A War Between Developers Who Don’t Want To Make PC Game Demos And Steam’s Refund Policy Is Brewing

For nearly two years Valve has offered a refund policy on Steam. Considered a great move for consumers, the policy has allowed Steam users to purchase games with reduced risk.

As with anything that seems too good to be true, the policy has been prone to widespread abuse; not only by Steam users, but those who create the games in the first place.

When speaking with AusGamers, Arkane Studios co-creative director Raphael Colantonio was asked why Prey's demo was made console exclusive. His response was that PC gamers will eventually be able to try the game out for "free" by utilizing the Steam refund policy, stating that "it's like a demo already".

Although Arkane Studios seems to view the policy as a means for gamers to demo a title before committing money to its purchase, Valve doesn't view it in the same way. The official page states, "​Refunds are designed to remove the risk from purchasing titles on Steam", adding, "If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you".

Valve has made clear that abuse of the system will result in denied requests, an outcome that has affected numerous users who have used the system to complete smaller titles before getting their money back. Due to this, there may be some potential Prey customers on PC who will eventually want a refund, and might just have their request denied.


Valve has the final say on whether or not your refund request is accepted.

This raises the question: why do PC gamers want a Prey demo so bad? Well, the answer to that is two-fold.

For one, gamers have been taken advantage of by publishers for several years in the pursuit of maximized profits, and it's only gotten worse. Billions of dollars spent marketing unspectacular games has made many gamers think twice before buying a product at full price, even when it looks really good.

Secondly, Prey looks really good, and its demo is a fantastic showcase of what it'll offer. Called Opening Hour, it includes the entire first hour of the title with no limitations, serving as a near-perfect solution to buyer's remorse.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About Prey

Arkane Studios is not the first developer to view Steam's refund policy in this way. Although you won't find dozens of co-creative directors running around telling everyone that Steam's refund policy is a means for trialing games, what you will find is a lack of demos of PC games in a world where console demos are bountiful.

If anything, there should be more PC demos than that of consoles given that technical issues are a graver concern on PC, and there is a much greater quantity of PC games.

Valve probably won't take kindly to what Colantonio said, especially given that Prey is currently being pre-ordered in high volume, charting at the number two spot on its top seller list. But ultimately, you can purchase Prey and probably get a refund if you really want to, so long as Valve doesn't tighten its policy any time soon. Let's hope not, because the Steam refund policy is one of the best things to happen to PC gaming in a long time.