Some call it piracy, others call it hospitality.
GOG.com, or Good Old Games, has just recently announced updates to their refund policy for their platform. The subsidiary of CD Projekt has changed their refund policy now to allow players who purchase games from their website to have a full 30 day time period with which they can play the game before deciding on refunding it. This policy when looked at from a consumer point of view is incredibly generous on behalf of GOG, but from a developer point of view this policy can be viewed much more negatively.
While the reaction to this policy is near-universal praise from gamers, there’s been a small yet vocal uproar from a number of developers from various studios on GOG’s decision to implement this. Calling the new policy a spit in the face of devs, bullshit, and other colorful descriptions. Here are a few reactions:
The majority of anger from devs regarding the refund policy seems to be about a lack of communication which is understandable. I do agree that there should be communication between a platform and the devs on it. Aside from that I’m not too sure this is as big of a deal as some believe it to be.
Back when Steam announced their two hour/two week refund policy, this same conversation occurred then as well. But since Steam implemented their policy, there’s been virtually no changes in rates of piracy of games since then. Frankly I don’t believe that this refund policy will do much for piracy either, since there is already a good number of pirating sites that don’t require you to create an account and attach your credit/debit card information to it in order to download a game. Now I’ll reiterate that’s my opinion, I can’t prove for certain that this will be the case when GOG goes live with the 30 day policy.
While abuse of the new refund policy has yet to happen, it isn’t like GOG.com is unaware of the possibility of it happening. When describing the update GOG.com stated:
“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. We may refuse refunds in such individual cases.”GOG.com in their Refund Policy Summary
It seems that GOG is placing a lot of faith in their customers and asking them not to abuse this policy as it would hurt not only GOG but the devs who make these games as well. Obviously there will still be people who abuse the system no matter what, that’s unavoidable, but it’s been proven before that gamers who like a game will usually buy it. Even people who pirate games will sometimes do it just because they want to try it first before buying, or the game isn’t available in their country yet so they can’t. Selfishness isn’t the only reason behind piracy.
Hopefully this refund policy update won’t anger some devs enough to pull their games of GOG entirely. For now it’s a waiting game to see how much this will really affect game sales, and if GOG can properly vet who is and isn’t abusing the system. If you want to read through GOG’s new refund system you can click here for the full FAQ. Be sure to support GOG by not abusing their system, because if this works out we may see such consumer-friendly practices from other platforms in the future.