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The debacle surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 has, not for the first time, highlighted a gaping flaw in the PlayStation Store. We’ve talked about refunds before – amusingly, when No Man’s Sky was underfire for failing to deliver on its promises – but another anticipated title has fallen short of expectations, and so here we are again.

Sony’s official policy is as such: if you purchase a game from the PS Store and don’t download it, you’ll be eligible for a refund assuming you request your money back within 14 days. It’s an unbelievably weak stance – especially when you consider that pre-orders automatically download prior to release these days, anyway.

For comparison, Steam will issue a refund on any purchase, as long as your play time doesn’t exceed two hours and you request your money back within 14 days. Google Stadia’s return policy is identical. Both are infinitely more reasonable than the policy PlayStation has in place, where even downloading the game – but never booting it – can revoke your eligibility for a refund.

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Worse still, the Japanese giant’s approach is all over the place. Over the weekend there were numerous reports of disgruntled Cyberpunk 2077 owners receiving refunds; today, things appear to have swung the other way. It’s likely that customer service representatives have been told to stop issuing refunds for the title, but that reflects badly on everyone.

The entire situation’s a mess: CD Projekt RED’s statement was purposefully vague, but it certainly alluded to the fact that refunds would be eligible through the PS Store. If that’s the case, then why is Sony now denying them? Could it be that the Polish company, irresponsibly, published the comments without even contacting the platform holder and consulting the firm on its stance?

That seems unthinkable, but make no mistake, no one comes out of this fiasco looking good. Sony’s inconsistent approach to refunds is outright confusing; if some customers have already received refunds for Cyberpunk 2077 – as has been proven by multiple users on Reddit – then why is it now stopping others from returning the title? It needs to be consistent here.

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CD Projekt RED, also, should not be trying to pass the buck. Today it apologised for not showing PS4 footage of the RPG prior to release; we’d been in constant communication with the company months ago, and we didn’t get review code until hours before launch. That was clearly a calculated decision, and the management can’t handwave that away.

The only good that can possibly come from this debacle is if it forces Sony to take a longer, harder look at its refund policy and make some meaningful decisions moving forwards. Its existing stipulations seem miserly in an era where the PS5 Digital Edition exists, and there’s clearly no consistency to the way it’s implementing them anyway.

Obviously, as consumers we can all be a bit more proactive with how we spend our money, and perhaps this is yet another strike against the dreaded “pre-order culture” that we’re all guilty of falling victim, too. But all of these companies – whether it’s Sony, CD Projekt RED, or another party – want our hard-earned cash, and it’s now up to them to regain our trust.

How do you feel about Sony’s returns policy for PS Store purchases right now? What do you think would be a fairer approach? Have you tried and failed to get your money back for Cyberpunk 2077? Request a refund in the comments section below.