Steam’s Two-Hour Refund Policy Forces Horror Developer Into “Indefinite” Absence

A screenshot from The Summer of 58.

Image: The Summer of ‘58

Emika Games, the lone developer behind games like the recently-released Summer of ‘58, has decided to leave game development “for an indefinite time” after Steam’s two-hour refund policy resulted in a “huge number of returns” of their latest title.

Summer of 58, released last month, has been well-reviewed on Steam, with an overall “Very Positive” rating and loads of fans leaving nice comments, giving particular praise to its atmosphere and jump scares. But as a short experience—it can be completed in around 90 minutes—that’s left the game vulnerable to Steam’s blanket two-hour refund policy.

The policy, which lets any Steam user get a full refund on a game if they’ve played it for less than two hours, means well! And if you were only 90 minutes into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Crusader Kings III, it would be a perfectly fair and practical way of handling the matter.

For games that can be finished in under that time, though, it’s a huge problem. As we saw back in April, when Before Your Eyes ran into the same situation, the policy means that users can buy a good short game, enjoy it then still get a refund and nobody asks any questions, leaving the creators empty-handed.

That’s left Emika Games without the funds to continue work on their next game, From Day To Day, and as a result they’ve issued a statement saying they are “leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect [their] thoughts”.

Friends! Thank you for your support! I’m leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect my thoughts. The fact is that my game Summer of ‘58 does not reach 2 hours of playing time by Steam standards, in this regard, a huge number of returns on the game, even with positive reviews, and I do not earn anything to create a new game. Thank you very much for supporting me. I am very glad that you like my games, but since I have no conditions to do something new, I have to do something else. I will immediately answer everyone who asks about From Day To Day, this game will not see the light of day in the near future. See you later.

Not every game has to be long! A short, 90-minute experience is sometimes exactly what you need after a rough day at work, and it continues to suck that the creators of these kind of games are left hanging by this policy.

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