Steam just updated its Refund Policy but everyone agrees it’s a “fair change”

Brad Norton
The Valve logo, sitting on the 'Steamworks' banner background.

Valve just pushed out a new update to Steam’s Refund Policy, changing what constitutes as “playtime”, though gamers on PC aren’t up in arms, with most even agreeing the change “makes sense.”

For years now Steam users have enjoyed a commendable Refund Policy on the platform. Purchase any game and play for under two hours, you’re entitled to refund the full price, so long as it’s within a two-week window.

However, part of the Refund Policy just changed. On April 23, Valve instituted a slight adjustment to this ruling in order to account for the increasingly prevalent “advanced access” rollout.

Games like the widely panned Suicide Squad, for instance, or the more recent WWE 2K25 offer up more costly Deluxe Editions. One perk of these premium price tags is ‘advanced access’, granting players the ability to dive in ahead of the full release, often a few days early, in fact.

In the past, Steam’s two-hour ‘playtime’ window didn’t account for any game time accrued during this window. Moving forward, however, it will do just that.

“Today we have updated a portion of our Refund Policy regarding pre-purchased titles,” the April 24 announcement read. “This change covers titles that are in pre-purchase and offer ‘advanced access.’

“Playtime acquired during the advanced access period will now count towards the Steam refund period.”

Thus, if you choose to purchase a Deluxe Edition of any given game offering early access of sorts, that time now contributes to your refund window. You can no longer play for a dozen hours ahead of the full release, then refund when the full release rolls around.

Clarifying its new changes, the updated Refund Policy now outlines how “if you purchase a game that is in Early Access or Advanced Access, any playtime will count against the two-hour refund limit.”

While historically, any change to how refunds work is often met with backlash and concern, this particular Steam update has been met with a measured response from users. Near-unanimously PC gamers appear to be in agreement that it’s a “fair change.”

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“Makes sense,” multiple users said on Reddit. “Yeah this is totally fair, I didn’t realize those hours hadn’t counted before.”

“Had me worried for a second there,” another chimed in on Twitter. “Thankfully it’s just a change that I thought was already a thing.”

Some players even recounted examples of their history working around the loophole in Steam’s previous policy. One gamer detailed how they “bought Starfield early and played it for 11 hours in two days. Saw a tweet that you could refund in full on Steam and Steam approved it. Sad to say I abused that a few times.”

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About The Author

Brad Norton is the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. He graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has been working full-time in the field for the past six years at the likes of Gamurs Group and now Dexerto. He loves all things single-player gaming (with Uncharted a personal favorite) but has a history on the competitive side having previously run Oceanic esports org Mindfreak. You can contact Brad at