There are plenty of problems on Twitch. Sometimes, you get streamers that try to shock or capitalize on others' success. Other times, you get these boob streamers that aren't even there to play the game. I mean, they wear a low-cut top, talk about themselves, make sure they are constantly posing, but aren't putting any effort into the game they are getting into. It isn't all about looks! We need substance. But now, there is even an issue with substance on Twitch. This time, it's a controversy about refund policies and how Twitch streamers handle them.
Have you ever been super excited for a game to come out? You made sure your console and/or PC was completely prepared; your body was ready. Everything was set for a great experience. You boot up the game, put your hands on the controls, and get ready for an awesome ride. Then, it happens. The gameplay, the graphics, and the soundscape aren't right' something about the game is off. This isn't what you wanted, this wasn't what you expected. The unspeakable happens, and you realize that the game sucks! Where in the world do you go from here? You'll never get anything for the heartbreak, the time you wasted being excited before the release. But perhaps you can ease the pain of your wallet at least. Time to bring the game back to the store, or file for a refund on a digital copy.
Digital refund systems like those used by Steam have only become popular in the past few years. They're a fantastic solution to a part of the market that really was left in the dark ages. Refunds have always been possible for physical copies of games, so why shouldn't they also be for digital games? Now we have the peace of mind to buy whatever game we'd like even if we're not a hundred percent sure about it. If we buy a digital copy of a game and we discover very quickly into playing that it's absolutely not what we were wanting, we can return it. That certainly frees us up to buy things that we might not have otherwise.
Like any system in the world, there's bound to be those that abuse it. It won't come as a surprise to any of you that some people abuse the digital refund systems that exist. Just like that friend of yours who only buys titles at GameStop so they can return them before the return time period runs out. There are always going to be those who also buy digital games with the intent of returning them to get their money back. Depending on who you ask, this is sometimes already considered a deplorable thing to do. There's no doubt though that some times it's seen as a negative by dang near everyone. The example I'm talking about specifically is a recent Twitch streamer (WeeGeetheGod aka Cade McKown) who played Sonic Forces, and then returned it live.
As it stands, Steam's return policy requires that players have only owned a game for 14 days and have only played less than two hours. WeeGeetheGod played Sonic Forces all the way through, completing the game with a final time of two hours and 40 minutes. This is clearly a reasonable amount of time over the Steam refund policy time of two hours. Even still, WeeGeetheGod applied for a refund on the game, which was granted. Many are left flabbergasted as to why his refund was seemingly automatically accepted. Many other gamers follow refund policies to a "T" and are still denied. Yet, here is someone who clearly cheated the system and was given his money back anyway. WeeGeetheGod even bragged about it in a tweet which read, “I purchased Sonic Forces, beat Sonic Forces, and refunded Sonic Forces all in one stream. We call that V A L U E.”
To make matters worse, WeeGeetheGod lied in his refund request. He didn't state that he wanted a refunded because of the bugs within the game, the crash he experienced, or the fact that he simply didn't like it. Nope, WeeGeetheGod wrote in his request, “Hello, I thought that this was a different Sonic game and I meant to buy another one instead of this one. I realize that this is the wrong one and I would like to refund it please. Thank you.” So not only did he sidestep the refund policy rules, he also lied about he refund reason, and in the end got his money back. This would be questionable no matter who did it, but it's especially shady seeing as how he was streaming the game to make money on Twitch.
It's hard not to look at this situation and assume that WeeGeetheGod did all this for views and possible donations. He got a let's play out of it, some drama for views, and all-in-all spent none of his own money to make it happen. This sort of thing just really isn't acceptable in any way. There are plenty of people who follow the rules and get nothing out of it. Plus there are all kinds of streamers out there who are paying hard-earned cash for games only to play them in a single day, and possibly never pick them up again. How do we police this kind of action though? Steam can't look to see which purchasers are streamers and have streamed games online before asking for a refund. How do you think Steam could handle situations like this? Let me know in the comments!