Getting the 2023 GOTY refunded on Steam

A recent humorous post over at Redbeard’s blog about “thirsty RPG memes” reminded me of my brief intermezzo with the much lauded Baldur’s Gate 3 last fall. I should have known that BG3 wasn’t going to be my cup of coffee but sometimes the glowing reviews by friends outreason all better judgement. It’s not even that I disliked the thirsty romance aspects of the game, which I absolutely would have tried to ignore as much as possible, I never actually got that far into BG3 for it to become a potential issue. I couldn’t stand the combat and controls of the game, not that I was oblivious upfront but I’ve never played any Baldur’s Gate titles and underestimated how much I would hate the RNG dice rolling of the round based combat, the constant clicking of things and general movement style and camera. I’m sure that BG3 has great world building and storytelling and whatnot once you get out of the intro stages of the game, it just isn’t for me personally.

Having spent 70$ on this misadventure, I was eager to get a refund. I was also still below the 2hr mark of playtime that’s part of Steam’s refund policy. Or so I thought because much to my surprise the title had logged over 10hrs of playtime in the Steam profile; this is due to me letting the startup launcher run during the longer install time and then forgetting about it in the background, as I was busy doing other things elsewhere that day. So while the ingame BG3 save file clearly indicated that I hadn’t played for more than 2hrs, the Steam log showed a difference of over 8hrs – just great. I opened a ticket anyway and took a screenshot of the ingame save time.

Baldur's Gate 3

The first support ticket was squashed rather quickly by a Steam support agent telling me that I had played the game for much too long and so their refund policy didn’t apply. Every support ticket on Steam ends with the question of whether you’re happy with that and want to close the ticket which I promptly declined of course. I started pleading my case about the launcher’s runtime having been added to my effective playtime which was actually below the 2hr mark. The next support person (they change every time) completely ignored my argument and denied the request again. I remained persistent however, because why wouldn’t I – it’s not like I had anything to lose. At least two more times did I restate my issue, adding a bit more information every time as to why I wanted a refund and why the game, including its control scheme, was unplayable for me and therefore a complete loss.

Lo and behold, between the fourth or fifth attempt (I should have screenshotted this whole conversation) I was told they were going to make a “one-time exception” due to special circumstances. My 70$ were refunded and I was very happy with myself. So happy in fact, I spent the 70 bucks on Starfield right away which I haven’t played past the first few hours since.

The moral of this story: persistence is key whatever a policy states and you can always waste your money on the next big thing! It’s slightly comical when the official GOTY of the 2023 game awards is the only game you refunded that year but I still call this a win in my book.


  1. I’m frequently annoyed at the time spent in a game launcher counting toward “hours played” on Steam. In my old DSL internet service, I frequently passed the 2 hour limit just downloading updates onto a game (pick any decently sized game these days) with my 5 MBPS downloading capability a decade ago or even my 20 MBPS capability 3 years ago. God forbid I have a 1 GB patch to a game!

    If there was some method for Steam to figure out that the actual game had launched as opposed to the launcher itself, a lot of these issues would be resolved. I suspect that’d require buy-in from the game companies themselves, however, and they sure as hell don’t want to cut into their profits!

    But as far as the ISO RPG genre is concerned, game companies who create games in this space do try to emulate the tabletop RPG experience as much as possible. In fact, I remember when BioWare caught a lot of grief when Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition migrated away from a more “hardcore” tabletop simulation found in Dragon Age: Origins and more toward the Mass Effect style of play. I personally find value in both approaches, as I play both styles when I play tabletop RPGs. (D&D, Savage Worlds, and their ilk on the hardcore side, and FATE / Burning Wheel on the softer side of things.) The trick is to know your game group and tailor a campaign to meet their tastes.

    I ain’t gonna give you grief over not liking BG3, because I personally can’t stand some movies that “everybody likes”, such as E.T.

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t aware this was such an issue but then I rarely refund games. In any case, it was a good example of not giving up too easily. I’ve a feeling if they know you have a point, sooner or later they just give in to these requests because you’re wearing them down lol…

      And I don’t like E.T. either 😀

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