With peculiar timing, Valve seem to finally be offering refunds on From Dust. Customers who bought the game under the belief its DRM required a one-time only activation angrily responded to the revelations (as brought to the world by the fine eyebrows of RPS) that the game required a connection for every launch. Demands for refunds were being met with stony silences in every direction, with Ubisoft pointing customers to the retailers. And while there were rumours of Steam giving some money back, most were being met by their questionable stance that they don't offer refunds for anything. Well, despite the recent announcement that the DRM would soon be patched out, that seems to be changing, as it appears (from the text of Valve's emails) Ubisoft have specifically asked Valve to return the cash. (Let's put in a disclaimer here - this is based on reports from a couple of readers, and Valve are notoriously fickle in these regards.)
A couple of readers have contacted us to say that they've been receiving emails (sometimes multiple times!) from Steam explaining that there is a patch coming, but if they still want their money back they can have it. It reads,
"Ubisoft has just announced that they are working on a patch that will eliminate the need for any online authentication for From Dust. The patch will release in approximately two weeks.
If you don’t want to wait for the patch or if you haven’t played the game, per Ubisoft’s request, we will issue refunds for this title.
If you would still like your purchase of From Dust refunded, please reply to this ticket."
I'm not sure what "or if you haven't played the game" means. The use of "or" suggests that not having played isn't a requirement (and many will have only discovered the surprise DRM by playing it), but it's still a touch ambiguous.
This also seems like an opportunity to get your money back if you believe the game falls horribly short of the PC conversion it deserved. I'm really hopeful that the reaction this has generated, and the unquestionably bad publicity it has brought upon Ubisoft, will lead to a change of their behaviour toward the PC and PC customers. They're putting out a ton of good games at the moment, and we want nothing more than to be championing them for this. If they can start treating customers with dignity, what a splendid day it will be.
Big thanks to Sean and Dan for getting in touch.