Steam loophole closed for refunds

On Tuesday night, Steam discreetly revised its return policy to prevent gamers from taking advantage of a loophole involving the Advanced Access feature in order to play games for free.

Previously, players who paid a higher price for Advanced Access were able to enjoy the games for the entire early access period, typically lasting 2-4 days, and then return the game just before its official launch to receive a full refund.

Steam's return policy allows players to play a game for up to 2 hours before they are no longer eligible for a refund. While it may not be the most generous policy, it works well for PC games. This window of time allows PC gamers to assess if the game runs smoothly on their system and decide if they want to continue playing. It serves as both a benchmark and a demo.

Here is what has changed with Steam's return policy and how it affects you.

Previously, Steam's return policy did not take into account games that offered early access to players who paid more. It is important to note that Advanced Access should not be confused with Steam's Early Access, which is a beta-testing period for game development rather than advanced playtime before the full release. Advanced Access grants players a 2-4 day period to play the game before its official release.

The issue with Steam's return policy was that the 2-hour refund window only started counting once the game was officially launched. This meant that players who paid for Advanced Access could enjoy several days of gameplay before becoming ineligible for a refund, as long as those days fell before the official launch date.

According to the update shared on the Steam Community subreddit page, many gamers were unaware of this exploit until the launch of Starfield on September 6, 2023. Due to numerous performance issues, it became widely known that Steam would honor refunds during the access period.

Considering the increasing number of games offering Advanced Access, it is not surprising that Steam has made this policy change.

So, what does this mean for you?

It means that you can no longer exploit the Advanced Access feature to play games for free and then request a refund. Steam has closed this loophole to ensure fairness for all players and developers. If you decide to purchase a game with Advanced Access, you will need to consider your decision carefully, as you will not be able to obtain a refund once the official launch takes place.

Remember, Steam's return policy still allows you to play a game for up to 2 hours before making a final decision. This should provide you with enough time to assess the game's performance and check out the awesome glitches it may have.

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