A Marvel Heroes player who goes by EITTurtle bought the game on Xbox in July. Since then, he says he's sunk $US400 ($529) in microtransactions, unlocking characters such as Spider Man, Storm and Captain America. Earlier this week, Marvel announced that the game's servers will be shut down in December. And EITTurtle, like many other players, is now begging for a refund.
Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play "Marvel Diablo" game that developer Gazillion Entertainment released on PC in 2013. Earlier this year, Gazillion ported the game to Xbox One and PS4. Players could access a few characters without paying, but to get all of the game's heroes, you'd have to buy them at around $US5 ($7) per character or in packs costing $US20 ($26). You could also spend money on other add-ons, such as costumes. Earlier this week, after Gazillion lost its contract with Marvel, the company said said it would remove real-money purchases ASAP.
It was good and well for Gazillion to make the whole game free during its sunset hours, but console players are peeved - and in some cases, furious - that they only got a couple of months' play out of Squirrel Girl and her superhero kin, especially since many invested a chunk of cash into the game. On PC, players might have had years to enjoy their premium heroes, but console players have just had a few months. A few players have reported snagging refunds for Xbox purchases made in the last month or so, but dozens on the /r/MarvelHeroes subreddit have posted comments about their own failed efforts.
Marvel, Sony, Microsoft and Gazillion did not return requests for comment on how Marvel Heroes is handling refunds. But Marvel Heroes' terms of service says that Gazillion can get rid of the game and in-game content whenever it wants and owe its users nothing, a clause that is included in just about every game that sells add-ons.
"I know there a lot of hard working players out there that take pride in grinding and spending hours to unlock characters," EITTurtle told me. "I am not one of those people... for me, time is money." He says when he tried to get a refund, Xbox Support told him that they didn't yet have official word on how Gazillion plans to handle the process.
Seanacy Fillock, who spent over 700 hours playing the game, mostly on PC but a little on PS4, said he isn't demanding a refund for his PC gear because he's had it for so long, but that he didn't get his money's worth in the few months he had the game on console. He said he was actually connected to a Sony customer support agent who was also trying to get a refund for the game. The agent, however, could not help him get his money back. Andrew S., who has spent $US75 ($99) on in-game Marvel Heroes purchases, sent Kotaku screenshots in which a Microsoft support specialist says that Andrew can't get his money back.
Andrew added that Marvel Heroes' servers shutting down feels like "a slap in the face on several levels", adding that "I barely had it and it's already leaving."