Steam Introduces Changes to Refund Policy to Address Advanced Access

Until recently, the Steam refund policy had an interesting loophole that I’m sure many have made use of. Mind, Advanced Access means you purchased the game ahead of launch and, as a bonus, you got to play it before the full release. You know how sometimes deluxe editions let you in a couple of days early? That thing. Before this change, you could play as much as you wanted without the refund clock counting down. Your two-hour allowance would only begin after the official launch. Well, that’s no longer going to be the case.

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steam introduces changes to refund policy to address advanced access
Steam Introduces Changes to Refund Policy to Address Advanced Access

Steam Changes How Advanced Access Play Counts Towards Refund Policy

If you aren’t sure how the Steam refund policy works in general, allow me to get you up to speed. After you purchase a game on Steam, you have fourteen days to get your money back, as long as you only play for less than two hours. Easy enough to remember, right? But if you were playing in Advanced Access (not the same as Early Access, as explained above), that two-hour timer didn’t count until the game released for everyone. Which theoretically meant you could enjoy a title for hours upon hours (perhaps even beat it), then still get a refund. That’s kinda unfair, right? Especially towards smaller developers.

Well, Valve has decided to close the loophole. According to the updated refund policy: “When you purchase a title on Steam prior to the release date, the two-hour playtime limit for refunds will apply (except for beta testing), but the 14-day period for refunds will not start until the release date.” What does that mean in practice? Well if you “purchase a game that is in Early Access or Advanced Access,” any amount you play will immediately go against the two-hour limit (excluding beta testing). However, the fourteen-day timer won’t begin until the full release.

On the other hand, if you pre-purchase a game that doesn’t let you in earlier, nothing changes whatsoever. The rules remain the same. If you want to learn more about Steam’s refunds in general, check out the link I’ve given you above.

Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.