It has recently been announced that Microsoft will be implementing a brand new refund policy for digital games purchased for the Xbox One and Windows 10. The conditions for the returns seem fair enough, and nearly everyone is in support of Microsoft’s new move.
Everyone, that is, except one group of developers: The Chinese Room, developers of Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Soon after word of Microsoft’s new policy had spread, The Chinese Room swiftly went to Twitter, harshly criticizing the policy and calling it “bollocks.” Their main problem with the policy has to do with Microsoft giving full refunds after less than two hours of gameplay. Apparently, the developers feel that refunds should be proportional to the completion of the games:
It’s REALLY simple. Refunds should operate off a percentage of game completed. Simple, fair, representative…. For reference, you can get nearly halfway through Silent Hill in 2 hours.
While it might be better if refunds were based off a completion percentage, it would be far from simple. Not only would it be unnecessarily complicated to devise a system that calculates every single games level of completion, but some games aren’t as straightforward or linear as Silent Hill. How do you calculate a completion percentage for something like Minecraft, for example? Not only that, but Microsoft already has plenty of measures in place to prevent refund abuse.
Perhaps The Chinese Room should focus more on developing interesting games, as opposed to something like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which was nothing more than a “walking simulator” lacking the interactive storytelling of games like Gone Home and The Stanley Parable. Maybe then, they wouldn’t have to worry about gamers returning their games after less than two hours trying it out.