Valve has just updated Steam’s refund policy. It will now count playtime even before the game’s global release date, making it more difficult for players to abuse the system.

Steam to stop refunding players who spend more than two hours in Early Access or Advanced Access games

As Valve announced in a blog post, the new rules will apply to games both in Early Access and Advanced Access (allows users, who purchased a deluxe or another special edition, to play a game before it fully releases on Steam — e.g. Hogwarts Legacy, Starfield, or Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League).

First, Valve changed the section’s title from “Refunds on pre-purchased titles” to “Refunds on titles purchased prior to release date.” Second, it now specifically states that “the two-hour playtime limit for refunds will apply (except for beta testing), but the 14-day period for refunds will not start until the release date.”

For comparison, here is what this section looked like earlier this month: “When you pre-purchase a title on Steam (and have paid for the title in advance), you can request a refund at any time prior to release of that title. The standard 14-day/two-hour refund period also applies, starting on the game’s release date.”

Steam’s updated refund policy for pre-purchased titles (above) vs. the old version (below)

The company also detailed the updated rules:

“If you purchase a game that is in Early Access or Advanced Access, any playtime will count against the two-hour refund limit. If you pre-purchase a title which is not playable prior to the release date, you can request a refund at any time prior to release of that title, and the standard 14-day/two-hour refund period will apply starting on the game’s release date.”

Steam’s refund policy allows users to get a refund for any game within 14 days of purchase if they haven’t played it for more than two hours. However, this rule didn’t apply to titles available before their full release day. For example, players could easily get a refund on a game even after spending dozens of hours in it during the EA period or within a few days of Advanced Access.

So with the new rules, Valve has basically closed this loophole.

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