Microsoft could be gearing up to offer refunds on games purchased through the Xbox One Marketplace and Windows app. They've got a version of the system in beta right now, and it could be rolling out to a wider user base at a future date.
Called "Self-Service Refunds," the program is now available on Xbox One and Windows 10 for folks who are part of the Insider group. Word went out about the program yesterday via Reddit, where one user revealed a screencap of the announcement to share with the group.
The announcement claims the refunds program is designed to be in "support of offering gamers the freedom of choice." Through the service, you can return purchased games and apps through account.microsoft.com, with a couple of stipulations, of course.
For starters, you've only got 14 days after purchase to take advantage of the refund program. But don't think that means you can buy a game, beat it in two weeks and return it for a full refund. The second stipulation is that the game must have been played for less than two hours. In other words, the Self-Service Refunds are for people who purchased a game, quickly discovered that it wasn't their cup of tea, and then immediately regretted spending $60 on it. I was going to use Ryse as an example, but it's free as a part of Games with Gold, so that's probably a bad example.
In case this all sounds familiar, that might be because Steam has a similar program with similar limitations in place already. They've got an extra caveat that we hope to see Microsoft adopt, too, which is that certain games are "immune" to refunds. If an experiential game can be finished in two hours and people start returning it to get their $15 back, that's going to hurt whichever indie studio developed it in a big way.
The final listed stipulation is that DLC and other types of add-on content aren't included in the program. So if you bought Call of Duty and the Season Pass and decided you weren't interested in continuing to play the game after a few weeks, you can't get your money back for that Season Pass.
There's no word on when this return program might roll out to the general public, but Microsoft has since confirmed that the Reddit post is accurate and they are, indeed, testing it out.
We're a fan of any move that's consumer friendly, but only so long as the folks who put in the time and effort to create these games are given plenty of consideration, too.