Cyberpunk 2077: It’s Time For Sony To Review Its Refund Policy
Cyberpunk 2077 has one of the buggiest launches in recent history with the game barely even running on PS4 and Xbox One. It’s triple-A and it’s full price, so naturally, there’re some who want their money back. Yet, what Cyberpunk 2077’s disastrous launch has shed a light on more than anything is Sony’s anti-consumer refund policy. It’s time it was updated.
As with its competitors, Sony allows for a 2-week refund time, but the catch is that if you even so much as begin to download the content, you’re no longer eligible. That means that if you boot up the game, don’t enjoy it within the first couple of hours, find it to be a buggy unplayable mess, or find that the marketing was deceptive, then you’re trapped with no way to get a refund. Sony’s changed their tune with Cyberpunk 2077, opening it up to refunds, but it’s an exception, not a change in policy.
With other platforms such as Steam, you’re given the same 2-week window for refunding but, on top of that, you’re also given 2 hours of playtime. Don’t like it? Can’t run it? Not what you expected? No worries. The system is also completely automated meaning that, so long as the boxes are ticked, it’ll go through and you’ll get your money back. Xbox isn’t so cut and dry and has its fair share of horror stories, but Microsoft is far more lenient, looking into how much the game was played, time since purchase, and other factors on a case-by-case basis. Sony? You have to email customer support and pray to get a response in a timely manner. And if you’ve already downloaded the game, you know what the response will be already.
This was already messy for the previous generations because it meant that digital sales were final no matter what. However, with the consoles of old, it was no problem because you could get a physical copy and return it to the store you nabbed it from and ask for a refund and likely get it. However, Sony has rolled out the next generation of hardware with a digital-only platform as an option. But, if it’s not ready to make its policies consumer-friendly, intuitive, and — most importantly — fair, why did they bother?
The digital-only PlayStation 5 is cheaper but what comes with that easier entry is the inability to sell old games, get a refund or share your copy with friends. Steam managed to navigate this with family sharing and the aforementioned automated refund system – selling old games isn’t going to happen on digital, but the other two points have been sorted out by Sony’s competition. That leaves the question of why Sony hasn’t made the leap to do something similar to make digital more appetizing. The answer is simple enough – allowing for refunds means that Sony would lose cash on sales and so, through locking consumers onto a digital-only platform, it’s ensuring that no sale can be undone, keeping the cash in Sony’s pockets while players are left with a game they don’t want and have likely barely touched.
Sony’s anti-consumer practices have been thrown into the spotlight by Cyberpunk 2077’s launch, so much so that it’s been forced to make an exception much as they did with Fallout 76. The problem, however, is that not every game will garner the attention that CD Projekt Red’s or Bethesda’s blunders did. Cyberpunk launched in a state that could have very well been marketed as early access, with major bug fixes not set to roll out until January and February of next year.
The problem, however, is that not every game will garner the attention that CD Projekt Red’s blunder did, – what about the titles that slip through the cracks and don’t end up trending? Consumers are left dangling above the pit of vipers with no lifeline in those scenarios. Changing its policy to give players a brief window of time to decide if they enjoy the content or to find out if the marketing wasn’t misleading would be the moral way to go, but as it is, you can’t even begin a download and cancel it. If Sony truly wants to embrace digital, its policies have to change to reflect that, otherwise, whose going to want to take the risk?
NEXT: Cyberpunk 2077 Collector’s Editions For PS4 And Xbox One Are Available Again On Amazon US
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