No Money Down: Steam Lets You Cancel Pre-Orders

By Graham Smith on January 27th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Put your Steam back in the bottle.

This seems like a very odd feature for Steam not to have already had, but there we go. If you pre-order a game through Valve’s digital distribution service, you can now cancel that order and be automatically refunded for the cost of the game.

Previously cancelling pre-ordered items required you to contact Steam support in order to receive a refund, but now the funds will instantly appear in your Steam wallet and the game will be removed from your account.

Assuming you’ve let the platform update recently, the feature should already be a part of your client. Valve don’t tend to announce this stuff, so its presence was first spotted in the wild by Steam forum user donham.

Of course, instead of relying on a feature like this, a better idea would be not to pre-order games. Pre-ordering is there specifically to hook you into buying a game before you have all the information necessary to make an intelligent purchasing decision. Developers will try to sweeten the madness of that with bonus weapons, items and missions, though normally the bonus materials are sub-par or actively imbalance the base game. The only world in which pre-ordering makes sense for players is one of genuine scarcity, which of course digital distribution eradicates.

Still, it’s good news that you can refund your past mistakes.

Thanks, ValveTime.

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82 Comments »

  1. Syme says:

    Oh they got this all screwed up.

    Steam Lets You Cancel Pre-Orders? No, Money Down!

  2. Syme says:

    If only this was the AV Club, I’d have a hundred upvotes already.

  3. El_Emmental says:

    Apparently the refund funds only go to your Steam Wallet (just like many stores only refund in gift cards).

    If your national consumer law (and your national ‘international law’ regarding which law applies to your situation) gives you the right to a money refund (on your bank account), like in the UK (apparently), you will stil be able to ask for a real-money refund through a ticket on Steam Support (just like before they implemented that automatic system).

    The main idea here is to allow Steam users, who are still going to spend their leisure money on Steam, get a very quick refund – while avoiding the banks’ fees for refunds.

    That way, Steam Support will only have to manually handle the few refunds in real-money. It *should* speed up the process, maybe taking no more than 3-4 days on average (rather than the current usual full week).

    -

    There is no official words regarding Early Access refunds yet.

    It sounds unlikely, as it would really put developers at risk, and force Steam to dig into its own money (when the money was used and is no longer in the developers’ hands) and force developers to pay the bill. I don’t think Gaben wants to be a debt collector.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      I just hope if you contact support they will actually read your ticket and refund to your bank if that’s what you want instead of sending a copy paste “You can do it from the client” response without reading your ticket, thus meaning you have to wait another few days for a response. Because being the biggest digital distribution platform on PC means Valve can’t afford phone or live chat support for some reason.

      • Premium User Badge frymaster says:

        or for that matter, afford to run their own customer service.

        I’m assuming it’s outsourced since the number of Valve employees is otherwise far too low. And it has the corresponding quality.

      • El_Emmental says:

        As I mentioned above, IF and only IF:
        1) Your national law (example: UK law) gives you the right to have a refund in money (and not just in gift cards/coupon)
        AND
        2) Your national “international law” rules (determining if in this case, the law that is recognized as the right one by your national court is the national law, or the US, Washington one (Valve HQ)) designates the national law (often the case with consumer protection law, but that’s not always the case).

        THEN, Valve is legally obligated to pay you back in money.

        They might try to contest the right for a refund in the first place, but I really don’t think Steam will give the opportunity to one of its user to start a legit lawsuit. It would be terrible in terms of PR and might actually end up with a fine (symbolic one, but still one).

        -

        On the quality of the Customer Service, I agree it’s a shame they haven’t got a better service, but a phone/live chat support, for the 70 millions of Steam users, means they would have to handle a service of thousands of customer-support employees, covering all major languages, 24/7.

        People will call because they forgot their password (users do that ALL the time), because they got scammed when trying to buy (against the EULA) Steam keys on a russian resellers, because they’re getting low fps on a game. The service will be unavailable all the time, with waiting times never going below 30 minutes, and the actual customer service (for users who really need help) will not improve.

        They could still hire more people on the current Steam Support platform (relying on tickets) though.

        ps: I contacted Steam Support several times (for various, specific technical reasons – even once involving game licenses removal), and never had to wait more than 5 days to get the problem solved. Meanwhile, plenty of other platforms and retail stores refused to handle my requests and it took me several months to get very simple things fixed.

  4. MattyFTM says:

    There shouldn’t be a need to refund a preorder. The money shouldn’t be taken until the game is released. This is how pretty much every other online retailer does preorders, from Amazon to Origin.

    • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

      Agreed, but cancelling should be but a single click.

    • El_Emmental says:

      That would be a problem with indie/small developers, who are often running out of money during the last few months of developments. The preorders very often let them pay the rent/bills and pay some of the unpaid wages from the last few months.

      Sure, for EA/Activision games, the pre-orders are just to boost up the stock value and the developers don’t need that money (or even see it), but for all the much smaller companies, it’s kind of a vital thing.

      • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

        I don’t see the problem. If they’re scraping by they can provide Early Access sales. If that’s too much work, then they can plan ahead. If there’s going to be a shortfall, they can kickstarter the last 10k or whatever. If they can’t manage that, they can fail. Some amount of game making attempts can always fail, and taking money for goods not provided is generally not legal, so it’s not a good way to avoid that unavoidable scenario.

        • El_Emmental says:

          “I don’t see the problem. If they’re scraping by they can provide Early Access sales.”
          => for that, you need a stable working build of the game. It means you have to dedicate a lot of your scarce resources to get that “demo” out and make sure it’s actually pretty good, fun and stable, otherwise it’s gonna terribly kill the very little interest you’ll get with your potential customers.

          “If that’s too much work, then they can plan ahead.”
          => … do I really need to answer to that ? Really ? Have you ever worked in software development as a project lead ? “Preposterous” is the word here regarding your statement.

          A software being released is a MIRACLE of planning, development is a CONSTANT struggle with planning and deadlines. Indie devs managing to release stable and complete games IS a freaking miracle, even nowadays with all the crowdfunding and the indie audience. They constantly plan ahead.

          They might be working in the field where planning is SO difficult, that no one ever managed to “master” software development planning. The very few “gurus” who are able to somewhat-accurately see how a project will unfold are the most precious thing ever in the industry, companies constantly fight to get these people “predicting the future”, they’re worth millions of dollars (each of them).

          “If there’s going to be a shortfall, they can kickstarter the last 10k or whatever.”
          => You act as if a Kickstarter campaign is automatically successful. It’s not. At all. Plenty of KS projects failed to get any coverage in the media and couldn’t meet their minimum target. Kickstarter isn’t a magical chest of gold coins that any indie can dig in at any time, just by showing its badge “hey, I’m an indie dev”.

          To set up a proper KS campaign, you need to spend weeks doing all the research, preparing the page and all its content (trailer, ingame footage, screenshots, interviews of the devs), constantly tracking the feedbacks/comments and reacting immediately, harassing all the news websites to get your KS campaign covered, being on all the forums/platforms at the same time to get your KS project known. And you have to learn all that marketing job from scratch. And you can’t work on the game at the same time, so it means that you’re getting yourself into even more troubles if the KS campaign doesn’t work out.

          “If they can’t manage that, they can fail. Some amount of game making attempts can always fail, …”
          => Sure, but discarding all the developers who couldn’t wait 1 or 2 more months means you’ll be throwing away a LOT more excellent indie games, forcing these developers to make crappy games for AAA/mobile publishers, polluting the market with even more unoriginal shovelwares instead of unique indie games.

          “and taking money for goods not provided is generally not legal, …”
          => pre-orders aren’t illegal per se, they exist for all kind of things (even for physical goods). When you pre-orders a “game”, you actually immediately own a user-license for a software that is not yet released, you still already own a good (the license).

          You really should make a distinction between EA/Activision bundling a 3-maps DLC with pre-orders of BF7 or CoD24, and indie devs letting their fans pre-order the game with a -20% discount so they can finish the game, without getting a second mortgage and selling their broken car and working at night and borrowing from friends/family – like they very frequently do.

          • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

            “Really ? Have you ever worked in software development as a project lead ? “Preposterous” is the word here regarding your statement.”

            Well, my counterargument is that in my experiences as a project lead in software development I have successfully managed the many factors many times. This stuff is definitely achievable, though not at all easy.

            Don’t put words in my mouth regarding Kickstarters always succeeding. I assume that if the game is likely to be a notable success it is likely succeed, but risks always exist. That I talk about failure immediately afterwards should have been enough clue that I’m aware success is not guaranteed.

            Meanwhile pre-ordering is reasonable. Collecting funds from pre-orders is pretty questionable. *Spending* those collected funds for goods that may never exist seems borderline immoral.

            The point is that most software projects will always fail. That there are a lot of failures going on does not make a good argument for this faustian pre-order deal. The important point is that they will fail in similar percentages either way.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Well, thanks for clarifying your point – I understand your opinion on pre-ordering, that economic exchanges should always be balanced (I pay X money, I get Y goods, within a short window of time) and that not “freezing” (holding it) the X pre-order money until the Y goods (here a game) are delivered seems reasonable.

            It still make perfect sense when the agent producing the goods can provide these goods on its own, by relying on investors/loans/etc, just like it has been done in the previous centuries.

            But I firmly believe there should be a specific interpretation of that “rule” (X money Y goods, instant/quasi-instant transaction) when it comes to indie development. Just like crowdfunding (with platforms like Kickstarter) allowed consumers to be some kind of investors-customers, pre-orders should participate in the development of these low budget games.

            Countless times I read about indie teams having to let go some of their developers because they couldn’t pay them (and they had to feed a family), I saw tons of indie games being rushed to “gold” to release as soon as possible, cutting down or not finishing major features, to get the sales money as soon as possible.

            Butchering the development planning like that always ended up in terrible code, terrible bugs and terrible stability, terrible reception and terrible reviews, hurting the enjoyment of the game for the players and hurting the sales for the developers. But hey, at least the devteam didn’t go bankrupt, yay !

            That’s why I don’t think withholding the funds will ever fix the problem of projects going to fail: they’ll rush the release super early (several months before the planned/necessary release), get the pre-orders and day 1 sales cash, then try to somewhat fix the game in the next 6 months with a skeleton crews.

            It happened countless times, on small or big indie projects, it’s just the way it works: devs running out of cash will do anything to get that money, even if it means killing the very project they spent all their nights on. Allowing them to rely on the pre-orders to make a proper “gold” release is much more reasonable in my opinion, it’s gonna save an awful lot of excellent projects.

          • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

            Allowing unfair and unreasonable pre-pay systems won’t make them succeed anymore than denying that avenue will make them fail. In the end, the real problem is mis-estimation of risk, and that tends to be constant in any number of arenas, no matter the actual risk level.

            So all you do is really increase the level of bad outcome for everyone.

      • Moraven says:

        Does Steam release pre-order money to the developers? And usually a pre-order is only 1-3 months out. If you are that hurt for money, the thing to do now is Early Access and take your time.

    • Wookie says:

      Its worth remembering that consumers also pre-order for budgetary reasons and it would be ideal to allow either the money being taken now (when you have it) or on release day (when you will have it).

    • stan423321 says:

      The Amazon system of taking your money when parcel is sent (undependent on it being a prerelease or not) isn’t better in all situations, believe it or not. I remember ordering an ordinary package that was to be sent three days later, but the pound-to-zloty ratio has jumped up in the meanwhile and the price has exceeded the standard purchase limit of my debit card, as well as account balance. Now, this happened within three days. Imagine how crazy could exchange ratios get during a usual preorder.

      Yes, this is a very weird situation, but I just want an option of paying early. Especially when I’m paying in foreign cash. (Steam doesn’t handle zlotys either.)

      That said, most of the time preordering the game indeed isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do.

  5. Premium User Badge jrodman says:

    How about pre-orders of four copies.

    If I pre-order a game and distribute tokens to my friends, and then it turns out the creators lied on several counts (Torchlight 2), can I cancel that?

    • Skiddywinks says:

      Haven’t followed Torchlight 2 so would you be a good chap and let me know what they lied about? I’m hoping to pick it up next time its cheap.

      • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

        Various definite statements about release dates, timelines, and platforms. Apologists will try to say these were forecasts, but they were not given in any language that was vague, and they were done in the context of accepting money.

        (Specifically they said they were shipping the game “this summer”, stated in May when you would expect them to pretty much know. When September arrived they started putting out completely pathetic arguments that summer “technically” lasts until the equinox or some crap and of course missed that too. The toolkit was stated to be released in “the next month or so” and lagged 6 months. The Mac port “a month or two after that” has still not been released 1 year and 4 months later. This isn’t a case of a developer being awful, but being able to cancel a pre-order when the timeline turned out to be a fiction should have been an easy option. I made an effort in early August when it was clear that the statements hadn’t been made in good faith, and Steam Support was unhelpful.)

        That said, if the things you’re interested in have been released at this point (eg, not the os x support) then there’s no lingering problems for you.

  6. Gargenville says:

    Regular people (as in those that give few if any tosses about gun skins and horse armor) pre-order stuff on Steam because it’ll download the game in advance and then unlock it at midnight or whenever the brick and mortar launch date is. If we were talking about a family hatchback this would be an ill-informed purchasing decision but seeing as video games are primarily a form of entertainment and it’s tremendously entertaining to pile into a skype call and all squeal about how good/bad/strange/boring Eagerly Awaited Experience Game 3: Origins is as everyone simultaneously plays it for the first time I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    • The Random One says:

      You’re missing out on playing a game months after release, having a different opinion from everyone else, then hopping online to call everyone idiots. It’s much more fun and 25-75% cheaper.

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      This is really only for major AAA releases that are a) huge and b) hugely popular. Steam won’t even bother to preload most other titles; preordering in those cases is nothing more than giving them your money early.

      Plus unlocking at midnight is pretty useless for those of us that have actual 9-to-5 jobs and require sleep. Really, it’s a bit of a catch-22: Those who can afford to gamble on pre-orders are likely the adults with jobs who can’t really benefit from a midnight release, while the youngsters who can play all night (particularly during summer break) really shouldn’t be gambling their pocket money on preorders.

      Finally, it’s also getting less and less useful as internet speeds increase. Some of us are now able to download upwards of 1GB/minute or more, which makes even today’s 10- or 20-gig AAA titles still pretty quick to download. And due to the whole midnight thing, even if you don’t have that sort of speed, it’s also not that hard to just fire up your download before you leave for work and have it ready when you come home.

      Really, the benefits of preordering are fairly sketchy all around. The only time I’ll preorder is if positive reviews are already out from sources I trust, and there’s some sort of discount or benefit to doing so — or I love the developer so much that I trust everything they produce will be gold, or I just want to give them money regardless. But the latter is increasingly rare these days. (My list of developers/publishers I’ll never buy anything from again is much longer than my list of buy-on-sight ones.)

      • Grygus says:

        The Banner Saga, which is neither AAA nor hugely popular, pre-loaded on Steam and unlocked at noon. I wonder whether your information is out-of-date; I do not preorder enough to know for sure.

  7. derbefrier says:

    I am pre odering Dark Souls 2 and you can’t stop me muhahahahahaha

  8. Pubjead1970 says:

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  9. fish99 says:

    Pretty sure everywhere else that does refunds for pre-orders would give you the money back rather than store credit, or just not take the money until they ship the game, but eh…..I guess it’s better than nothing.

  10. Karuji says:

    “Of course, instead of relying on a feature like this, a better idea would be not to pre-order games. Pre-ordering is there specifically to hook you into buying a game before you have all the information necessary to make an intelligent purchasing decision. Developers will try to sweeten the madness of that with bonus weapons, items and missions, though normally the bonus materials are sub-par or actively imbalance the base game. The only world in which pre-ordering makes sense for players is one of genuine scarcity, which of course digital distribution eradicates.”

    And here I was just ready to pre-order this really great looking game called “Sir You Are Being Hunted” but since devs are so tricksy I guess I shouldn’t :P

    • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

      Not quite the same. The game is actually out in Early Access and there are any number of videos you can look at to see if the game looks interesting to you. There are also impressions pieces on various sites as well as podcasts that have discussed the game. You certainly shouldn’t buy the game if you’re not sure if it’s for you but you don’t lack information. And when you buy you actually have access to the game. And there are plenty of warnings.

      Contrast that to Thi4f that has been hanging around on Steam since forever, trying to entice me to preorder it. I know very little about the game and what I do know doesn’t sound good. I’d be a nutter to buy anything before reviews are out or I can try a demo. Digital preorders are just a scheme to trick money out of consumers before they can possibly make an informed decision.

      I’ve Kickstarted a few games, Sir amongst them, but I don’t consider those preorders. Those money I spent trying to make sure games that interest me would even be made.

      • Karuji says:

        While I agree that there is a level of granularity between early access, kickstarter, pre order. There is still a common line between all of those: you are giving a developer money for a game before it is done.

        Now you’ve rightly pointed out that there cases where pre-order’s are just daft. But I feel that it paints a viable avenue with an overly broad brush. Take for example Erin Robinson’s Gravity Ghost. It’s quite a charming little game, and it has a number of article out there from which you can read and judge the quality of the game. In this case your pre-order would be more akin to a kickstarter that only has a single tier of backing.

        There are also numerous other small developers who have demos and pre-orders where the money goes towards the making of the game, and having it finished sooner and better. Instead of making sure that a company’s spreadsheets look good that quarter.

        The reason I brought up Sir (which is an excellent game) is due to the closeness it has to this site, and has made ample use of alternate funding streams, and development methods. Quite a few of which I have seen the site write against recently. And while the sentiment of what the writers have expressed is good and is intended in the best interests of the consumer; I cannot help but feel it overlooks, and perhaps detracts, the part of the industry that tries weirder things to make interesting games.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      And here I was just ready to pre-order this really great looking game called “Sir You Are Being Hunted” but since devs are so tricksy I guess I shouldn’t :P

      You would’ve looked cleverer if that game was actually available to pre-order on Steam. It’s Early Access (and was previously a Kickstarter) which isn’t quite the same thing.

      • HadToLogin says:

        What’s the difference between pre-order and being “a wallet that gives money then must shut up”, beside waiting 2 years instead of 2 months for a final product?

        • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

          Who’s saying someone has to shut up?
          I think pre-orderers and backers both have clear stakes in the game they have a fiscal relatonship with, the backers a rather larger one.

          • HadToLogin says:

            That was nearly-a-quote from latest John Walker text.

          • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

            If you mean “kickstarters are risky investments”, then no, that’s not a quote, nor even a good-faith rephrasing. I don’t *agree* with that article’s titular point, but I *do* agree that if you kickstart a videogame project that doesn’t pan out that you shouldn’t demand a refund. I can see that there’s room for debate here, and mostly I think Kickstarter needs to recognize that there’s some more speculative activity going on and figure out how to handle it appropriately. However claiming cries of ‘shut up’ is just trolling.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Early Access is also a way of saying “hey, i’ll test your game through development and debug it for you, in the hope that the final product is finished and polished in all possible respects.”

          BIS, for example, didn’t honour this in many ways.

          • HadToLogin says:

            For some, yes. But I don’t start my Early Access games because I don’t want to spoil myself of surprises in mostly bug-less game – my view on Early Access is that if you want to do something that developers usually need to pay $1000 per person a month, be my guest.

            But that could be because I kickstarted single-player games, I would play shit out of DayZ just to know how to play it when in few years new comers will come and get their arse owned by battle-hardened veterans.

          • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

            This is more a point of annoyance than anything else, but the kind of testing that Early Access provides is not the same kind of testing that you’d pay $1000/mo, or really any major amount of money, for. It’s like equating the amount of work that goes into a Geocities homepage with that that goes into Amazon or Google.

  11. Evil Pancakes says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I never got this whole pre-order thing, or rather, the whole pay upfront thing.
    Back in the day when I was a wee lad console gamer (read: 4 years ago, before I saw the light) I would regularly go to my local gamestore and pre-order games. That pre-order was more along the lines of “say, that game that’s coming out soon. Could you please hold on to a copy for me?” and then I would come in day of release, they would have my copy of the game and I would then pay them money for it. Or not, because in the mean time I would hear bad stories about the game and refrain from buying it. Which was fine.
    Now I have to pay in advance for the purchase of a game which I can’t change my mind about? (although, now I can I suppose.) I’ll wait for day of release to buy it thanks, doesn’t make much of a difference anyway.

    • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

      But what if the steam servers run out of copies?

    • Moraven says:

      If I determine if I am going to buy a game at release, I pre-order it a day or two before to get the free pre-order bonsues and hopeful they allow you to pre-download most of the game.

    • Wookie says:

      One thing people tend to forget about with pre-orders taking the money early is that in some ways its far more convenient than on day of release. ‘Game you Want 2′ comes out on the 23rd, you got paid on the 10th, in these economically straightened times you can pay for the pre-order on the 10th, but perhaps not on the 23rd and so if you are buying it, it makes genuine economic sense. Hence it makes perfect sense for a lot of people.

      • Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

        If you’re so starved for money that you will have none left 15/20 days after payday, maybe you shouldn’t spend the little you’ve got on games. Especially not on full-priced ones.

        • Wookie says:

          Clearly you are not familiar with the mid-long term financial status of many of your countrymen.

          • tremulant says:

            While i’m afraid i don’t fully follow(which country, what’s your point?), AngelTear is absolutely right, if you can’t budget to buy the game later in the month, maybe by not buying whatever it is you’d otherwise be forced to go without by making the purchase on payday, then it’s a luxury that you simply can’t afford.

          • Grygus says:

            Forcing people to live strictly within their means would lead to revolt. Credit and short-term spending with no savings are the methods by which the masses fool themselves into thinking that they are not being financially fleeced by their nation’s owners (and now you do not need to know which country I’m talking about, because they all work this way.)

  12. stoner says:

    “…a better idea would be not to pre-order games. Pre-ordering is there specifically to hook you into buying a game before you have all the information necessary to make an intelligent purchasing decision.”

    Isn’t this what Kickstarter is for game development? How often do we see RPS writers extolling the virtues of a KS game and encouraging us readers to participate?

    • Junkenstein says:

      There was an article only last week stressing that that is NOT what Kickstarter is.

      • Moraven says:

        It is not what it Supposed to be, but most KS games nowadays are using at as a pre-order and marketing system.

      • stoner says:

        I read the article, and in an ideal world that would be true. Donating to Kickstarter campaign indicates backers’ support of the concept. But, as Moraven correctly points out, devs use KS to generate early cash-flow. You’ll note that most KS backers are at the first tier whereby they receive the game.

        • joa says:

          If this is the case, then developers are going to be in for a nasty surprise if they find everyone who wanted to buy the game has already kickstarter’d it, and they end up making little sales.

    • Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

      Pre-Order: I pay for the game up to a couple of months before release; the game will come out either way, because it’s already done. I maybe get a couple of hats for TF2 or similarly useless items, I don’t get to read reviews and check if the game is actually worth my money or incredibly broken.

      Kickstarter: I pay in order to allow the developer to make the game. Without my money the game will most likely never be developed, or only in the dev’s free time. I don’t get to read reviews not because of some stupid NDA, but because there is no game yet.

  13. impish says:

    but now the funds will instantly appear in your Steam wallet

    So this is a stealth downgrade. Now you can’t actually get a refund.

    • Moraven says:

      If you were lucky to even get an actually refund. Steam support will default to Steam Wallet for any issue

      They do so as to save on transaction fees sadly. You would think a store as big as Steam could afford the convenience of the customers.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Many of us — I’m assuming I’m not alone, and with an audience of however-many-millions they serve, I feel pretty safe in that assumption — prefer a Steam wallet refund instead of one going back to the bank.

        I’d likely spend that refunded $$ on Steam anyway, and I frankly prefer my transactions to come out of my wallet than off of my card.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          An option to have it refunded directly through the form of payment would be nice. That wouldn’t benefit Valve, however, so we’re never going to see it.

      • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

        Heh. Good joke! Valve giving a toss about customer satisfaction, care or support. Like that’s gonna happen.

    • AngusPrune says:

      Yeah, not an actual refund, just store credit.

      I’d say that’s an OK programme for games already released that just don’t function, but for pre-orders just refund the money to the purchaser’s card.

  14. leandrombraz says:

    I only pre order when it’s a game that I will buy doesn’t matter what, something that I want to experience myself even if it’s bad. I pre order too if the deal is really, really, really good, like Bioshock Infinite that came with Bioshock 1, X-com EU, TF2 items and some ingame sh*t, but it fall on the first rule too (I would buy it in anyway). You made a good point about game balance though. Bioshock Infinite itself come with some extra things that make the game easier. It’s really something we should stop encouraging. The only real advantage of pre order that I can think of is pre downloading the game, which is good when you want to play a new release ASAP..

  15. Loyal_Viggo says:

    This is welcome news, but I want to hear is that all digital distribution companies operating in Europe (Steam, Origin etc) are finally complying with the EU law that says EU citizens are allowed to re-sell their digital software and games when they want to.

    This is current EU law, yet Steam is contesting it as they are Merchant Bankers.

    Currently a German consumer advocacy group has taken Steam to court and the outcome of this should rightly say the law is what it is and now stop being Berkshire Hunts and allow EU people to re-sell.

    When that happens Steam will be a much better place where consumers can do what they will across digital platforms concerning their property.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Careful what you wish for.
      Even those who give out DRM free games have little to no method of adding a “reseller” mechanism. Well, I guess you can “resell” a DRM free game. It’s just if they decide that it’s a good idea to start forcing little development teams to add some sort of software swap shop to their apps. That kind of outlay might be a problem. :P

      You know these things never pan out as they intend them to.

  16. bstard says:

    Refunded to the walled is not exactly a real refund imo. Take Graham’s advice and do not preorder at all, wait for reviews and shitstorms on forums.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Sadly, it won’t stop. All those Rodneys out there will convince themselves that “THIS title is going to be sooo sweeeet! Why not? Look at the track record of this company. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? *repeatedly walks into a spike whilst grinning*”. Then of course, it goes wrong and Rodney (or Dillis) can’t get his (or her) money back. I think we need a new diagnosis: Self Defeating Gamer Personality Disorder, where the individual is incapable of projecting his or her thoughts into the future, to envisage highly possible negative outcomes, in the face of a small but guaranteed reward. Though to be fair this might just be called Impulsivity. Or perhaps Standard Consumer Behaviour.

      STOP IT. YES. YOU THERE. RODNEY. EYEING UP THAT SKIN PACK. STOP IT. Go and buy a nice sandwich or something. And if its got nails in it, for god’s sake don’t eat it. Even if there’s extra barbeque sauce.

      • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

        It is true though, things that we don’t have yet are so shiny.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Listen to the mosquitoes. Learn from their deaths.

      • joa says:

        But who are Rodney and Dillis though?

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Ancient cockney figures of ridicule, whose memory is invoked in times of grave economic danger

          e.g. “STEVE, DON’T BE SUCH A DILLIS. THAT PRE-ORDER IS WELL SHIT. ONLY A TOTAL RODNEY WOULD BUY IT”

  17. Tei says:

    ¡Viva Origin! :D

    I mean, Origin did this first, Steam is just following Origin, for once :D

  18. Perjoss says:

    I thought pre ordering would be a thing of the past on Steam by now, what with 90% of games being of the early access nonsense variety.

  19. Tychoxi says:

    Preordering is not wrong, dude, you just gotta be careful. Bioshock Infinite is the only game I have preordered in recent memory and it was a good deal. a) I knew the developer’s track record, b) I wanted to support the developer, c) the preorder came with not only Bioshock 1 but the new XCOM too. (it also came with the weapons pack, but who cares.)

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      That was however, an insanely good pre-order deal and rarely equalled. You’re right to bring it up, and If they were all like that, pre-ordering might be a different prospect. You got an entire free game which was itself already awesome. Of course everyone’s setpoint is different, and I did in fact take that pre-order because I already wanted to buy XCom. I stopped playing Bioshock after about 4 hours, but got about 200 out of XCom. I lucked out, given that I was really disappointed in B:Infinite.

      The main problem with pre-ordering is that it communicates the message to devs that we are content to buy a potentially (and often, actually) shoddy product, sight unseen, simply because we get some free stuff. What I actually want is complete, quality titles that are fun and satisfying, and which are that way at release, barring one or two minor patches. Early access is different because you are intentionally buying something in development. Pre-orders this is not the case.

  20. lord_heman says:

    Greatest tags ever, in this article :D

  21. strangeloup says:

    Talking of preordering, it always makes me feel a bit suspicious of an upcoming game when everyone & dog have enormous discounts on preordering it. In the last week or two I’ve been emailed about three offers each for substantially reduced preorders on Thi4f and Titanfall; neither of which I was the least bit interested in to begin with, but even so.

  22. DrManhatten says:

    Steam = So far behind the curve when it comes to customer friendliness. Hopefully they are running out of steam soon!

  23. Discosauce says:

    As others have said, while preordering is usually a silly idea, there are times when it is worth it. If you know you are going to buy the game anyways, and you know you want it as soon as possible, why not preorder and get a little something extra to make you feel better about it?

    A recent preorder I thought was worth it was the offer for The Banner Saga. A cheaper price, and a character that was interesting and useful.

  24. kaloth says:

    I will be interested to see how long it takes for an Australian court case to require steam to refund the funds back into the method of payment. Forcing “store credit” for a refund isn’t legal down there. And before folk jump on the “well steam isn’t australian” bandwagon – if they charge in AUD and apply GST to purchases (of which they do both), they’re going to have to follow the applicable laws – but only there – everyone outside of Australia would still get steam credit instead of an actual refund.

    • Ich Will says:

      No, it’s a law pretty much the world over, I believe it’s to help prevent money laundering.