This is an article that we've had on the backburner for a while now, but Microsoft has somewhat forced our hand. One of the big features on Steam for quite a while has been its ability to allow you to get a refund on digital purchases. The terms of service state that, as long as you don't abuse the system, you're eligible to request a refund on digital purchases assuming you haven't played for longer than two hours and the transaction occurred less than two weeks ago. Now it's emerged that the Xbox One (and Windows 10 store) will offer a similar initiative – though it doesn't extend to DLC as of yet.
And this is something that we've been pondering since the No Man's Sky debacle exploded last summer. It's perhaps worth stressing that refunds aren't unprecedented on the PlayStation Network: many have received their money back after contacting customer support because of buggy games or even those that don't meet a certain quality threshold. But the difference is that what Steam – and now Microsoft – are offering here is automated: you don't have to jump through any hoops to get a refund if you're eligible and not found to be abusing the system.
So, is this something that Sony should implement? Common sense states absolutely yes, as it removes consumer risk. But there are downsides: Firewatch – a game which can be completed in under two hours if you try – caused a bit of a moral storm last year when one individual pondered whether they should request a refund for the title despite enjoying it. Technically, that person was eligible for a refund, and could have got their money back without any abuse of the system – but is that the right thing to do? It's an interesting angle to the discussion, for sure.
For our money, we'd like to see digital refunds become a standard across all online platforms, and we'd like to think that people wouldn't game the system and ultimately screw developers out of the revenue they've worked to earn. The PSN may be creaky in some areas, but Sony does have the power to offer refunds, and so this functionality would just need to be worked into a more consumer-facing format to make it happen. But is this something you'd like to see the company pour effort into, or are you ambivalent when it comes to this topic?
Should Sony allow refunds on the PSN? (237 votes)
Yes, refunds should be offered to mitigate consumer risk
I'm not sure, it could be abused
No, I honestly doubt I'd ever request a refund anyway
Please login to vote in this poll.