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request refunds on practically any Steam game within the first two hours of play. Some developers worried about the impact this would have on the way games were designed and played on the service. Today, though, at least one developer sees the Steam refund system as an easy way to provide a “free” demo for their PC releases.
Speaking to AusGamers recently, Arkane Studios Co-creative Director Raphael Colantonio explained that the absence of a demo for the PC edition of Prey—unlike the console versions—was not a big deal:
It’s just a resource assignment thing. We couldn’t do a demo on both the console and on the PC, we had to choose. And besides, PC has Steam. Steam players can just return the game [prior to playing] 2 hours so it’s like a demo already.
like Microsoft’s Xbox Live are following along.
told Ars shortly after Steam refunds were rolled out. “And I’d much rather have a happy noncustomer than a non-happy customer… ‘people not trying your game’ is still a problem 9,900 times bigger than ‘people abusing refunds.'”
In a way, this use of the return policy is a return to the shareware days of the ’90s when “most of us offered 30-day, no-questions-asked refund policies,” as Dejobaan Games’ Ichiro Lambe told Ars. “I created everything from tiny puzzle games to first-person shooters—and the refund rate was well under one percent regardless of game length or genre.”
Elsewhere, in an interview with Gamespot, Colantonio stressed that the PC version of Prey 2 wouldn’t see the same technical issues that plagued recent Arkane release Dishonored 2 for a while after its launch.
“This time we are, given what happened with Dishonored 2, we doubled our thoroughness in making sure that the game is going to run smoothly,” he said. “At this point the game is fully ready, but that’s what we’ve been doing for the past months—a lot of tests on different configurations and making sure it works. So we’re pretty confident. You never know. But we’re pretty confident.”