Episode 19 - Refunds for Games

Refunds for games. The topic has been brought up before, but hasn’t really become an issue until just recently. Given recent concerns with games like No Man’s Sky, Aaron and Chris felt compelled to dive into the topic, approaching it with some unique perspectives not commonly shared. What is a reasonable refund policy for games? Has that changed with the decline in demos for more popular titles? How much of the burden should be shouldered by the consumer, the developer, and/or the publisher? We all play a role in this ecosystem, and understanding where the line should be drawn is a very important topic for discussion. Also, Chris shares another great Twitch streamer. Finally, the gamers discuss their latest gaming assignments: I Am Setsuna and Maximo: Army of Zin. Hint: If you like old school RPGs, check out this segment!

Show Notes:

  1. BCG Discussion Topic - Refunds for Games
    -Amazon, Steam, and Sony have been issuing refunds for No Man's Sky essentially regardless of reason or length of time played (despite their comments to the contrary)
    -Steam already has a refund policy for games that you've played for less than two hours
        -Is this reasonable? What if you've played it more?
        -Some people want to get a refund with No Man's Sky after 40+ hours played
    -We used to solve this issue with demos, but we're seeing fewer and fewer of these released
    -Allowing refunds for nearly any reason is completely unprecedented and will have a profound impact on developers and publishers alike
    -We've played many games worse than No Man's Sky and have also seen many releases that didn't live up to the hype (Spore, Brutal Legend, SimCity re-release), but we never thought we could get refunds for these
    -How many indie developers will suffer because they have to issue refunds for short/unpolished/experimental games that someone doesn't "love" and demands money back?
       -Think great, but controversial games like Gone Home, 3/4ths Home, and all other "games that aren't games" we discussed in the past
    -How many large developers will "play it safe" for fear of angering consumers to the point where they lose money -- will all games become the "Madden" development model of small iterations each year?
    -This is a pivot point where we either judge games as art or as software (more akin to Microsoft Office). Do we hold a pre-release feature list as a binding contract to deliver?
    -How does this really impact the messaging during the development of a game? Is it the responsibility of the developers to accurately convey what's actually in the game just prior to release, or is it the consumer's issue? Should they just wait to buy it?
    -What role do reviewers play in this process?
    -How does pre-ordering play into this?
  2. Found it on Twitch - Ducksauce - https://twitch.tv/ducksauce
    -Long-time streamer, part-time actor with voiceovers and the like
    -Great personality, funny, and a little crude
    -A general streamer, but tends to stick to a couple of core games
        -For many years, it was World of Warcraft
        -Now he also plays other popular games
        -Throws in some horror games every once in a while
    -Does a morning show for a few hours each weekday
        -Many just join to listen to him; the game is a secondary component
       -He's hilarious over time and really interacts very well with his audience
        -A take-no-crap kind of guy with a genuine personality
    -He's a big streamer, but not as big as some others due to the fact that he just puts on the show he wants to do; he doesn't really bend to others' opinions
        -Good to see someone create what they want to create despite controversy or issue
  3. Game Assignments
    -Last Episode's Assignments: I Am Setsuna (Chris); Maximo: Army of Zin (Aaron)
    -Next Episode's Assignments: Resident Evil 4 (Chris); Cities: Skylines (Aaron)