Origin has launched their “Great Game Guarantee” policy, allowing gamers to receive refunds on returns of digitally distributed content. Amazing! Could this be the first step towards improved policies on digital distribution?
There are plenty of T&Cs, but the policy looks pretty good. You can get a refund if they receive your request within the earliest of:
(i) seven (7) days from the date of purchase, (ii) seven (7) days from the game’s release date if you pre-ordered/pre-purchased or (iii) twenty-four (24) hours after the first time the game is launched or run.
So, within a week of buying the game or within 24 hours of first launching the game. This seems like a great policy. Either you buy the game and have buyer’s remorse within the first week even without touching it, or you play the thing for a few hours and realize you don’t want it. Sounds fair to me. I do find it funny that they think it’s necessary to state:
Once a refund is issued, you will no longer have access to the game.
How else would a refund work? Some games purchased in bundles or on promotions may have special rules, but you can check out the entire policy here. I wonder if Steam will also look at changing their refund policy as a result. Currently, although they do make exceptions for games that are pre-ordered, their policy is:
As with most software products, we do not offer refunds or exchanges on games, DLC or in-game items purchased on our website or through the Steam Client. Please review Section 3 of the Steam Subscriber Agreement for more information.
As we more towards more digital distribution, distributors needs to evaluate how to give consumers ownership of those products. Part of it is being able to lend or sell copies to friends (currently unavailable), as well as get returns on products. I certainly hope that we move towards this in the future – just because I buy a game online doesn’t mean I should be restricted in my use of it!