Steam Changes Refund Rules To Close ‘Early Access’ Preorder Loophole

Steam Changes Refund Rules To Close ‘Early Access’ Preorder Loophole

Steam is making some changes to its refund policy. The change is a simple one, but it may deal a bit of a blow to upcoming games like Star Wars Outlaws, that boast special editions that grant several days of “early access” to drive preorders.

The changes are detailed in a short, rather terse blog post. The entire post comprises a single paragraph, so here it is in full:

“Today we have updated a portion of our Refund Policy regarding pre-purchased titles. This change covers titles that are in pre-purchase and offer “Advanced Access”. Playtime acquired during the Advanced Access period will now count towards the Steam refund period. You can find our more information regarding Steam Refunds here.”

Essentially, Steam is updating its standard period for refund eligibility to include these “early access” windows. Any time spent playing these games during that “early access” period will now be counted within the platform’s refund rules. Steam is saying what we’ve been saying: It’s not actually early access. It’s effectively the normal release date, but only the people who’ve shelled out extra for preorder-only ultimate editions can play.

It’s answering a growing problem for Steam. Because the “early access” period didn’t count against the Steam refund window, people would preorder these expensive editions and play throughout the access period. Then, once the game launched and was publicly available, the refund window would begin. They’d play through that, get their fill, and then ask for their money back. They’re effectively gaming the system and adding a few extra days to their refund window. And fair enough, honestly. This was entirely within the rules!

And now it isn’t.

Image: Steam, Ubisoft

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