If you ever wanted to play full, $60 games for free, GOG seems to have your back. In a very questionable decision, GOG announced a few days ago that they were implementing a new refund policy that allows gamers to refund any game within 30 days of purchase regardless if it has been downloaded, played, finished, etc.
This was announced via a blog post on GOG.com earlier this week. According to the post, “starting now, you can get a full refund up to 30 days after purchasing a product, even if you downloaded, launched, and played it. That’s it.” This refund policy is an extremely generous one that outdoes Steam’s in every way… and your favorite developers are going to suffer for it.
Steam’s refund policy is famously lenient and leaves a lot of room for people to change their minds about a game while ensuring that gamers don’t get away with playing the thing for free. On Steam, you can return a game within 14 days of purchase for just about any reason and receive a full refund as long as you haven’t played more than two hours of the game; that last part is the important one. There are practically no high-profile games to speak of on Steam that require less than two hours to play through, so if you play the whole game, you’re pretty much stuck with it no matter if you liked it or not.
Well, I don't know about this one.
30 days is a lot more than I feel is necessary to evaluate a game, and a lot more than almost all games take to complete if you play them for an hour daily.
Young me would definitely abuse the hell out of this. https://t.co/kKVnZpwboj
— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) February 27, 2020
This new policy by GOG doesn’t take such measures and gives a full month for people to finish a game and then return it for a full refund. According to the FAQ associated with the blog post, “We’re monitoring the effects of the current update to make sure no one is using this policy to hurt the developers that put their time and heart into making great games.” However, GOG has had known issues in the past tracking playtime accurately. Additionally, playtime isn’t tracked when starting the game offline. In these cases, how can GOG truly say how much playtime someone has put in?
Part of the appeal of GOG is that they release DRM-free games. In other online marketplaces, DRM (digital rights management) can require single-player or couch co-op games to be played with an internet connection. With this out of the picture, any of those games on GOG can be run while not connected to the internet. With this being a major factor when choosing GOG over Steam, it’s now something that is going to hurt developers. Developers are now essentially giving out full, 30-day, free trials of their games with no restrictions.
Something I will say about this GOG refund policy change (users being allowed to refund anything they buy up to 30 days later), is that GOG did not tell devs before they did it
Which is pretty shitty, regardless of whether you think it's a good idea or not
— Mike Rose (@RaveofRavendale) February 27, 2020
Devs have already taken to Twitter to disagree with the way this has been handled. One of the big issues is that game developers and publishers were not warned and had no say in this decision even though it’s their product and their livelihoods on the line. This is certainly a surprising 180-degree turn by GOG. Previously, you were not eligible for a refund if you downloaded the game.
What’s even more surprising is that this decision comes from a marketplace owned and operated by CD Projekt, the parent company of one of the most beloved developers and publishers of modern gaming. Will they rethink their decision? Only time will tell.
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.