Microsoft is testing a Steam-like, self-service refund system for Windows 10 and Xbox One games. The system is still in the alpha stage of testing. It’s only available for members of the Xbox Insider program. The idea is that players will be able to refund games even after downloading them and playing for a short while.
The news first broke on Reddit. Redditor gaymerRaver posted a screenshot of what the service looks like right now. It’s still a very early alpha; only members of the Xbox Insider program have access to it. It might be a very long time until the service is open for the general public. In fact, it might not even make it out of alpha. So far, Microsoft is merely pilot-testing the self-serve refunds.
The way this would work, according to the Reddit post, is very similar to how Steam does it. You’ll be able to return a game and get a full refund if you meet certain conditions. The purchase can’t be older than 14 days. Additionally, you have to have less than two hours of play across all accounts. None of this has been officially confirmed by Microsoft yet. Here’s their press statement concerning the refund system (via Kotaku).
We’re always looking for new ways to improve the customer experience and regularly release new features into the Insider Program to encourage and foster fan feedback, which helps us test and refine features before they reach general availability. Earlier today, we enabled self-serve refund pilot testing for digital content via the Xbox and Windows Insider Programs and this testing is presently limited to select Insider members. Insiders can learn more about the criteria for claiming digital refunds via the Insider Hub. Beyond that, we have nothing further to share.
Depending on how this move pans out (if at all), this might be excellent news for gamers in general, but especially for console gamers. The fact of the matter is that consoles don’t offer any kind of refunds, and even on PC not all platforms offer the same conditions like Steam and GOG do. If refunds become a thing on Xbox, it might cause a chain reaction, forcing Sony and Nintendo to adopt the same practice. That way, we’ll be safe in the knowledge that we can try out the game and get all of our money back if the game sucks.