Epic Games Store Apparently Offers Partial Refunds If A Game You Bought Goes On Sale

Image: Epic Games

Have you ever bought a game digitally only for it to go on sale just a few days later? Annoying, right? Epic Games Store is reportedly streamlining the process of returning and repurchasing a game—so the buyer can take advantage of a late-breaking discount—with a new automated system, which appears to have been rolled out without the usual fanfare.

News of this feature broke earlier today when Studio Mayday founder Joshua Boggs tweeted about his experience receiving a partial refund for a game whose price dropped after he purchased it.

“You recently placed orders from the Epic Games Store,” the email reads. “The price of the game(s) you purchased were recently lowered, so we are issuing partial refunds for the difference(s).”

Previously, the Epic Games Store encouraged players to refund and repurchase any games that went on sale post-purchase in its official refund policy. Steam’s refund policy includes a similar provision. As you can probably tell by the text of the email Boggs shared, however, the Epic Games Store now appears to fully automate this process. Kotaku reached out to Epic for more information on this feature but has yet to hear back.

Epic’s digital storefront has been a source of controversy ever since its debut in late 2018. Consumers were largely dedicated to Steam as the dominant marketplace and unhappy with having to install a new client to play games that were exclusive to the Epic Games Store. But Steam’s monopoly on the PC gaming market also meant that Valve had no incentive to improve the experience. Where were players going to go if they didn’t like a new feature, or disagreed with a specific policy?

No matter your opinion on the Epic Games Store, it should be hard to argue that partial refunds on recently discounted games aren’t a good thing. I don’t have a horse in the race, but this will no doubt push Valve to adopt a similar policy for fear of losing players. And that kind of competition is good news for everyone.


Comments

    Another consumer friendly move from the "anti-consumer" EGS.

    Amazingly generous too, since experience in a wide range of markets suggests that the number of people actually willing to request a refund are only a tiny fraction of sales, even if, for example, your product literally does not work.

      They still have some anti-consumer bullshit garbage to deal with in their suite of policies, but it's starting to look a whole lot like they're finally turning the ship around. Moves like this are actual competition.

        please tell me what "anti-consumer bullshit garbage" they have? im genuinely curious. if youre just going to harp on about exclusives don't bother, they dont charge to install their launcher, that isn't anti consumer. but if you have something else im all ears.

          'Anti-consumer bullshit garbage' is actually probably a little harsh, mostly a knee-jerk reaction to the dismissive bullshit quotes around the fairly-earned anti-consumer label.

          And I think the exclusives shit is still dodgy when it's very clearly targeted to be a replacement for actually improving their service, and comes with their rating the merit of titles to be curated by whether they're willing to be anti-Steam or not, but since you're dismissing it out of hand (for poor reasons - 'don't charge to install the launcher' is not the one and only factor that matters, thanks), I won't bother.

          Instead, two sticking points for me:

          Historical, indication of attitude/trend:
          Their 'war on all other platforms' industrial espionage mode. This goes from their long-time refusal (now caved) to put Fortnite on the Google store through to their API-avoiding 'benign malware' bullshit that was the metaphorical equivalent of breaking into your home so that they could deliver your parcel when you weren't there, resulting in an apology and reversal of the feature. Well-intended, but utterly inappropriate and potentially mis-used, all because they didn't want to use industry standard API calls, because it might provide some information to Steam.
          In the choice between what's good for the consumer and what's good for their stupid fucking vendetta, they picked the vendetta, defended it initially, then walked it back with a apology child-like in its reluctance only when it looked like it might get them in trouble.

          Won't be the last this shit happens. We will undoubtedly see more bone-headed moves like this so long as they internally prioritise consumer rights below their higher priority of the feud with Steam.

          Currently still a (albeit lessened) problem:
          Their long-time dismissal of an in-store review system. They've been all over the shop on this one, and it reeks of trying to placate developers against their common enemy: consumers. They've slowly, slowly walked this one back again and again, til their current iteration of including OpenCritic reviews, which is probably as close as they're going to compromise towards something that's actually useful to consumers, without actually letting them have a voice that isn't sanitised by the industry. The fact that this compromise remains opt-in for developers is also pretty shit.

          It's clear their focus is on 'fuck Steam' first, developers second, consumers third. They're continually adding new features to be competitive, but until this auto-refund feature they've been playing catch-up to the standard minimum, and with only one real strike ahead of Steam on the board, they're still behind on features. (Which is a part of why it's consumer-unfriendly to lock titles to the inferior-running platfrom.)

            API-avoiding 'benign malware' bullshit
            this I am not aware of so yeah pretty poor form if true.
            Their long-time dismissal of an in-store review system
            this i dont really see as an issue. ive never once used reviews on steam to influence a purchasing decision. i only purchase a game if ive already made my mind up that i want it. id much rather watch lets plays on youtube to inform my decision than listen to a bunch of whiney users reviewing a game negatively because some person slightly affiliated with the developer said something their disagree with on twitter.
            but if you get use out of a review system, i am certainly not against there being one, just dont find it a negative to not have one.
            they've been playing catch-up to the standard minimum
            whilst technically the truth, i dont really see how else you expect them to get there apart from not releasing their store front until it has 15 years worth of steam features. that said im not really seeing anything important that they are lacking now that AUD has been implemented.

            at the end of the day i dont particularly care for what reason they are doing things, whether to benefit me or to "fuck steam". i cannot think of anything steam has done to benefit me outside of having good sales about 8 years ago. but epic have given me over 100 free games, and have even better sales than steam does. their launcher is no worse to use than the mess that steam is and ive purchased more games via epic than i have in the last 4 years from steam.

              I was actually just looking at their roadmap, and it's all pretty much coming along as expected on there. They're more or less meeting their targets. Some interesting stuff coming up. Some Steam-like-stuff, such as mod incorporation (good), social features such as friends lists (good) and the ever elusive shopping cart (finally...). I agree they *could* have started from a stronger standpoint? But the fact is, they've literally had people now testing the product out in the wild for what, 18 months? Gaining real feedback and stresstesting it in a real, authentic situation, rather than hypothetical situations. You cannot buy that sort of feedback when it's this authentic. Like said above, and I've been with Steam since day 1, this 'golden era' of Steam (which we're past btw...), was definitely not where we started. I don't condone all the practices they started with? But I also don't think they're anywhere near as drastic as some claim them to be.

      I use it, I use all of them. I don't dislike it at all. I never get dropouts, I find it easy to navigate and I find it to be pretty nice looking. It's improving at a healthy rate. Is it perfect? Nope. It's also not the shitshow Steam has become, laden down with far too many unfinished games and shovelware. So eh.

        Not to mention, the majority of the "unfinished" games are lazy, rehashed asset flips that were just cobbled together without any care or attention.

        Despite on how slim the Epic Game Store is, at least it's more well curated than Steam's rampant splurging of games with varying degrees of quality. Also a lot tougher for unique indie gems to standout on Steam for the most part.

          Indeed. Steam needs, absolutely needs to curate the shit out of their indie titles. There's *so* much trash there. From pure asset flips, to unfinished 'alpha' games (i.e. conjob games) to just pure garbage cobbled together to gain a few bucks. It really needs a more effective system. Do I know what that system is? Nope. But it needs one pronto.

        It's also not as much of a shitshow as Steam was for the first several years after it launched, which is a thing people seem to have forgotten. And Valve also made moves to force people playing their games to Steam well before the platform was really ready.

        I definitely agree with the poster above that Epic seems to be prioritising strategies to force people onto their platform in a somewhat underhanded way rather than actually improving their service. I wish they would not do that, but it's not like Steam was ever any better about this - they just haven't had serious competition in a long while.

        In terms of what's bad for consumers, in the long-run Steam having a near-monopoly on digital game distribution is going to be even worse for consumers than Epic's shady practices.

        ...Personally I buy everything I can on GoG these days, preferring Steam second, but I'm not going to skip a game I'm interested in just because it's exclusive to Epic, either.

          This is true, we're seeing all the games appearing on steam anyhow in shorter and shorter timeframes, so it's starting to balance out. But if Epic's policy here starts to have an effect on Steam? Then great. I distinctly remember purchasing games on Steam in the past which went on sale within a few days and feeling utterly ripped off. I had zero recourse, of course, as I played more than a few hours. I tried, but got knocked back. Of course in terms of consumer law, I don't *think* I had a right to a refund? But this sort of thing is how you attract and keep customers.

    Good policy.

    Still wont make me use the epic launcher.

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