furthermore, the fee for a movie is all inclusive. You are not just paying to view the licensed content, you are also paying for the rent of the facility, the equipment used to display the film (which is way more expensive than home gear) the furniture in the place, the salaries of the staff, including both ticket sales, cleaning, etc, and the electricity to make it all worth.

With a video game, you are just paying to use the content providing everything else (which is quite expensive, and probably represents the majority of the cost of a movie theater, even though I do understand that they can get quite pressed on licensing fees which is why their concessions cost their weight in gold.)

Either way, the industries are completely different, have completely different cost structures, and the customers in those industries have completely different expectations. As such it is not an apples to apples comparison. It's not even an apples to oranges comparison. It's more like an apples to tractor tires comparison.
This is all true, but we're discussing the value of the product to you as the consumer not what the costs are behind the product.

And IMO time is the most valuable resource anyway.
 

cybereality

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Furthermore, the fee for a movie is all inclusive. You are not just paying to view the licensed content, you are also paying for the rent of the facility, the equipment used to display the film (which is way more expensive than home gear) the furniture in the place, the salaries of the staff, including both ticket sales, cleaning, etc, and the electricity to make it all worth.
So you think video games appear out of the ether for free? That the developers don't work for years, that there aren't programmers, artists, musicians, designers, writers, etc. that all need to be paid and survive for years at a time before the game even makes a penny? Your argument makes no sense.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So you think video games appear out of the ether for free? That the developers don't work for years, that there aren't programmers, artists, musicians, designers, writers, etc. that all need to be paid and survive for years at a time before the game even makes a penny? Your argument makes no sense.

Development sure takes skilled people time. The same is true for films. All I am saying is that video games do not have the additional labor and costs involved at the retail level which amount to unit cost. A video game is one and done. The costs are the same whether they sell it to 1 person or 10 million people. At that point additional sales are pure revenue. (yes, there are some ongoing patching efforts, etc. but these too don't cost more the more people buy the game).

Your movie ticket has to pay for both the one and done cost of producing the film AND the incremental cost incurred by you walking in the door. That was my point.

Either way, any conversation on costs is mostly irrelevant, as product costs in a market have very little to do with what they cost to produce, and more to do with what the customers are willing to pay. As I've said before, the expectations in the video game business are very different than those in the movie business. People expect a movie to be over in two hours. People don't expect that for a game. They expect to get at least a few weeks of entertainment out of a video game purchase.

And it all has to do with expectations matching what is delivered. If you know what you are getting upfront, then you make your own decision if it is worth the money, and you don't have a problem. If you think a game isnt worth it, you just don't buy it. No problem.

It's when the what is delivered does not match the expecations that you have a problem.
 

Lateralus

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Layers of Fear is one of the all time best horror games, maybe the best actually. Not a lot of jump scares, it's mostly psychological but very well done. Rooms melting, dolls crawling on the ceiling, that sort of thing.

Summer of '58 is alright if you go in knowing it's a short indie title. The graphics are good, but there isn't voice acting, for example. I mean, it is worth playing but not on the level of Layers of Fear.
I’d had Layers of Fear in my backlog for a while now, and your post convinced me to finally play it. I played through it today in one sitting. Just one ending though; I know there are like 3. So it was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, but at the same time it hooked me enough to play all the way through it in however many hours it took. I’d like to play it again at night, with headphones.

With that being said, I don’t think for me it’s the best horror title ever. Off the top of my head, I’d rank Amnesia: TDD, Outlast, Alien: Isolation, SOMA, Penumbra, Silent Hill 2, System Shock 2, and Dead Space above it. But Layers of Fear is good. I just thought that the puzzles were rather simplistic at times and I wasn’t expecting what essentially amounted to a walking simulator through a seemingly endless number of doors. But man, it’s a trip and a mindfunk at times. Parts of it are very, very cool.
 
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