Steam refunds are good for customers, since they give us the chance to try games without the worry that they might not run on our system, or that they might just not click when we get our hands on them. For developers, they’re potentially a different prospect, since a sale now doesn’t necessarily mean that money is safe.
If you don’t want to mess about trying premium games, we have a good list of the best free Steam games.
Take Rust, the survival game from Garry Newman, creator of Gmod. Since its release in December 2013, the game has been refunded over 300,000 times, adding up to a total of over $4 million in lost sales.
Newman revealed the stats on Twitter:
Added sales stats to our backend today. These are Rust's real Steam Refund figures. pic.twitter.com/IhjUsJUN9N
— Garry Newman (@garrynewman) June 28, 2017
Speaking to Newman, he says that this equates to around 6% of total game sales, which is in line to refund stats of other developers he’s talked to. The most cited reason for refunding Rust is “not fun,” which is the same for Gmod.
Newman says this reason is “understandable really,” given the game’s harshness and how its mechanics aren’t easy to learn.
Essentially, it’s just people trying the game and bouncing off it, but there are clearly many more who try it and find it clicks for them. Rust has sold over 5.5 million units, after all.
“I put that down to people using the refund system as a demo,” Newman tells me. “I think in the long run, people knowing the refund system is there probably gained us more sales than it lost us.”
Newman wants to make a new section on the Facepunch site soon, with all the sales stats on there, in a bid to be more open.