Valve Sued by Australia's Consumer Watchdog Over Refund Policy

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Therumancer:

Huh? By "Go After Gabe" I didn't mean commandoes, I meant trying to get him extradited or made to face charges/pay fines if he decided to say run STEAM as a sort of illegal service after officially leaving.

I was making a joke.

At the end of the day all of those other companies that backed down that you mentioned are not worth STEAM in the one area it caters to: distributing games.

I'm sorry, did you just suggest the App Store isn't comparable to Steam in terms of market worth as a digital distribution platform? Because they've been made to bend over by the ACCC before.
https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/apple-australia-gives-undertaking-to-accc-to-improve-its-consumer-guarantees-policies-and-practices

erttheking:

RicoADF:

erttheking:
Christ I wish we had something like this in the States. Well, hope the ACCC wins this one.

Google and Apple stores all comply, they will 'win' as this is already set in law, their basically giving Valve a chance to accept they stuffed up and fix it. If they don't they will be fined/sued.

...If one was to move to Australia from the United States, where would you recommend he go?

Depends. Do you come from a country with decent internet? If you do, don't move here or you'll be disappointed by the low speeds and poor infrastructure. If you come from any country where ADSL is the norm, then any of the major cities on the East coast bar Hobart are good places to move.

Sighs errywhere. I know they don't have a very simple or easy or hell, fair return policy, but damnit people:

YOU CAN GET REFUNDS ON STEAM.

Contact steam/tech support/your local genie, and they will actually refund the game. It's happened on mass scales, and has happened for individuals. However, you can only return a game if it is broken, as it properly unplayable. That means, if you don't like the game - tough shit, you bought the damn thing, do some research first. If it lags because your computer is a pile of toasters glued together with vegimite, sorry mate but it's not Valve's nor the game dev's fault your frame rate is a solid 2.

So yes. The refunds are shitty. But the next time someone goes "THEY DON'T EVER NEVER GIVE OUT REFUNDS AT ALL!" I will attempt to force feed them the raw ingredients of vegimite. For no particular reason, I just want to see what happens if someones taste buds come into contact with that much salt.

BanicRhys:
One Steam coupon for "a shitty indie game you've never heard of" says that Valve won't change a thing and Steam will just wind up being banned in Australia.

I have a great deal of confidence in my country's government, you see.

how would that even work? Steam works as a DRM for non EA/UBI PC games you get in the store....

I feel like this is a case of people siding with the ACCC because its popular to hate the big bad million-dollar company. If you aren't sure you like something, don't buy it. If Valve loses this it will be another case of just protecting people who lack common sense. Despite what people here like to claim, Valve(Or any other game distributor) doesn't 'force early access games on us', its just giving you an extra option for gods sake, or give us false promises on the games we buy. If you don't know exactly what you are buying, its your own fault for being careless and lazy.
You can check out any game for free on youtube before you buy it. Plenty of games have free demos to try. Go to a friends house or something and see if you like it. Getting a refund for a game is like eating out for dinner then deciding you didn't like it enough to pay.

As far as I'm aware, this is all because someone didn't like the game? Short of being actually unplayable because the game is not working as intended, you do not deserve and should not be entitled to a refund.

If it changes anything, I'm Australian myself.

Trippy Turtle:
I feel like this is a case of people siding with the ACCC because its popular to hate the big bad million-dollar company. If you aren't sure you like something, don't buy it. If Valve loses this it will be another case of just protecting people who lack common sense. Despite what people here like to claim, Valve(Or any other game distributor) doesn't 'force early access games on us', its just giving you an extra option for gods sake, or give us false promises on the games we buy. If you don't know exactly what you are buying, its your own fault for being careless and lazy.
You can check out any game for free on youtube before you buy it. Plenty of games have free demos to try. Go to a friends house or something and see if you like it. Getting a refund for a game is like eating out for dinner then deciding you didn't like it enough to pay.

As far as I'm aware, this is all because someone didn't like the game? Short of being actually unplayable because the game is not working as intended, you do not deserve and should not be entitled to a refund.

If it changes anything, I'm Australian myself.

Their talking about buying games that don't work, eg: The latest Aliens: Colonial Marines, the ACCC is hitting them for not having a clear refund policy for such issues. Yes people have gotten refunds but it's often with a "this one time only" attitude even when it's the game that is at fault. They are not saying you should get a refund because you don't like the game, that's not their concern, their refering to games that don't work or are falsely advertised.

While I would normally support this, there does exist the fundamental problem that STEAM, and everything it sells, is wholly digital, and thus, its impossible to refund something.

The entire process of trading in, lending, refunding, only works because physical materials are limited, and break down, thus ensuring new copies must be bought.

Such conditions dont exist in the digital world, there is no limited stock, there in no wearing down of data, digital products are, by their nature, worthless. You cant give back money to something you technically never lost, since Valves total number of game copies never changes from infinity.

Unfortunately, very antiqued consumer rights laws are still stuck in decades past, before any of this existed, and still falsely treat digital selling the same as physical selling, when they are oceans apart.

That took long enough. I'm surprised that the EU hasn't done something about it yet. This could fix a lot of what's wrong with Steam these days due to all the shovelware that's being dumped on Steam.

However, how would you prevent people from playing the game and then asking for a refund after they beat it?

BigTuk:

erttheking:
Christ I wish we had something like this in the States. Well, hope the ACCC wins this one.

Didn't work when the Germans tried it... and believe it or not.. Steam already gives refunds...when the product is genuinely unplayable... but not meeting expectations is a nebulous term. If the game is unplayable or misleadingly advertized.. refund, otherwise... yeah.. it's on ye.

It did when UK tried it though! Whenever steam refuses a refund just cite the UK consumer law and bam - refund. that is if you live in UK. UK law states that a person has a right to return it in 7 days without giving a reason.

ALso germans didnt want a refund, they wnated a right to Resell (as they should by EU law)

Very good, plain facts are Steam doesn't comply with consumer rights of any country other then USA, which means they are breaking the law in most countries...
I know this all seems silly because you already gave up all your rights, but others would still appreciate a fair business.

Trippy Turtle:
I feel like this is a case of people siding with the ACCC because its popular to hate the big bad million-dollar company. If you aren't sure you like something, don't buy it. If Valve loses this it will be another case of just protecting people who lack common sense. Despite what people here like to claim, Valve(Or any other game distributor) doesn't 'force early access games on us', its just giving you an extra option for gods sake, or give us false promises on the games we buy. If you don't know exactly what you are buying, its your own fault for being careless and lazy.
You can check out any game for free on youtube before you buy it. Plenty of games have free demos to try. Go to a friends house or something and see if you like it. Getting a refund for a game is like eating out for dinner then deciding you didn't like it enough to pay.

As far as I'm aware, this is all because someone didn't like the game? Short of being actually unplayable because the game is not working as intended, you do not deserve and should not be entitled to a refund.

If it changes anything, I'm Australian myself.

As has already been said, this absolutely isn't about someone wanting to return the game because "it sucks".

Shamanic Rhythm:

Therumancer:

Huh? By "Go After Gabe" I didn't mean commandoes, I meant trying to get him extradited or made to face charges/pay fines if he decided to say run STEAM as a sort of illegal service after officially leaving.

I was making a joke.

At the end of the day all of those other companies that backed down that you mentioned are not worth STEAM in the one area it caters to: distributing games.

I'm sorry, did you just suggest the App Store isn't comparable to Steam in terms of market worth as a digital distribution platform? Because they've been made to bend over by the ACCC before.
https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/apple-australia-gives-undertaking-to-accc-to-improve-its-consumer-guarantees-policies-and-practices

Shamanic Rhythm:

Therumancer:

Huh? By "Go After Gabe" I didn't mean commandoes, I meant trying to get him extradited or made to face charges/pay fines if he decided to say run STEAM as a sort of illegal service after officially leaving.

I was making a joke.

At the end of the day all of those other companies that backed down that you mentioned are not worth STEAM in the one area it caters to: distributing games.

I'm sorry, did you just suggest the App Store isn't comparable to Steam in terms of market worth as a digital distribution platform? Because they've been made to bend over by the ACCC before.
https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/apple-australia-gives-undertaking-to-accc-to-improve-its-consumer-guarantees-policies-and-practices

But that's Apple, Apple is a more diverse business that sells products across a larger spectrum, laptops, computers, notepads, phones, digital distribution... their App store, is just part of it's product portfolio. Taking losses due to refunds on the app store is compensated by doing business across the rest of the spectrum. Valve does not do other kinds of business, so it's entirely about the digital distribution, if they are going to potentially take a big enough loss, there is no reason to continue to sell in The Australian market. What's more Apple has viable competition from other app marketplaces, Steam does not, if Steam leaves Australia PC gaming as a whole suffers. See the thing is that even if Apple didn't make a cent off of the app store due to Australian returns policies, it would make money through selling it's other products, thus it's worth it for them.

Now don't get me wrong, I'd actually like to see Australia succeed here, as I do not like the digital marketplace and agree with their principles, and I do not disagree that they have gotten other businesses to comply, however Steam is in a different position that a lot of these other companies even if it's not as big, since it's not really the size or power that matters here, it's being more or less the only game in town at their level when it comes to PC gaming, and the simple fact that it doesn't do anything else besides distribute games digitally, so one can't say that it's worth their while to comply with something like this due to the other aspects of their business. As I said in another response had Australia decided to wait until Valve went into other areas like it's been talking about doing, manufacturing hardware and the like, then it would arguably have a bit more leverage, because Valve would weigh those losses against the overall gains across their various products, and it would come out as being far more worthwhile.

I'm a pessimist though, that's why I think this might be the way things are going. Right now Valve holds something close to a monopoly on digital PC game distribution, and Australia as a market has always had problems getting games (according to the complaints I've read), that puts them in a rather unique position. Remember even though bigger companies, guys like Apple and Microsoft also compete with each other, if say Apple leaves the Australian market, everyone will just buy other products of the same type. If STEAM leaves, who else will Australians buy games from? Sure there are digital distributors, but none as good as STEAM either in terms of selection or prices, it's literally in a class by itself.... and again since Digital Distribution is all Valve does, if Australia cuts into Gabe's profits, and/or he thinks it represents a risk due to these policies, what's in it for him to keep dealing with Australia and help them establish precedents? If he packs up and go home, a lot of people are going to be very upset, and odds are if he threatens to do it, I'd imagine a lot of Australians would probably start pushing for Valve to get some kind of exemption, even if they disagree in principle, there is probably a very high demand for the service he provides, especially given that people are probably already heavily invested in Valve due to having bought games on their
platform and if Gabe leaves, they lose everything.

I actually hope I'm wrong, but the bottom line is if Valve pushes, I think it's actually got Australia by the nads. That's one of the advantages to a virtual monopoly and why you try and stop people from establishing them (or Cartels if you can help it)... and of course one of the reasons I've always hated digital distribution is that if a company goes down or loses everything and is forced to go out of business, they take all your virtual property with them. I only do it because I have to, but as a general rule I do not like the idea of giving someone real money for a product I do not have control over myself.

Therumancer:

Actually a lot of this is probably going to come down to how much STEAM wants to play hardball. They are a digital distribution service, and as a general rule returning a digital product is a touchy subject, as nothing prevents you from say playing the game, or simply deciding you don't like it/suffer buyers remorse and then return it. Furthermore while it was a bad idea, STEAM has started doing a big business by selling/distributing unfinished games in alpha and beta states, as much as I agree they shouldn't do that, but it is part of their model now, and they could arguably be made to refund money from nearly every early access title they sold.

STEAM's likely counter move in this case is going to be to tell Australia to blow off, and deal with it, if they don't, STEAM will leave. At the end of the day this is going to hurt Australian consumers more than their long standing policies have, since Australia has had a notoriously hard time getting games in the past, and I've heard some Aussies describe STEAM in terms reserved from angels descending from the heavens when it comes to gaming. EA still generally wants to sell physical products in Australia, console games and the like, but right now STEAM doesn't do any kind of physical business, it's entirely digital.

What's more the internet being what it is, once they "officially" leave Australia it just means that Aussies will likely still keep buying STEAM games, finding ways around whatever mechanisms the government puts into place to stop them. Especially if Valve helps from that end. Sure technically one can argue "The Australian Government will go after Gabe" but I just don't see it happening. I mean look at the fiasco involved in getting Kim Dotcom, and he doesn't have half the swing and good will of Gabe Newell and Valve, especially seeing as Gabe isn't even really stealing anything, he's just violating internet control. It's not like crap has happened to China and it's done far worse things across
all areas of commerce.

That said, it's not likely to be any kind of fight like that. At the end of the day, I think Australia needs STEAM more than STEAM needs Australia. Especially given the amount of products people have purchased that are already dependent on the service. Basically your looking at a real world continental sequel to "Children Of Steam".

Don't get me wrong, I agree 100% with the principles of Australia's consumer policies, and I do think there should be mechanisms in place for digital refunds. Of course at the same time I understand why digital distributors, given the current technology, do not want to offer refunds. I'd like to see Australia win, and some kind of massive wave of pro-consumer policies eminate outwards from the land down under, and bring reforms to digital businesses (with many more to come, I have never been a big fan of Digital Distribution, preferring "disc in hand" I simply suffer it because I have to) but I don't see it happening. The most Australia can do is tell Gabe "if you don't comply, you can't do business here" at which point in weighing that precedent compared to the value of Australian customers (considering the amount of money he could lose here especially if the rulings turn STEAM into what amounts to a free game service due to forced returns) I think there is a good chance he'll just leave. STEAM doesn't have other services on the same level to compete with at the moment.

Well, you're out of touch.

Steam price gouge so heavily in Australia that they wont even blink. They'll agree to the terms as fast as possible so it isnt very public, and return to business as usual. The fact a small percentage of people are getting returns will mean nothing when we pay anywhere up to double what US users pay.

So no, Steam wont play hardball because even when they lose, they've already won. Because the REAL issue which is digital pricing. Involving companies such as Steam, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Google and others, each investigation is stonewalled with the companies refusing to co-operate and nothing changing. The companies absorb the fine without flinching, and continue to rip us off.

Edit: Extra points for the stifling of the competition. GoG has been forced to implement a 'region selector' after being sued by Australian business (which lucky they were clever and made it entirely elective, not IP based.) and Amazon only offers digital sales if you have a US billing address.

Therumancer:

I actually hope I'm wrong, but the bottom line is if Valve pushes, I think it's actually got Australia by the nads. That's one of the advantages to a virtual monopoly and why you try and stop people from establishing them (or Cartels if you can help it)... and of course one of the reasons I've always hated digital distribution is that if a company goes down or loses everything and is forced to go out of business, they take all your virtual property with them. I only do it because I have to, but as a general rule I do not like the idea of giving someone real money for a product I do not have control over myself.

This word monopoly, I don't think it means what you think it does.

Greenman Gaming, Origin, GoG, Ozgameshop, Uplay, Amazon (with some address trickery), GetGames, Humble Store. And that's just off the top of my head and not including a lot of other foreign options or grey-area key sites.

I actually don't buy much off steam at all these days because of their horrid pricing. Especially Triple A releases. Can nearly always get a better price off Greenman or Get Games.

And you just countered your own argument. Do you have any idea of the backlash if Steam decided to up and lock out Australia? Would be fucking stupidity incarnate. Will never happen.

Also I think people in this thread are vastly overestimating the powers of ACCC. They are the very definition of a paper tiger.

Well I mean...yeah. It's a fundamental part of Australian Consumer law,if a product is defective it's on the vendor to replace or refund. Pretty basic stuff, honestly I've been saying for a while that steam needs some sort of refund policy.

Come on valve just change your policy and offer refunds, when EA of all people are better at you than this you need to take a look in the mirror and think "where have i done fucked up?".

I think this should also apply in Europe , as far as i know the European law is almost the same.

i actually welcome this as good news, the biggest flaw in valve ws that they had a "one time refund" which since i'm in the UK means S*** since we can get a refund (if the product is faulty)

Strazdas:

BigTuk:

erttheking:
Christ I wish we had something like this in the States. Well, hope the ACCC wins this one.

Didn't work when the Germans tried it... and believe it or not.. Steam already gives refunds...when the product is genuinely unplayable... but not meeting expectations is a nebulous term. If the game is unplayable or misleadingly advertized.. refund, otherwise... yeah.. it's on ye.

It did when UK tried it though! Whenever steam refuses a refund just cite the UK consumer law and bam - refund. that is if you live in UK. UK law states that a person has a right to return it in 7 days without giving a reason.

ALso germans didnt want a refund, they wnated a right to Resell (as they should by EU law)

WOw, so you're saying Under UK Law I could say purchase, a Book, comic, DVD, or a magazine and as long as I can plow through it in under 7 days I can get a refund? Damn! I could have free Books, DVDs and COmics for life!

Go and get them ACCC!

I'm very displeased how things run atm in the software world.
For physical products I'm able to get replacements, repairs or refunds in case of a faulty product very easily being backed by several consumer rights.
For software this is usually not possible and you are basically at the mercy of the publisher/developer (whatever). And let's face it: The track record of the industry isn't that good.

Akisa:

uguito-93:

BigTuk:

Perth and Adelaide are medium sized cities, their more like the traditional Australian towns with people being more polite, more likely to help eachother out and are cheaper places to live.

Honestly, as someone who lives here, Perth is probably one of the most expensive cities to live in almost anywhere. Everything from food to retail to housing has been steadily getting more and more expensive over the years. Right now alcohol insane with most 6-packs costing you $15-$20

Seems cheap, what brand? Than again I live in NYC.

Thats what something on the cheap side like a corona would cost, what's it like over in NYC? I'd imagine it would be close to that, or even a bit more.

Sleekit:

erttheking:

RicoADF:

Google and Apple stores all comply, they will 'win' as this is already set in law, their basically giving Valve a chance to accept they stuffed up and fix it. If they don't they will be fined/sued.

...If one was to move to Australia from the United States, where would you recommend he go?

New Zealand

ba dum tsh

Seconded.

It's similar, but less things can kill you and everyone is a bit less drunk.

OT: Good.

Fuck steam and fuck their terrible customer support.

In the UK you can already get a refund for a game by reminding Valve of our consumer rights laws, they'll then give you a refund and pretend it's a one off out of the goodness of their hearts and not because it is legally required. You shouldn't have to basically threaten them with legal action to get a refund on a faulty game but that is how Steam Support want to play it. So now I don't buy games directly through Steam (hurray for Humble Bundle and gog.com!).

Good luck ACCC and Australian gamers, hopefully Valve won't have a hissy fit and stop selling you games outright.

For once I'm the Australian Government's side...

well... unless this hearing is also a sneaky way to force censorship down the industry's throat again.

not bad. i wish i could get my money back for duke forever. but since i did purchase the game in hong kong, i think i can forget it. still wish EA will give me my money back for BF4 but nope, not happening. at least for the damn premium i want my money back.
hope hong kong laws will have this as well.

uguito-93:

Thats what something on the cheap side like a corona would cost, what's it like over in NYC? I'd imagine it would be close to that, or even a bit more.

HA! Corona is not cheap beer. West End, Teds, Carlton Cold etc. they're cheap beers.

OT: There's too many people here that aren't reading the article. They want refunds to be available all the time for games that are (This part here is what you've missed) BROKEN/FAULTY/FALSELY ADVERTISED.

Right now you can get a refund yes, however it takes much longer than it should and you're treated very poorly for doing so. Took me a month and a bit to get a refund for Ghost Recon as it was literally unplayable, and I got a nice little e-mail saying, "This is the only time we'll do this.". Can you imagine going into a retail shop with a product that is from the get go broken, and then spending the next month trying to get them to refund it and finally being told, "Okay, but this is a one time thing". You would never shop there again!

And if Steam does play hardball and stops distributing to Australia, the PR and loss of business is gonna be HUGE. Steam's already copping flack for the lack of quality control, imagine the flack they'll get for being the kid who grabbed their toys and walked off the playground. And whilst I'm not saying Australia is a huge factor in Steam's sales, we are still a percentage. And while it may not be a huge loss to begin with, the business will go elsewhere (Origin for example) and the added influx of users on other distributors will mean that the company will be able to begin to add benefits similar to Steam. Cheaper games, better quality control, wider range.

As a few people have said before me, when EA's Origin is offering 7 day refunds and free games (varying from tripple A to indie) every so often, you need to check your shit.

SajuukKhar:
While I would normally support this, there does exist the fundamental problem that STEAM, and everything it sells, is wholly digital, and thus, its impossible to refund something.

The entire process of trading in, lending, refunding, only works because physical materials are limited, and break down, thus ensuring new copies must be bought.

Such conditions dont exist in the digital world, there is no limited stock, there in no wearing down of data, digital products are, by their nature, worthless. You cant give back money to something you technically never lost, since Valves total number of game copies never changes from infinity.

Unfortunately, very antiqued consumer rights laws are still stuck in decades past, before any of this existed, and still falsely treat digital selling the same as physical selling, when they are oceans apart.

Funny that gog, gamers gate, Google, Apple, Amazon and even the evil EA can do refunds of digital goods. What's so magical about steam? It's rather simple, you get your money back and the game is removed from your account.

As stated this is in reference to Australian Consumer law that the game must work and be as described. If not then the store (physical or digital) are required by law to issue a refund. There's no discussion, it's the law and valve has been breaking it. Now they are being called up to answer for their crimes.

Valve really needs to start doing refunds, so I am glad they are getting some real flak for this. I love steam, but this is something that needs to change.

VanQ:

Depends. Do you come from a country with decent internet? If you do, don't move here or you'll be disappointed by the low speeds and poor infrastructure. If you come from any country where ADSL is the norm, then any of the major cities on the East coast bar Hobart are good places to move.

Our internet isn't that bad actually. We have ADSL and ADSL2+ as well as 100mb/s Cable and NBN (fibre). From reading articles here people in the US often only get ADSL and even then it's slower and less data caps than we get, so really we're not getting such a bad deal. Because we have competition the deals are kept competitive where as alot of areas in the US have a monopoly. True Telstra has that in alot of rural areas but that's why the NBN is being rolled out there first.

I think the real reason people think our net is so bad isn't due to our net speed itself but rather due to the higher pings we get and slower load times of websites. What people forget though is that game servers and websites are normally hosted in the US, the other side of the planet. So while our speeds can be as good or even better than our US counterparts the distance still gives us more lag and higher ping, only those such as myself with 100mb/s have enough speed to compensate for the distance.

Steam won't leave Australia... they wouldn't be foolish enough to cut out an entire section of the market, especially when other digital distributors are there. The bad PR, and pressure from publishers will be enough to keep them there.

Do you think EA, Activision, Bethesda, etc would continue to opt for their games to distribute through steam if it meant they lost access to 22.7 million potential customers? This is 2013 data for steam sales revenue that I snagged from gamasutra... https://twitter.com/seanethompson/status/423552044696231936/photo/1 5% may be nothing in comparison to the 40% that comes out of NA and Western Europe, but there are what 75M+ users on steam now? For hypothetical numbers (since Valve doesn't release financial data) lets say every user buys on average $20 worth of games in a YEAR. which really isn't a big deal when you factor in sales and the like. Yes, some of those accounts are deactivated, but some people buy a lot more than $20 a year in games too... so it balances out, plus... examples!

So 75M users, at $20 a game is $1.5 Billion... at 30% revenue (that supposedly gog&steam take according to Phil Fish) That's $450M total revenue lets cut that in half to say pay for operational costs (which is probably way WAY WAY more than it would need). Now we're looking at a profit of $225M a year total global sales... 11 Million of that would have come from Australia...

Sure it isn't $90M from NA or WE, but 11 million is nothing to scoff at, and that's just a bunch of random guesses for numbers, and probably isn't even close to the true profit numbers. and for what, to not allow refunds? Give me a break... as many others have said Steam does allow refunds, they just make you have to work/fight for it... I could see them changing their policy to be something like this:

1) Early Access Games are not included... When you buy them there is a huge blue caption... "Note: This Early Access game may or may not change significantly over the course of development. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you may want to wait until the game progresses further in development."

AKA BUYERS BEWARE. If you aren't sure then you shouldn't be spending money on it. Value doesn't/shouldn't need to pay the bill for your impulse buying / poor decision making.

2) There will most likely be a very tight time frame (48 hours, 7 days, whatever) Something that makes it hard to 'completely' the game and then want a refund. This may also tie into time played of a game as well. (Eg, you can't log 60 hours into a game over 5 days, then want a refund on day 6)

3) There must be a defect or fault in the GAME that causes it to not function... If you bought Galactic Civilization 3 for your dual-core 10 year old computer and then complain when you can't run it... TOO BAD, There are system specs for the game, the game runs correctly (assuming you bought it after early access that is) the onus is on YOU to purchase games that you can play. I don't buy a motorcycle and then bitch at Yamaha for a refund because I can't drive it.

Either way the outcome Steam won't be losing out... as they will most likely refund the game, but then take the money back from the publisher. The publisher will get the hit most because that 30% distribution fee probably won't be factored in either. E.g. buy a game for $50, Valve takes 30% ($15 bucks). Consumer refunds it, Valve pays them back $50, and gets $50 back from the publisher. Even though the publisher only say $35 of that sale to start with.

ron1n:

Therumancer:

I actually hope I'm wrong, but the bottom line is if Valve pushes, I think it's actually got Australia by the nads. That's one of the advantages to a virtual monopoly and why you try and stop people from establishing them (or Cartels if you can help it)... and of course one of the reasons I've always hated digital distribution is that if a company goes down or loses everything and is forced to go out of business, they take all your virtual property with them. I only do it because I have to, but as a general rule I do not like the idea of giving someone real money for a product I do not have control over myself.

This word monopoly, I don't think it means what you think it does.

Greenman Gaming, Origin, GoG, Ozgameshop, Uplay, Amazon (with some address trickery), GetGames, Humble Store. And that's just off the top of my head and not including a lot of other foreign options or grey-area key sites.

I actually don't buy much off steam at all these days because of their horrid pricing. Especially Triple A releases. Can nearly always get a better price off Greenman or Get Games.

And you just countered your own argument. Do you have any idea of the backlash if Steam decided to up and lock out Australia? Would be fucking stupidity incarnate. Will never happen.

Also I think people in this thread are vastly overestimating the powers of ACCC. They are the very definition of a paper tiger.

Note that I called it a VIRTUAL Monopoly, and also qualified it by pointing to the scale of Valve's business. None of those groups you mention operate on anything close to the same level. I do not think any of them are capable of even coming close to compensating for a lack of Steam.

.... and yes, I do have some idea of the backlash, which is part of why I think that if Valve plays hardball they will win. At the end of the day as much as people will badmouth Valve, they will wind up pushing to get Australia to give an exemption. They won't be happy about it (doing it under duress) but the bottom line is the same reasons there would be backlash are the reasons why they would push to get Valve to stay.

Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see Australia win, I just don't think it can if Valve decides to fight. The big question is whether or not Valve will, some people seem to think I'm wrong about Gabe and being pro-consumer he'll just calmly fall into line. Of course I'm commenting based on the fact that Valve hasn't done it so far which is why the issue even exists.

BigTuk:

Strazdas:

BigTuk:

Didn't work when the Germans tried it... and believe it or not.. Steam already gives refunds...when the product is genuinely unplayable... but not meeting expectations is a nebulous term. If the game is unplayable or misleadingly advertized.. refund, otherwise... yeah.. it's on ye.

It did when UK tried it though! Whenever steam refuses a refund just cite the UK consumer law and bam - refund. that is if you live in UK. UK law states that a person has a right to return it in 7 days without giving a reason.

ALso germans didnt want a refund, they wnated a right to Resell (as they should by EU law)

WOw, so you're saying Under UK Law I could say purchase, a Book, comic, DVD, or a magazine and as long as I can plow through it in under 7 days I can get a refund? Damn! I could have free Books, DVDs and COmics for life!

Yes, you could. However reality shows that people abusing the law like that are very few. Of course, it allows some bad apples like your example, however this is the price i find acceptable to have decent consumer protection laws.

you know where you could also have free books, dvds and comics for life? piracy. but your not doing that now are you (or at least you wont admit due to rules of conduit here). Just because you can game the system does not mean that people will do it en mass.

Strazdas:

BigTuk:

Strazdas:

It did when UK tried it though! Whenever steam refuses a refund just cite the UK consumer law and bam - refund. that is if you live in UK. UK law states that a person has a right to return it in 7 days without giving a reason.

ALso germans didnt want a refund, they wnated a right to Resell (as they should by EU law)

WOw, so you're saying Under UK Law I could say purchase, a Book, comic, DVD, or a magazine and as long as I can plow through it in under 7 days I can get a refund? Damn! I could have free Books, DVDs and COmics for life!

Yes, you could. However reality shows that people abusing the law like that are very few. Of course, it allows some bad apples like your example, however this is the price i find acceptable to have decent consumer protection laws.

you know where you could also have free books, dvds and comics for life? piracy. but your not doing that now are you (or at least you wont admit due to rules of conduit here). Just because you can game the system does not mean that people will do it en mass.

Mmm-Hmmm... you need to take a closer study of human behaviour. See most countries with sensible laws don't allow a good to be refunded after the value of the good has been extracted. It'd be like asking for your money back at Wendy's after you've eaten your entire meal. Though i wonder if this inherently means a cash refund or a replacement...since really I can't imagine what sort of idiocy would allow someone to return a book and get their money back after they've already read it. That's a legal loophole big enough to fit Kim Jong Sun's crazy through.

Just because a law benefits a group you belong to doesn't make it a sensible or even good law.

TheDoctor455:
For once I'm the Australian Government's side...

well... unless this hearing is also a sneaky way to force censorship down the industry's throat again.

That's the beauty of the insidious plan, they piss off Steam enough they pack up shop and leave and suddenly a large gaming market is gone, HURRAH! Censorship!! /crackpotconspiracytheory.

On topic, good to see this happening. Not that I've needed to get a refund from Steam in the past but still, this should be nice in the future if I ever do need one.

Valve is one of my favorite companies and one of the very few to earn any trust, but I hope they are fined and forced to give refunds in this case.

BigTuk:

Mmm-Hmmm... you need to take a closer study of human behaviour. See most countries with sensible laws don't allow a good to be refunded after the value of the good has been extracted. It'd be like asking for your money back at Wendy's after you've eaten your entire meal. Though i wonder if this inherently means a cash refund or a replacement...since really I can't imagine what sort of idiocy would allow someone to return a book and get their money back after they've already read it. That's a legal loophole big enough to fit Kim Jong Sun's crazy through.

Just because a law benefits a group you belong to doesn't make it a sensible or even good law.

Yah, id rather take studies of real life behaviuor instead, which proves that most people dont abuse the system.

Most countries with sensible laws have consumer rights protection prioritized, hence ability to refund a broken TV for example. This is no different - ability to refund a broken game that was, for example, advertised for what it was not.
Yes, due to different case of determining whether the value was "Extracted" or not some abuse is possible, however it is preferable to laws that does not protect consumer from abuse of developers.

If i were to go to wendys and order a meal, and after eating half would find out that the other half is fileld with rotten meat, damn straight i would get a refund.

Most like its a "refund to steal wallet" so you still got to spend the money in there as it turns out. altrough ive seen systems where you should get refunded in same way you paid, but for videogames its mostly refunded in store credit - so a replacement in this case.

Just because allows a group of people to abuse it does not make it a bad law either.

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