GOG Offers Dark Matter Refunds

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GOG Offers Dark Matter Refunds

Dark Matter screen

Gamers who purchased Dark Matter from GOG prior to October 21 are being offered their money back, while Steam has stopped selling it outright.

The Dark Matter saga has been an ugly one so far. The crash course catch-up version, for those who haven't been paying attention: Indie developer InterWave Studios ran out of money and so released an abbreviated Dark Matter without a proper ending, acknowledging that it was "indeed not complete" but then later claiming that it actually is "complete," just not all they'd hoped to make; then publisher Iceberg Interactive got involved and said the studio had been misquoted and that the game is actually intended to be just the first part in an "episodic series," even though absolutely nothing about an episodic release had been mentioned by anyone prior to that moment.

The bottom line is that the game doesn't end properly and players aren't happy about it, and with InterWave seemingly unable to do much about it beyond clarifying that the end is the end, GOG has decided to handle things itself. "It's come to our attention that the gamecard for Dark Matter was not quite specific enough about the nature of the game and, as a result, it may be that some people bought the title with some misapprehensions as to how the game's story would end," GOG marketing guy Trevor "The Enigmatic T" Longino wrote.

"If you bought Dark Matter before 21 October 2013 at 15:00 GMT (when we updated the description to where we feel it adequately reflects the game) and you feel that the game wasn't as promised to you, please contact Support and they'll be happy to offer you full refund to your card or, if you'd prefer, games of equal or lesser value to the sale price of Dark Matter (which is $13.49)," he continued. "We're sorry if anyone who bought the game isn't happy with the way it was represented, and we hope this makes it right for you guys."

While the GOG entry for Dark Matter doesn't specifically address the abrupt "wall of text" ending, it is now described as "the first half of a thrilling, gripping story spanning 14 areas of deep-space survival." Steam, meanwhile, has halted sales of the game outright, replacing the purchase link with a message stating, "Currently there is a known issue at the end of the game. The developer is aware of the issue and they are working on a patch as a solution."

Source: GOG

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So, GOG.com is basically taking bad PR for the company that made Dark Matter and turning it into good PR for them. Well, good on them to be perfectly honest.

It seems like everyday I find new reasons to love GOG.

It's pretty bad when Steam is treating your ending the same way it'd treat a game-halting glitch.

It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Out of interest, who absorbs the cost of the refunds? Are GOG taking a hit to their profits or will they just deduct the amount of the refunds from the amount they send to the developers (I'm assuming that they send a lump sum rather than one for each sale).

Also it seems that Valve are giving people swift refunds for the game too, they just aren't advertising it as well as GOG.
http://steamcommunity.com/app/251410/discussions/0/810938810953587889/

aww, I love GOG. Now I just need money to give them, in exchange for digital goods.

Nice to see that gamers are getting reimbursed for a developer's mistakes, and that the people providing the games aren't, in fact, assholes.

erttheking:
So, GOG.com is basically taking bad PR for the company that made Dark Matter and turning it into good PR for them. Well, good on them to be perfectly honest.

That my friends is how you run a business, turning a bad situation around to a good one for your business. There are lots of companies/publishers out there that could learn from this and other examples :-)

Captcha: Gold Medal - I couldn't agree more captcha, although your sentience level is starting to concern me..... >.>

I'm a little out of the loop here, was it THAT big a deal? It's an indie that really, really fucked up at the ending, shit happens. It's just that looking from the outside into this situation, it feels like we're having EA withdrawal syndrome and need to moshpit the closest industry flop we can find.

Captcha was "lo and behold"

The Random One:
It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Steam doesn't sell The War Z. They did initially until it became clear that the description the company gave of the game was utter bullshit, and it hasn't been back on Steam since as far as I know.

Brohoof to GOG, yet again.

I don't know who's running the whole 'lets not be jerks' part of GOG...
But it's clear they need to be the new CEO of EA, Ubisoft, and Blizzard/Activision

sid:
I'm a little out of the loop here, was it THAT big a deal? It's an indie that really, really fucked up at the ending, shit happens. It's just that looking from the outside into this situation, it feels like we're having EA withdrawal syndrome and need to moshpit the closest industry flop we can find.

Captcha was "lo and behold"

The game was marketed as a complete game and had a price set accordingly which people paid based on the information they were given. They didn't just screw up the ending like, for example, Mass Effect 3, there simply wasn't a proper ending in place to rate as good or bad. It would be like buying a movie only to find that the DVD didn't contain the last couple of scenes and at best it amounts to false advertising.

Not to mention the way they're trying to weasel out of what they did by outright lying/ constantly changing their story as decribed in this article ("we couldn't afford to finish it" became "it IS a finished and complete game" which is now "actually this is just the first episode in a series of games"). I don't really see how the size of the developer makes a difference here, just because they're indie devs doesn't entitle them to any get out of jail free cards (if anything it should make them more cautious i.e. the recent Wild Wire vs. Total Biscuit debacle), if they are the sort of company that is comfortable lying to customers like this then I see no reason to support them and potentially giving them the chance to do it on a larger scale in the future.

sid:
I'm a little out of the loop here, was it THAT big a deal? It's an indie that really, really fucked up at the ending, shit happens. It's just that looking from the outside into this situation, it feels like we're having EA withdrawal syndrome and need to moshpit the closest industry flop we can find.

Captcha was "lo and behold"

It's not that they fucked up the ending, it's that the ending didn't exist. Just walk through a door and fade-to-black, here have a wall of text to read. And the developers defended themselves by saying the game was complete and the game description pages were accurate, followed a day later by the publisher saying that it was the start of an episodic game and was always going to be that way despite them not telling any customers that.

I've also looked at the Steam forums for the game and apparently the game, as of release, is nearly identical to the alpha version of the game from four months ago. Including the non-ending.

Vivi22:

The Random One:
It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Steam doesn't sell The War Z. They did initially until it became clear that the description the company gave of the game was utter bullshit, and it hasn't been back on Steam since as far as I know.

They changed the name and are now selling it as Infestation: Survivor Stories.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/226700/?snr=1_7_15__13

CriticalMiss:

Vivi22:

The Random One:
It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Steam doesn't sell The War Z. They did initially until it became clear that the description the company gave of the game was utter bullshit, and it hasn't been back on Steam since as far as I know.

They changed the name and are now selling it as Infestation: Survivor Stories.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/226700/?snr=1_7_15__13

Wait wait wait. Steam is still allowin sales of that game after everythin that happened? Shouldn't quality control be all over that?

Wow. Bad week for the indie scene. First that Total Biscuit thing with Day One: Garry's Incident and now this issue with Dark Matter.
Shame really. I like it a lot better when independent devs are coming up with interesting games rather than trying to screw over their audience.

erttheking:
So, GOG.com is basically taking bad PR for the company that made Dark Matter and turning it into good PR for them. Well, good on them to be perfectly honest.

The sad part is now it's pretty much assured we'll never get the episode that actually provides resolution. It's like watching Two and a Half Men.

shintakie10:

CriticalMiss:

Vivi22:

Steam doesn't sell The War Z. They did initially until it became clear that the description the company gave of the game was utter bullshit, and it hasn't been back on Steam since as far as I know.

They changed the name and are now selling it as Infestation: Survivor Stories.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/226700/?snr=1_7_15__13

Wait wait wait. Steam is still allowin sales of that game after everythin that happened? Shouldn't quality control be all over that?

Big problem with War Z is it advertised features that did not have. You can still sell a turd, you just can't try to pass it off as a diamond that can cure cancer and gives you +2 to charisma.
They had things listed like skill system, massive multiple maps, private servers, max players per server at 100 (it was 50). Screenshots they used for advertising showed things like cars, locations, animations and graphical effects that didn't exist. Some of them are still up but not sure if Steam polices those since those are usually taken during development and with large world games it could be nearly impossible to find the actual screenshot location.

shial:

shintakie10:
[

Wait wait wait. Steam is still allowin sales of that game after everythin that happened? Shouldn't quality control be all over that?

Big problem with War Z is it advertised features that did not have. You can still sell a turd, you just can't try to pass it off as a diamond that can cure cancer and gives you +2 to charisma.
They had things listed like skill system, massive multiple maps, private servers, max players per server at 100 (it was 50). Screenshots they used for advertising showed things like cars, locations, animations and graphical effects that didn't exist. Some of them are still up but not sure if Steam polices those since those are usually taken during development and with large world games it could be nearly impossible to find the actual screenshot location.

This. As long as they dont falsely advertise it, it can be the worst game every made and well obviosuly you are still allowed to sell it. So thats basically what they did, they renamed it, made it actually advertise its features properly, and its still just as shit, but now they are just doing something ethically questionable, rather than straight up illegal.

Im conflicted.

While I believe the developers in this case acted immoral, and I'm glad they're being called on it, I also look at other games that, to me, feel kind of similar.

Take the Half Life Episodes, I bought the first two on the belief that they would be part of a trilogy. 5 years later I still haven't gotten an ending to that arc. Can I get a refund there?

Then you have Azuras Wrath, which pulled out the "ending" into a DLC, but AFAIK there was no offer for refund or forcing the developers to clarify anything.

Vivi22:

The Random One:
It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Steam doesn't sell The War Z. They did initially until it became clear that the description the company gave of the game was utter bullshit, and it hasn't been back on Steam since as far as I know.

They do, except it's now called Infestation: Survivor Stories. 15 €, woo.
EDIT: Whoops, too late.

erttheking:
So, GOG.com is basically taking bad PR for the company that made Dark Matter and turning it into good PR for them. Well, good on them to be perfectly honest.

It's really just good customer service. It's a shame other companies are so bad this looks like a good move.

The Random One:
It's pretty bad when Steam is treating your ending the same way it'd treat a game-halting glitch.

It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Has Steam ever made any pretense to customer support?

shintakie10:

Wait wait wait. Steam is still allowin sales of that game after everythin that happened? Shouldn't quality control be all over that?

Or quality control?

sid:
I'm a little out of the loop here, was it THAT big a deal? It's an indie that really, really fucked up at the ending, shit happens. It's just that looking from the outside into this situation, it feels like we're having EA withdrawal syndrome and need to moshpit the closest industry flop we can find.

Captcha was "lo and behold"

The game evidently just ends abruptly and instead of an actual conclusion you get a wall of text. People are still burned they pulled that in the NES days. Also, they have admitted it to be an incomplete game, now retconning that to the bait-and-switch of saying it's episodic after the fact.

This ain't EA withdrawal. It may be overboard, but still.

DVS BSTrD:
[The sad part is now it's pretty much assured we'll never get the episode that actually provides resolution. It's like watching Two and a Half Men.

Except, evidently, someone actually cares if this is resolved.

Honestly, I'm more than a little torn on them not getting to finish the game. On the one hand, it sucks for people who wanted to see it resolved. On the other, delivering an incomplete game masquerading as a complete one kind of deserves this outcome. It's a shame for the consumer, I guess, but I don't feel bad that they screwed themselves by attempting to deceive the consumer.

I'm becoming convinced that CD Project and GOG are the masters of guerrilla PR.

They're always striking in the most damaging way when other companies make the worst mistakes.

Game has 3 samey endings? The Witcher 2 has 16 incredibly varied endings.

DRM on digital games? GOG offers NO DRM.

Game listed on digital service lies in its advertising? Refunds for everyone who purchased before advertising corrected.

Not certain if they should be praised for their moral choices, praised for how devious it is or distrusted for how devious it is.

Zachary Amaranth:

The Random One:
It's pretty bad when Steam is treating your ending the same way it'd treat a game-halting glitch.

It's also pretty bad when Steam, sellers of The War Z, refuse to sell your game.

Has Steam ever made any pretense to customer support?

I have managed to obtain at least 3 full refunds from Steam since I've used them. Then again they're beholden to the laws of the nation that purchased the product so take that for what you will.

I haven't had a bad experience with it, I guess? I have 128 titles on the platform too.

wulf3n:
Im conflicted.

While I believe the developers in this case acted immoral, and I'm glad they're being called on it, I also look at other games that, to me, feel kind of similar.

Take the Half Life Episodes, I bought the first two on the belief that they would be part of a trilogy. 5 years later I still haven't gotten an ending to that arc. Can I get a refund there?

Then you have Azuras Wrath, which pulled out the "ending" into a DLC, but AFAIK there was no offer for refund or forcing the developers to clarify anything.

The difference with the Half Life Episodes, is you bought an episode. You did not purchase a full game, but just a single episode of the game. Now if Valve had taken your money for all three episodes, and then never released the third, yeah you'd have a case (unless the dev went under, then there just isn't anyone to get your money back from).

As for Azura's Wrath, I have no idea, as I haven't played it. I imagine it didn't end the game in a wall of text that basically says, sorry we didn't have the cash to finish the game, here is what you would have played.

Yesterday they send me a gift code for a YouTube comment I made (it was an entry in their 5th anniversary contest, but still), today these news. I really should shop there more often.

slacker09:
It seems like everyday I find new reasons to love GOG.

It seems every day GOG finds a new way to make us love them. How can we help ourselves?

Oh, right, Dark Matter is this game. I've been hearing about it on Twitter and such for the last week or so, but I didn't realize that it's the failed Kickstarter I pledged a few bucks to a while back.

I should still have an alpha of the game somewhere on my laptop, since they handed it out to backers for free. I've been so busy with other things that I'd completely forgotten about it.

Well... way to GOG, GOG. Good show.

Ugh, sickening.

I'm beginning to despair of GOG's relentless efforts to become 'Good Guy GOG'. Why they feel the need to expend so much energy on this self-respecting quest to become the last bastion of honest, friendly gaming is quite beyond me. I mean, it's quite clearly a transparent ploy to pander to deluded masses who think cutting age games are 'beneath them'.

Really, when are they going to put some nice, easy overbudgeted triple A games on their cheapo site? Where's the reassuring presence of some nice restrictive DRM? Where's the commitment to updating all these old titles with some quality third party sequels with better graphics and less, easier gameplay? When are we going to GOG pull their finger out and finally supply Planescape: Torment with what it really needs - microtransaction character costumes and a patch for better combat with cover mechanics and regenerating health?

Yes, I see what you're doing here, GOG. You pretentious dicks, I know your game. This sort of selfless, reasonable behaviour has no place in modern gaming. You should really just shape up and start modelling your business practices on a nice, successful company. Like EA.

erttheking:
So, GOG.com is basically taking bad PR for the company that made Dark Matter and turning it into good PR for them. Well, good on them to be perfectly honest.

Well half of being a well liked company is knowing how to exploit a bad situation, caused by you or not, and turning it to your advantage. The better you are at it, the more respect you gain. I still think ATLUS has my favorite example of this: Turned "We made the first region locked game" into "We are by far the most honest and trustworthy company, and don't bullshit our fans". That took fucking skill.

I think Steam comes out ahead on this one. GOG offers refunds; Steam straight-up stops selling the game until someone agrees to actually finish it, calling out the lack of an ending for the game-breaking bug it rightfully deserves to be called.

UrinalDook:
Ugh, sickening.

I'm beginning to despair of GOG's relentless efforts to become 'Good Guy GOG'. Why they feel the need to expend so much energy on this self-respecting quest to become the last bastion of honest, friendly gaming is quite beyond me. I mean, it's quite clearly a transparent ploy to pander to deluded masses who think cutting age games are 'beneath them'.

Really, when are they going to put some nice, easy overbudgeted triple A games on their cheapo site? Where's the reassuring presence of some nice restrictive DRM? Where's the commitment to updating all these old titles with some quality third party sequels with better graphics and less, easier gameplay? When are we going to GOG pull their finger out and finally supply Planescape: Torment with what it really needs - microtransaction character costumes and a patch for better combat with cover mechanics and regenerating health?

Yes, I see what you're doing here, GOG. You pretentious dicks, I know your game. This sort of selfless, reasonable behaviour has no place in modern gaming. You should really just shape up and start modelling your business practices on a nice, successful company. Like EA.

I would have called this a cheap, tryhard attempt at satire if someone hadn't unironically expressed this very sentiment just a few posts up.

UrinalDook:
Ugh, sickening.

I'm beginning to despair of GOG's relentless efforts to become 'Good Guy GOG'. Why they feel the need to expend so much energy on this self-respecting quest to become the last bastion of honest, friendly gaming is quite beyond me. I mean, it's quite clearly a transparent ploy to pander to deluded masses who think cutting age games are 'beneath them'.

Really, when are they going to put some nice, easy overbudgeted triple A games on their cheapo site? Where's the reassuring presence of some nice restrictive DRM? Where's the commitment to updating all these old titles with some quality third party sequels with better graphics and less, easier gameplay? When are we going to GOG pull their finger out and finally supply Planescape: Torment with what it really needs - microtransaction character costumes and a patch for better combat with cover mechanics and regenerating health?

Yes, I see what you're doing here, GOG. You pretentious dicks, I know your game. This sort of selfless, reasonable behaviour has no place in modern gaming. You should really just shape up and start modelling your business practices on a nice, successful company. Like EA.

It took me far too long to realise that this was sarcasm. Embarrassingly long.

I think Valve's actions are much more preferable to GOG's, actually suspending sales of a broken/unfinished product unlike GOG and also giving no questions asked refunds of said title, very much unlike GOG.

Here's the question then, why is it that the article hasn't covered Steam refunds of Dark Matter (PR piece?) and here in the forum Steam/Valve has been derided whilst GOG are even still selling this unfinished game at full price and placed sanctions on refunds for those who purchased with nothing but unbridled praise from everyone here? How easy is it to miss a small disclaimer on a full page of text after all...

You should really just shape up and start modelling your business practices on a nice, successful company. Like EA.

Posted yesterday;

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.831673-My-experience-with-EA-customer-service

barbzilla:

The difference with the Half Life Episodes, is you bought an episode. You did not purchase a full game, but just a single episode of the game. Now if Valve had taken your money for all three episodes, and then never released the third, yeah you'd have a case (unless the dev went under, then there just isn't anyone to get your money back from).

As for Azura's Wrath, I have no idea, as I haven't played it. I imagine it didn't end the game in a wall of text that basically says, sorry we didn't have the cash to finish the game, here is what you would have played.

While I accept that there's a big difference between the Half Life Episodes and Dark Matter, the idea is that the consumer is being sold a product in incorrect information.

With Half Life 2: Episode Two it is advertised as part of a trilogy. Interestingly Episode 1 does not :/

Then there's the age old debate of what constitutes a "full game". If the developers aren't lying when they said

We would like to stress that the game is exactly as described on Steam (including that it contains 14 levels)

Then they have technically delivered what they advertised.

I remembered another game that did this, Rage.

It's apparent they ran out of money and had to cut the whole ending. And while people complained... a lot, there wasn't the backlash on the level Dark Matter has seen.

Abomination:
Then again they're beholden to the laws of the nation that purchased the product so take that for what you will.

Were they for heavily contested games?

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