This is just a short little article on the whole Steam Refund “controversy”, and my experience now that I’ve requested one. The game in question is Crypt of the Necrodancer.
I bought Crypt of the Necrodancer; I did not like it. As I’ve noted a few times before, my two favourite musical genres are rhythmic noise (aka, powernoise) and progressive metal. The game advertises that you’d be able to use your own music, which was the big selling feature for me... To each their own, but I don’t like the music the game has by default. I figured, if I could replace the “beatz” the game has by default with some powernoise, it could be a fantastic experience for me. This was, however, not possible.
The “use your own music” feature doesn’t seem to work properly. Now, I’m not exactly blaming the developer for this; it’s entirely possible that the heavy distortion the genre makes its name on screws with the engine it uses to generate beats in the game. But in any event, it’s a deal-breaker for me - if I can’t use my own music, it’s not a game I want to play.
So I requested a refund. The process is pretty easy - just get to the Steam help page on a browser, click on the game you’re having issues with, and click through the steps (the option I chose is something like, “I just don’t like it”), and then write a little blurb stating why you requested a refund.
Now, a big assertion by the anti-refund people went something like, “But people are going to use this to rent games for free!” And you know what? Yeah, that’s exactly what I did here. I rented the game, and I hated it. People then go on to say, “Developers are going to get screwed by this!,” but this is where I disagree. See, every Steam sale (I mean, after the first few, anyway), I have a spending limit of roughly $20-40. The $8.50 this game cost was a big part of that number. So what’d I do after getting my refund? I bought something else. Something that I would have otherwise said, “Nah, I’ll wait ‘til next sale,” to. So, instead of merely yanking money from a dev, I merely gave it to someone else. And in this case, the “Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara” bundle gives me a much better product for my money than Crypt of the Necrodancer does.
Because of my experience in the Steam Refund system, I actually think this will be an invaluable tool for Steam, going forward. I mean, it obviously helps get rids of the absolute garbage that outright does not work at all (or that steals assets, uses false advertising, etc.), but beyond that, I think it helps solve another major steam problem: Clutter.
Everyone has a huge Steam library. I don’t know about everyone else, but I love to micromanage my games... On Steam, I have folders for “PC retro,” “Modern console-style,”etc. But the biggest folder? “Z - Junk”. It has about 40 games in it. These are games that I’ve bought on Steam, but turned out to be absolute shit. If I could have my money back? Shit, I’d have another $200ish freed up to buy other, better games. You know how there are games (like Freedom Planet, go buy it!) that fly under the radar? Those deserve your money. Not the ones sitting in your junk folder.