Thursday, 22 August 2013

EA Offers 24 Grace Refund Period on Origin Games

EA? EA! Really?! Okay, sure, let's roll with it.

Now this is something that surprised me, if only because I would have thought that a place like Valve or Good Old Games would have been the first to offer something like this. Now, almost needless to say, but EA was just about the last company on my list of online distributors that I would have pegged as striking first in terms of offering a grace period for game refunds.

And yet, here we are.

It's fairly simple, really. If you buy an EA game through Origin you have a week from the time of purchase, or 24 hours from the time of installation, to ask for a refund if you feel that you don't want the title anymore. It's all outlined, if a little more verbosely, as such,

"Full game digital downloads ... may be eligible for a refund if we receive your request within the earlier of: (i) seven (7) days from the date of purchase, (ii) seven (7) days from the game’s release date if you pre-ordered/pre-purchased or (iii) twenty-four (24) hours after the first time the game is launched or run."

Now, I will grant that those scary words "may be eligible" do appear in this document, but still, it's a way to return games that you feel might have been a mistake to purchase.

Some of the other things are just kind of statements of the obvious, that if the game is part of a bundle that the entire bundle must be returned rather than just the one game, that if you buy things during a sale that you may not be entitled to a refund, and that EA has the right to withhold refunds if they think shenanigans are being perpetrated.

Now, the worry does come in that EA could potentially be really hard assed as to what shenanigans constitutes. However, I would think that such things are only going to be really used in the case of people downloading a game, beating it in a couple of hours, then trying to return it so that they can do the same over and over. I would assume that anyone with a history of attempting to turn in releases after marathoning them would eventually be told "sorry, but no, you're keeping the game", but that for someone who installs, plays an hour, and then decides that it wasn't worth it won't be given too much, if any, hassle.

It's impressive, and as I said before, surprising, that EA is the company that is doing this. I can't help but wonder just how other digital distributors will react, and what plans they may have to meet or exceed this policy now that it's on the table. People have been talking about the notion that Valve may be forced by the European courts to allow reselling of digital titles anyways, and this might provide the push they need in order to get that project fully moving and on the ground.

For once though, it's nice to say that regardless of what other policies are put into place either by EA down the line, or by other companies, this seems to have come down on the side of the consumers as something that's actually useful. Again, the devil is available for sleigh rides from 8AM to 4PM, because hell has clearly frozen over.

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