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Author Topic: Valve offers refunds.. at a price  (Read 2073 times)

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Offline kat

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Valve offers refunds.. at a price
« on: June 02, 2015, 10:48:23 PM »
image courtesy Valve

Valve announced it will be offering refunds for Steam Store purchases if requests are made within a 14 day window. There are a couple of other qualifying criteria but essentially most digital content can be refunded so long as it's not been used to any significant degree, two hours in fact. And just how would they know this? Because of the Steam Authentication system, which is why purchase made outside of the service are not being refunded; there would be no way to control access otherwise.

And this is key to the success of programs like this, and one of the primary reasons DRM is pushed on the end user - in order to provide a full 'retail' service on digital goods, sellers have to be able to disable access to the content rather than relying on an implied promise from the user that they manually uninstall and remove all data pertaining to the program being refunded (the way it used to be before platforms like Steam and DRM were a 'thing'). This hasn't been possible ordinarily so software publishers were not that keen on providing refunds (one of the reasons shrink-wrap is still held in high regard - break that and it's implied software has been installed), else users could buy what they wanted, get a refund and keep the item. Retailers obviously want to avoid this at all costs.

The problem is, no-one likes DRM/authentication system, but we do want refunds. Publishers are not adverse to providing refunds on purchases but they want guarantee's content is removed else it's a significant 'loose' for them. If we, gamers in particular, want refunds then authentication/DRM systems are here to stay as they're the only way retailers can offset the risks associated with 'fake' or 'false' claims, provide refunds and block access to software to make doing so effective.

So, next time someone complains about wanting a refund whilst arguing against DRM/authentication systems, remind them of this paradox. There is no cake, let alone cherry and eating in this situation, either we want refunds on purchases and acknowledge this can only be done through the use of DRM, or we take the hit on (poor?) purchases that don't turn out quite as expected (oh the irony of a decent game-press to inform consumers of these things!! *cough*).

 

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