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No Man’s Sky refund issues are deserved but reflect consumer greed

No Man’s Sky is now apparently everybody’s refund.

No Man’s Sky is now apparently everybody’s refund.

I went and directly purchased my copy of No Man’s Sky for review. If you watched our review stream, you’d know that I was ready to return the whole game after about an hour or two of gameplay. I soldiered on for about 30 more hours, and now that the review is complete, I don’t think I’ll ever play the game again.

When I got the news that Steam and Sony PSN were still offering refunds to customers, I was a little disturbed. Here’s why.

No man's sky
No Man’s Sky and Hello Games deserve to be punched right in the wallet. Honestly, I’d be surprised if anyone was that willing to give Sean Murray money ever again. However, many people did actually purchase No Man’s Sky and yes Steam and PSN offer options to receive refunds, but there shouldn’t be any special exception.

Steam’s policy is that the request must be made within fourteen days of purchase and have less than 2 hours of playtime. Sony’s refund policy is usually a little more strict: If you change your mind about a purchase made from the PlayStation Store, you can request a refund to your PSN wallet within fourteen days from the date of transaction, provided that you have not started downloading or streaming your purchase.

So here’s where I’m about to make an ankle-breaking turn on you all. I don’t think anyone buying the game that has spent more than 2 hours in it deserves a refund.

I spoke to a bunch of people about the game since news broke about the refunds. Many people told me that they were just bored of the game and the game wasn’t what they expected it to be. Well, yeah, the game was falsely promoted and you should be pissed about that, but when you have 50 hours into the game, you’ve earned your money’s worth of playtime.

Let’s look at it this way, if you went to a nice restaurant and bought a medium-rare steak, you’d send it back if it came back well-done. You’d also send it back if it you cut a piece off and it tasted like crap. However, if you ate the whole meal and then turned around and said it tasted horrible and it was overcooked, well you are just an ass and an idiot. Both of the earlier options are much like what Steam and PSN offer.

Mario droppin bombs

If we start returning games because you played 50 hours and decided it wasn’t your thing, we’re going to get a ton of half-baked games and new IPs will be harder to come across. There are a ton of games out there that developers are really trying to put their time and hard work into.

Look at games like Titanfall 2 or Nioh, which both have had betas that showcase that fan input has been important. What if EA decided that they’d just make cosmetic changes on the surface for Titanfall 2 because people could return it after a few weeks. We’d have a lot of “what if” scenarios. Software purchases should truthfully be “buyer be aware” situations. It really is the consumer’s responsibility to know what they are getting into.

You may be asking yourself “Well, how am I supposed to do that?”

Hi! I’d like to introduce myself! I’m a game critic and I have thousands of peers out there on the internet too. Sites like OpenCritic and Metacritic help compile and aggregate scores and feedback too, so you don’t have to dig so much.

Yes, some games have review embargoes until launch, those games are generally the primary reasons you may want to wait until we start talking about the game, because there’s usually a reason. Don’t buy into the hype, unless you are prepared to risk wasting your money. The majority of my peers were extremely critical and Jim Sterling, Angry Joe and myself all thought the game was a 5/10, specifically pointing out that the game should have been better. I’m sure none of us read each other’s reviews and we all said the same things. Clearly there was an issue from Jump Street.


Back to the whole issue with the refunds – I’d love to get my money back from buying No Man’s Sky, but I did put about 30 hours of gameplay into the game. I consumed the product I purchased, so the only fair recourse I have is to trade the game in and recoup my losses into a new purchase.

When Hello Games rolls up with another release or Sean Murray produces another title, I’ll avoid it like it’s the plague. You probably should too if you think you got ripped off with No Man’s Sky. That’s one of the ways to punish a studio after they do something like this, also telling friends to avoid the game for reasons outside of “it sucks” works too.

If you want better games, demand better games with your purchases. If you want developers to deliver promises of game features, hold them too it by verifying it’s there before you buy. Don’t expect to return the game after you’ve put more time in it that anything else in a week. That’s just silly and will ruin refund options for everyone else.

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Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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