Microsoft made the announcement that consumers will now be able to receive a full refund for unwanted purchases. Games and apps are eligible for these self-service refunds as long as they are done so within 14 days of purchase and have less than two hours of play time across all accounts tied to the device. The newly established refund service does not extend to any DLC, season passes or add-on features that are purchased. Unfortunately, this restriction seems to extend to digital deluxe editions of games as they include DLC content.
In the past, contacting Microsoft’s support allowed players to get a refund for a game bought within 30 days but were only granted one opportunity to return a game. Issues such as return policies have been a constant complaint for console gamers as digital distribution consistently becomes more and more commonplace in the modern gaming industry. Sony currently allows for a return of digital content purchased within 14 days, provided that the content has yet to be downloaded or streamed. This policy also applies to pre-orders. Nintendo currently offers no form of digital return policy, urging consumers to watch what they purchase.
On the PC side of gaming, digital distribution platforms such as Steam have long since overcome this problem. In 2015, Valve created a formal process allowing purchasers to request full refunds on games purchased on Steam for any reason. The guidelines for Microsoft’s new policy mimic the ones found on Steam. Unlike Microsoft however, Steam allows for the return of DLC as well so long as it hasn’t been modified in any way or transferred.
Reaction to Microsoft’s new policy has been generally positive online, leaving many hopeful that other first party developers will soon follow the same example.