[Update] Steam Is Not Making Exceptions To Its Refund Policy For No Man's Sky
Update: The Steam store page for No Man's Sky has been updated to include a disclaimer saying, "The standard Steam refund policy applies to No Man’s Sky. There are no special exemptions available."
We've reached out to Sony and Amazon for comment on their refund policies regarding No Man's Sky and will update the story should they respond.
Original Story (August 27th, 2016 @ 6:12 p.m. Central)
No Man's Sky is a game full of promise that doesn't quite deliver on what it sets out to do. In our review of the game, Matt Miller said "the mid- and endgame experiences teeter away from sci-fi splendor and into rote repetition." Players are understandably upset they didn't get what they wanted from the game, and it seems retailers are still providing refunds on the game in some cases.
Recent Reddit and NeoGAF threads have begun collecting stories of people reporting being able to get refunds on No Man's Sky through Amazon, Steam, and even Sony's PSN service. Users who reported technical difficulties with the game have been receiving refunds, even after spending as many as 50 hours with it. Many have also reported success through live chat channels with Sony and Amazon, as opposed to email.
Although No Man's Sky seems to have created a spike in refunds across multiple services, in many cases the refunds are not out of the norm. Steam's current refund policy guarantees a refund if the buyer has spent under two hours playing the game and has owned it for fewer than two weeks, but does state that "even if you fall outside of the refund rules we’ve described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we’ll take a look." Amazon, similarly, states: "Amazon will make case-by-case exceptions and accept returns for units fulfilled through [Fullfilment By Amazon] that may be past the stated return time frame." Amazon's policy on downloaded games, however, states that it will not refund those purchases.
PSN refunds are perhaps the most surprising; Sony states they will refund any purchase with 14 days of purchase, but only if the buyer has not begun downloading the game itself. Not everyone has reported being able to get a refund, but it seems as though enough people have that the threads have proliferated with success stories. "For anyone who is not getting a refund I would just keep trying," said Reddit user whaaatcrazy. "I'm not sure why it works for some and not others but no harm in just trying again."
Correction (08/29/16): The headline for this story previously made it sound as though Steam, Amazon, and PSN were offering refunds to anyone who requested them. This was not the case. We have corrected this article and apologize for the error.
Return fiascos like this are always interesting to watch, if only to see how companies will bend their normally-strict return policies in cases where there is widespread controversy over a game. In the case of No Man's Sky, the mix of technical and larger design issues may have muddied the waters enough that companies are willing to err on the side of keeping their customers satisfied.