CD Projekt-owned digital storefront Good Old Games (GOG) announced yesterday that it was introducing a generous new refund policy allowing users to obtain full refunds up to 30 days after purchase.
The no strings attached policy works regardless of playtime, doing away with strict restrictions found on other platforms like Steam.
Upon sharing the news, GOG explicitly asked users not to exploit the policy and to respect “all the time and hard work put into making the games you play.” The policy is there to offer a solution when a game doesn’t work as expected.
GOG explained that refunds won’t be issued automatically. It may refuse them in individual cases where abuse is suspected. GOG says:
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.
Looking at GOG’s intentions, the aim is clearly to improve the site’s value in the eyes of gamers with an eye on securing some of Steam’s market share and mitigating the Epic Games Store’s rapid expansion.
Aside from CD Projekt once again propping up its reputation as a consumer-friendly company, the policy also raises questions about whether GOG is guilty of being naive. By its very nature, the policy is ripe for abuse.
The policy would hypothetically allow someone to play a game to completion then obtain a full refund. All within the 30 days. The formula could see the more unsavory elements of the user base abuse it and spoil the fun for everyone else.
There are checks in place to weed out those taking advantage and GOG foresees “future adjustments” to the policy. But there may be a disaster brewing behind good intentions. In a few months, we may look back on GOG’s policy as a failed experiment.
In a sense, these concerns are more symptomatic of a gaming community disillusioned by stringent policies forced in by outlying imbeciles gaming the system. We’re unaccustomed to a storefront saying “screw those guys” and offering a refund system based on goodwill.
GOG is taking a gamble and taking baby steps towards a user relationship based on trust. It’s commendable and naive all at once.
A leap of faith may be what’s needed to rebalance policies in favor of those that play by the rules. Making users accountable for a policy that ultimately benefits them might actually work.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.