Steam Refund Policy Changes Have Closed An Early-Access Loophole

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Valve has announced that it’s closing a loophole in its refund process. With a regular game release, players can request a refund within 14 days of their purchase or if they’ve played the title for less than two hours. This process didn’t work for games in Steam’s Early Access program, as users could log many hours of playtime before the full launch of a game and apply for a refund after. As of today, that loophole has been closed.

“If you purchase a game that is in Early Access or Advanced Access, any playtime will count against the two-hour refund limit,” Valve explained in its updated refund policy. “If you pre-purchase a title which is not playable prior to the release date, you can request a refund at any time prior to release of that title, and the standard 14-day / two-hour refund period will apply starting on the game’s release date.”

It’s worth noting that this policy also affects games offering a few days of early access as a reward for preordering it, as part of the advanced access changes. An example here would be Forza Motorsport, as last year players could get five days of early access to the game by upgrading to the premium edition. Otherwise, the rest of the Steam refund policy stays the same.

Steam kicked off 2024 by implementing new guidelines regarding the use of AI in video games being sold on its platform, as it now requires developers to disclose how the technology is used in their titles. Steam Families, a new and improved version of Steam Family Sharing, was also introduced in March.