No Man’s Sky has drawn a lot of ire since release, after failing to live up to (admittedly lofty and probably unrealistic) expectations. Its PC launch in particular has faced problems. Refunds are par for the course in these situations, but Valve’s digital distribution platform Steam has been so inundated with refund requests it has had to issue a special statement on No Man’s Sky‘s Steam page, stressing that it is following standard protocol and will not allow for special circumstances on refunds.
“The standard Steam refund policy applies to No Man’s Sky. There are no special exemptions available,” says the store page’s message, followed by a link to just what, exactly, Steam’s refund policy entails. Players are entitled to a no-questions-asked refund on any title if it’s played for less than two hours or the purchase is under two weeks old, whichever comes first.
Now, there are certainly reasons why someone may play a game for more than two, 10, or 1,000 hours and still come away with a negative view of the game. But Valve’s two hours/two weeks cutoff is meant to address problems which are big and pressing, like hardware incompatibility, serious bugs, or something else that’s extremely and immediately apparent (like say, you thought you were buying an isometric strategy game and it turned out to be a dating sim). If you go to a bookstore, buy a 1,000-page novel, and bring it back a few months later saying you didn’t enjoy the characters or the ending, you’d be hard-pressed to find a vendor who would assent to a return. There’s something to be said about the time you put into a piece of entertainment, whether or not you come away feeling necessarily entertained by it.
Still, a lot of players are incensed that No Man’s Sky has failed to offer the kind of experience they thought they were getting, so much so that there are frequent reports on fan forums reporting successful returns through vendors like Amazon, Good Old Games, the Humble Store, and even the PlayStation Network, according to VG247. All these vendors have their own policies which may be stricter or more accommodating than Steam’s — Amazon, for example, provides a complete refund for most purchases under 30 days — and because most customer service requests end up processed by a Real Live Human making a subjective judgment call based on the customer’s circumstances, sure, sometimes those policies get bent a little. But there’s nothing wrong with Steam sticking to its guns on the two hours/two weeks policy, despite rumors and what customers might hope to be the case.