No Man’s Sky for the PlayStation 4 and PC has generated more buzz for drama outside the game than the actual gameplay itself. An Inquisitr report over the weekend suggested players were receiving refunds for the game despite putting in dozens of hours of playtime. An update to the game’s Steam page suggests this is not always the case as the controversy grows to include inflammatory statements from former Sony executives.
Reports took off over the weekend that No Man’s Sky owners were able to successfully receive refunds for their digital purchases of the games from Steam, Amazon, and Sony’s PlayStation Store. This occurred even when owners exceeded the two-hour time limit for automatic refunds imposed by Steam, for example.
The refunds are related to more of the quirky nature of the No Man’s Sky drama and not necessarily a change in any policy from the retailers. In fact, Steam highlighted the following message on the game’s Steam page above the ability to purchase the title.
So, how are some Steam users able to get refunds despite going over the two-hour play limit details in the Steam refund policy? The policy is only for a no-questions-asked refund that can be given for any reason. Those getting refunds outside of the two-hour window are contacting Steam customer service through phone, email, or chat and requesting refunds.
For example, JensonCat on Reddit showed proof of his refund after playing the game approximately 15 hours. He stated he received his refund after including “info about the launch day problems, and issues getting it to run. Then went to include info about general lack of content and how the game as advertised by the devs was not what was given to the players.”
It is essentially up to the customer service agent’s discretion to determine whether an individual should receive a refund for a game or not. This is not necessarily a change in Steam’s refund policy as much as it is a perfect storm of controversy and drama surrounding Hello Games’ promises in various interviews and marketing material plus what customers felt they received with No Man’s Sky. Retailers are merely reacting to keep their customer’s happy.
The rush to refund No Man’s Sky has definitely had an impact on the number of owners, however. SteamSpy shows ownership peaked at 784,990 on August, 24. This number dropped to 758,952 on August 27 when word of the refunds first started to spread through the community.
The No Man’s Sky refund controversy has also opened up the question of when players are entitled to a refund on a game. Former Sony Europe executive Shahid Kamal Ahmad argued Sunday that those attempting to get refunds on a game they’ve played 50 hours on were thieves.
“If you’re getting a refund after playing a game for 50 hours you’re a thief,” he wrote via his personal Twitter account.
“Here’s the good news: Most players are not thieves. Most players are decent, honest people without whose support there could be no industry,” Kamal continued.
“We’re not talking about a consumer product in the factory sense,” he added. “We’re talking about a work of art. You can’t just treat it like a widget.”
“As a customer and a player before I was ever a developer, I’d only have asked for my money back if the game was broken at boot time,” the former Sony executive concluded.
Kamal backed off his hardline statement later when one Twitter follower pointed out the situation was not always so cut and dry.
This is also fair. Each case should be considered on its own merits and perhaps I shouldn’t be so unequivocal. https://t.co/1pAVdOXMTL— Shahid Kamal Ahmad (@shahidkamal) August 28, 2016
That appears to be the issue with No Man’s Sky currently. Owners are providing information to retailers on how often the game crashes or promised features are missing, which were advertised. Customer service representatives are then making the decision to offer refunds based on the provided information, just as it normally would.
The biggest loser in all of this is not the retailer or the consumer, but the reputation of Sean Murray and Hello Games.
[Image via Hello Games]