Steam’s rather inflexible return policy is being called for an extension after the recent launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator. While most gamers were aware of how insanely large Flight Simulator was going to be before buying it, many weren’t aware that the majority of the download would be handled by an in-game launcher. Because of this, Steam’s current policy of “Two Hours of in-game playtime or 14 days from purchase” has now been rendered useless for Microsoft’s graphically demanding title.
When Flight Sim when live earlier this morning, users waited patiently to download roughly 50 GB of data to launch the game. Steam typically compresses data, so no one expected to start the title and get hit with an additional 90 GB download. That’s where the problem arises: because this second download is handled by an in-game launcher, Steam tracks this download as playtime.
Garry Newman, the creator of the popular Garry’s Mod, posted a screencap on Twitter, that shows off the issue to its fullest extent. While no estimated timer is available, the launcher is crawling while grabbing all of the necessary files. A Eurogamer reader even told the publication that his uncapped 500 Mbps data line took him a little over three hours to get everything, which is just above Steam’s cutoff for refunds.
The Steam user reviews section has noted this. Many users are complaining about how long the download is taking them and are calling for Valve to make changes to Steam’s refund policy. If not for every title, at least in the case of Flight Simulator. The high system requirements are proving to be difficult for many PCs to run and locking people out of a refund due to an insane download is just crappy.
Digital games and refunds are a battle that will never stop being fought. After years of offering no recompense for faulty games, Valve eventually granted Steam users the ability to request refunds for any game on its service. While the stated stipulations weren’t great, they were better than the nothing on offer before.
It should be noted that Steam does occasionally grant refunds beyond the noted window of opportunity. In the case of Flight Simulator, sending in a report ticket to Steam customer support will likely get you a refund in a few days. Valve has to manually go over the ticket, which is a bulky and unintuitive step, but better than nothing.
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