Steam Changes Refund Policy to Stop Freeloaders

Steam Changes Refund Policy to Stop Freeloaders

Image: T. Schneider (Shutterstock)

Steam’s refund policy for games is simple: You have two hours to play the game after you buy it to decide if you want to keep it. Like all good things, some folks decided to take advantage of a loophole, and now Valve has changed its policy to close it.

Valve posted an update to the refund policy on Tuesday saying:

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.

This change is specifically regarding “Advance Access,” which is a perk available for those who preorder a game that lets them play the game before the it is officially released. This can be a few days or even a week before the official release date and is often seen in major games like last year’s Starfield.

The loophole was that the refund clock would only start after the game was officially released. So if someone gained advanced access to a game, played it for a few days before its actual release date, they could then get a refund on the day of the game’s release.

Now this change doesn’t affect Early Access games. Developers will release a game under Early Access allowing gamers to buy and play the game as it’s being actively developed. Most titles in Early Access can stay in this stage for years before they officially “release.” In the case of 7 Days to Die, that game was in Early Access for 12 years but will have a full release in June.

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