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EA's Origin gets bad-game refund option

EA's Origin gets bad-game refund option

EA's Origin Great Game Guarantee gives buyers a 24 hour window from first launching a game in which they can claim a full refund.

Electronic Arts has announced a change to the terms and conditions for its Origin digital distribution service, and it brings an unexpected benefit to consumers: the ability to return a bad game for a full refund.

In the days when we used to actually trudge to the shops for a shiny plastic disc - or, even earlier, a disk or tape - it was common for stores to offer a no-quibble guarantee: if you didn't like the game, you had a period of time in which to return it for a full refund - or at the very least store credit. As publishers sought to fight piracy with single-use registration codes and the like, however, this fell by the wayside - and died more or less entirely when digital distribution came along.

EA, however, is bringing it back: the Origin Great Game Guarantee hearkens back to the good old days, providing a means for a buyer to receive a full refund if the title fails to live up to expectations. Under the terms of the guarantee, any EA full-game download for Windows or OS X purchased through Origin can be returned for a refund up to 24 hours after it is first played. Although this offer includes a small caveat - if you wait longer than a week to try your new game, you become ineligible for a refund - it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Origin isn't the first digital distribution service to offer such a policy, however. Google Play, which launched as the Android Market, initially allowed all apps to be returned for a refund in the first 24 hours after purchase, although this was later reduced to just 15 minutes.

EA has confirmed that the refund policy has no restrictions: as well as covering those who purchased a game only to find it won't run acceptably on entry-level hardware, buyers can request a refund simply because the game is no good. With many of those who pirate new-release games justifying their actions as try-before-you-buy - "if there was a demo, I'd download that," they claim - it's a move that could prove popular.

Those who wish to take advantage of the guarantee, which is detailed in full here, can simply click the 'Request a Refund' option in their order history.

29 Comments

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Maki role 20th August 2013, 11:12 Quote
That's actually... a really good idea?? Din't think I'd be saying that in relation to EA any time soon (choo choo). I wonder if other distributors are going to see this and think about including it too? My only concern though, comes with the kind of scenario where people are most likely to return a game quickly. If a game has an always on restriction and the servers etc are dead (like the Sim City release), could a flood of returns also crash these ones in the same way that happens when too many try to buy/play a game at once? That would be a bigger issue than not being able to play it as you'd have a 24 hour window for the service to be up and running again, realistically less than that if you've actually tried to play the game first.

I can imagine the returns traffic would be much lower in almost any scenario, but it's an interesting consideration nonetheless.
liratheal 20th August 2013, 11:17 Quote
There has to be a catch.

It's EA. There's always a catch.
damien c 20th August 2013, 11:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
There has to be a catch.

It's EA. There's always a catch.

I did this with the last Medal Of Honor game, when me, my dad and brother in law all had issues with the game.

All I did was call EA and request a refund of all the copies I bought, with my dad and brother in law with me so they could deal with the questions relevant to there accounts.

EA gave me a refund straight away and the refund was in my account within 3 days.



Will say though that the last time I had to get a game refunded from Steam, they were a pita about it but they did it in the end although it took nearly 2 weeks.
Phalanx 20th August 2013, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
There has to be a catch.

It's EA Steam. There's always a catch.

FTFY.
Hamfunk 20th August 2013, 11:28 Quote
Why does everyone persist in bashing EA? It's been going on for 10 years or so!

Origin is no where near the mess it was when it was first released (under what ever name) and EA are no where near the corporate scum bags they were all those years ago!
Phalanx 20th August 2013, 11:30 Quote
Totally agree Hamfunk. I actually like Origin. It's fast, slick, has a smaller footprint than Steam and EA genuinely seem to want to push the boundary of digital purchasing, whereas Valve are still resisting against even new EU laws.
liratheal 20th August 2013, 11:39 Quote
I've just had more hassle with Origin than Steam.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no Steam fan either, but Origin just ground my gears more than Steam last time it was installed.
rollo 20th August 2013, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamfunk
Why does everyone persist in bashing EA? It's been going on for 10 years or so!

Origin is no where near the mess it was when it was first released (under what ever name) and EA are no where near the corporate scum bags they were all those years ago!

Humble bundle launch pretty much killed the servers due to load. Not to mension people's downloads freezing after a few mb if not running a certain version of origin ( not latest)

Origin still has along way to go before I'd say its good. EA has also seen to want to force it onto us is also annoying. Mass effect series is a prime example origin was out before it began but I have the series now on 2 program's steam for 1 and 2 and origin for 3.
Maki role 20th August 2013, 11:55 Quote
I must admit I've actually had a pretty smooth run with Origin, much more so than with Steam. Steam's driven me round the bend before, once to the extent where it actually deleted my account and the games on it (something about being a legacy account or something). My problem with EA doesn't lie with Origin, but with it's handling of the games it's studios produce. As much as it's the fault of the actual studios when it comes to making the games, it should really be their job to sit back and think "No that's not good" when bad ideas float around. Case in point, the ME3 ending. I don't know the specifics of why the original ending was chosen, rushed targets, lost developer vision, it doesn't matter. In my eyes it was up to EA to ensure that the game they put out met the quality standards, which they didn't. I doubt it was any one party's fault, but that doesn't exclude either from blame.

Another example is the Sim City release, which was a complete shambles. Again I don't know the specifics about who asked who to make the game server-side only, but wasn't a good idea and was poorly executed. When it worked, I really quite enjoyed the game (despite some obvious flaws), but the key phrase there is "when it worked". They just need to clean up their act really. They're also not the only guys out there with issues, Ubisoft are pretty damn awful to deal with too, and Blizzard's handling of Diablo III was disastrous.
Phalanx 20th August 2013, 11:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Humble bundle launch pretty much killed the servers due to load. Not to mension people's downloads freezing after a few mb if not running a certain version of origin ( not latest)

What, you mean like how when a game launches on Steam and they give you a crap download speed and constant drops? Demand will do that unfortunately. As for the latest version of a client, Steam doesn't even ask you if you want the latest version. You have it. Period. I don't see why that's such a problem if EA ask you to have the latest client too.
Quote:
Origin still has along way to go before I'd say its good. EA has also seen to want to force it onto us is also annoying. Mass effect series is a prime example origin was out before it began but I have the series now on 2 program's steam for 1 and 2 and origin for 3.

So Valve don't force you to have Steam for their games? As for Mass Effect, I took my Steam keys, typed them into Origin and voila, the game added itself to Origin! Try asking Valve to allow you to do the same with Origin keys, see what response they give (if they even respond).
GeorgeStorm 20th August 2013, 12:35 Quote
I think this is a great move, hopefully it won't be abused too much (people buying games, completing them within the 24h and getting a refund), some simple measures should stop that though.

Hopefully it will encourage other digital distribution companies to start following suit :)
damien c 20th August 2013, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
I think this is a great move, hopefully it won't be abused too much (people buying games, completing them within the 24h and getting a refund), some simple measures should stop that though.

Hopefully it will encourage other digital distribution companies to start following suit :)

I hoep it doesn't get abused either, but I think they could try and make it so that they don't issue a refund if the campaign has been completed but that would mean it needs the cloud based game save to be used on every game, and not have the option to save locally like you currently get.
GeorgeStorm 20th August 2013, 13:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by damien c
I hoep it doesn't get abused either, but I think they could try and make it so that they don't issue a refund if the campaign has been completed but that would mean it needs the cloud based game save to be used on every game, and not have the option to save locally like you currently get.

I'm sure they will implement measures to stop it, like a maximum time of actual play, or based on achievements etc
abezors 20th August 2013, 13:27 Quote
If only game demos were still released these days then this feature wouldn't be needed. Alas, unlike the games of old, there is no way to try-before-you-buy (short of pirating). Hopefully Steam will jump on this idea soon enough.
longweight 20th August 2013, 13:40 Quote
Sounds like a good step forward :)
AlienwareAndy 20th August 2013, 13:43 Quote
Steam already do this. My lady bought The War Z and it was so appalling she complained and got her money back.

I complained about HAWX 2 once and got my money back for that also.
Tris 20th August 2013, 13:55 Quote
That's a surprisingly excellent stance. One of my main gripes with Steam is the fact that they don't offer anything similar, which has caused me extreme frustration in the past.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
Steam already do this. My lady bought The War Z and it was so appalling she complained and got her money back.

I complained about HAWX 2 once and got my money back for that also.

I rather imagine that the WarZ situation was due to massive community pressure and high profile, though I don't know about HAWX2.
Certainly my own experience differs - I purchased the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim and found it to be incredibly poor quality (within 4 hours I had managed to get the game into a state where I had to revert to a previous save and lost progress not once, but twice). All attempts at a refund were rebuffed with reference to their terms and conditions.

Anyway, I still won't be using Origin much in spite of the positive feeling I have towards this move. The cost of new releases is still ridiculous (£45 when I can buy the DVD version for £30) and any service where I have to hack around the config files to make the adverts f**k off can go to hell.
AlienwareAndy 20th August 2013, 13:58 Quote
I bought HAWX 2 via Steam so I could play it with a mate of mine (I bought it for him also).

His gift never arrived (so they refunded that) and then I found out I had to install their crappy DRM front end and I wasn't happy with that either so yeah, got refunded.

I don't like buying a game on Steam only to find I have to install a load of viral rubbish on my PC in order to get it running..

TBH and I could be wrong here but games shouldn't be any different to hoovers (as an example) IE - 7 days etc.
LordPyrinc 20th August 2013, 14:02 Quote
I remember trying to play Diablo III on release day. I think I might have managed to run it for a total of two hours (non-consecutively) in the first 36 hours or so once I got home and got it installed. In the long run, the game was worth what I paid for it, but the first couple of days definitely sucked. That experience has made me think twice about buying a game on release day.

Even some games that allow you to play on day one seem to be bug infested. Though I experienced some bugs, I didn't have any game breaking issues with Space Hulk on release day. Other users weren't so lucky based on the comments I read.

Back to Blizzard, I didn't buy Heart of the Swarm until well after the release date. Unfortunately, I've discovered that it breaks some of the Wings of Liberty campaign missions for some users, myself included. Others also report freezes in v's play as well though I haven't tried that out yet. Worst thing is, it doesn't matter if you buy HOTS or not, the original game is still updated when you log in.

If Steam goes the way of Origin, then I would expect quite a few returns even with titles from more respectable publishers. It seems like they are skimping on proper QA these days.
Tris 20th August 2013, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy

...
TBH and I could be wrong here but games shouldn't be any different to hoovers (as an example) IE - 7 days etc.

I agree utterly, and tried that exact argument when attempting to get a refund from Steam. In my case they claims that a) Regulations don't apply to digital products and b) Installing the item is synonymous with unpackaging / using a physical item, thus invalidating any right to return.
I wasn't convinced by either argument given I was requesting a refund on the basis that it was unfit for purpose (bug riddled, frustrating entertainment product is clearly unfit), but at that point it was obvious they weren't going to budge and I didn't really see any avenues of approach left to me.
Stanley Tweedle 20th August 2013, 14:20 Quote
Obviously brought about because of Sim Shitty complaints.
dactone 20th August 2013, 14:55 Quote
''(£45 when I can buy the DVD version for £30)'' That's why I never buy a just released game ever.
Gareth Halfacree 20th August 2013, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
TBH and I could be wrong here but games shouldn't be any different to hoovers (as an example) IE - 7 days etc.
The seven-day return period is actually part of the Distance Selling Regulations of the Consumer Protection Regulations. The DSR was introduced in 2000 to address the growing trend for consumers to buy things online, and is designed to give them the same opportunity to examine goods as they would have had they visited a physical shop. That's where it ends, though: you can examine the goods just as you could in a shop, which means no breaking seals and certainly no using the item. Get it out of its packaging and give it a whirl, and you've just lost your right of return under the DSR. Software, in fact, is called out specifically in Clause 13(1)(d): '[Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation pursuant to regulation 10 in respect of contracts—] for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software if they are unsealed by the consumer.'

Obviously, there are no seals or packaging with a downloadable game - but would a shop allow you to install the game on your PC, try it out, then return it within seven days if you didn't like it? Once, perhaps, but not these days - and so the DSR don't apply either. If the game was substantially unlike what you were promised, however - as would be the case if you bought a certain zombie-themed survival game and discovered it was missing major features and bugged to all hell - you could request a refund under the Sale of Goods Act as the item in question being unfit for purpose. Unlike the DSR, there's no real time limit for a claim under SOGA - although if you tried to claim a refund on a washing machine you bought in 1995 and have used ever since, good luck: the courts look for "reasonable" claims, like something dying just out of warranty but within what you would expect to be a fair lifespan for an item of its category and price.

TL;DR: You can't return a game under DSR, but you might be able to under SOGA.
AlienwareAndy 20th August 2013, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Stuff

Well I'm glad to hear it tbh.

After paying £60 for Pit Fighter on the SNES and realising it wasn't finished I've carried that annoyance. I don't forget things easily and being told at the shop that I couldn't have a refund because I had opened it I've always been very wary.

TBH that was no different to buying say, a toy horse, only to find that it was missing a leg so didn't do what it was supposed to.

But game producers get away with it far too much IMO. Why is it that the software industry is loaded with companies taking stupid fines instead of being honest? crazy.

I still download 'evaluation copies' of some games because they either don't have a review or the reviewers have clearly had their palms greased with silver.

Even GTAIV to me was a complete con. I got all excited, got on the train to Bognor Regis, paid £39.99 for a copy of it then had to wait about three years before I finally had the hardware to make it playable.

I won't ever make that mistake again tbh.
Gareth Halfacree 20th August 2013, 16:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
After paying £60 for Pit Fighter on the SNES and realising it wasn't finished I've carried that annoyance. I don't forget things easily and being told at the shop that I couldn't have a refund because I had opened it I've always been very wary.TBH that was no different to buying say, a toy horse, only to find that it was missing a leg so didn't do what it was supposed to.
Oh, absolutely - that would be a perfect example of something being unfit for purpose under SOGA. Trouble is in convincing the shop staff of that fact - something immeasurably easier these days: back then, you would have had to rely on a magazine writing a feature on how badly broken the game was to have documentary evidence of its unsuitability; these days, all the evidence you could ever want a is a quick Google away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
Even GTAIV to me was a complete con. I got all excited, got on the train to Bognor Regis, paid £39.99 for a copy of it then had to wait about three years before I finally had the hardware to make it playable.
That, on the other hand, is unlikely to be a reason to return under SOGA - assuming that your hardware didn't meet the requirements printed clearly on the back of the box. If it didn't, then it's caveat emptor - buyer beware. If, on the other hand, it did meet the requirements and was still unplayable, then you've got an argument of false advertising or unfit for purpose.

None of this, of course, legitimises downloading pirated games. If you won't buy a game without trying a demo first, and there's no demo, then don't buy the game. If publishers see that not releasing a demo actively hurts sales, they'll start releasing demos; if they see that not releasing a demo drives piracy, however, they'll just work to add yet more consumer-hurting layers of DRM into the mix in the hope that this time it'll work. Alternatively, take up EA's offer and try-before-you-buy without the parrot on your shoulder.
DriftCarl 20th August 2013, 23:24 Quote
EA recently has done the proper thing with relation to problems.
Sim City was full of issues, this is true, but EA actually gave us a free game, and not one that was 5 years old, it was actually only a few months since it was released.
Humble Bundle was brilliant too, although heavily discounted bundles is nothing new or specific to origin. It really has injected a huge amount of new players into BF3.
I will look for this guarantee on future games now and will more likley purchase via origin than other means. I did make good use of the google play returns and saved myself some cash with games that simply sucked arse.
BradShort 21st August 2013, 13:18 Quote
I applaud this initiative but I hope it does not backfire else we will never see the like of it again.

My concern is that PC games in particular are very buggy on release, due to the huge range of compatibility that is required. Games are usually patched and turn out ok, but I worry that sales will drop if consumers mistake compatibility issues with "bad workmanship" and "Game Design"
Bindibadgi 22nd August 2013, 03:11 Quote
This will actually make me use Origin.

If only I had bought GTA 4 on Origin as well. Stupid Steam sale.
fooboi 24th August 2013, 01:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phalanx
So Valve don't force you to have Steam for their games? As for Mass Effect, I took my Steam keys, typed them into Origin and voila, the game added itself to Origin! Try asking Valve to allow you to do the same with Origin keys, see what response they give (if they even respond).

That has to be the dumbest comparison ever. The only reason your steam keys for that game work is because those games are published by EA.
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