If Sony wants to sell a digital-only PlayStation, their digital store needs a refund policy

Brad LaPlante
4 min readDec 16, 2020

I’m a console gamer. I never understood the hype around PC gaming. The only PC game I play is The Sims 4 (and I question any other way to play the game). But I envy PC gamers.

Steam’s refund policy — as stated here — allows players to return a game as long as they meet the stated criteria: it’s been less than 14 days since the purchase and the game has been played for less than 2 hours. This policy is great because it ensures that I can preorder or purchase a game and return it if I don’t like it, or the game is trash.

Sony’s PlayStation Store, on the other hand, is a different story. Sony’s refund policy — as stated here — allows a refund within 14 days of the purchase. BUT, if the player has started the download, the game doesn’t even have to be installed on the machine yet, the refund is ineligible unless the content is “faulty.”

Yes, this is a problem.

I never really knew about PlayStation’s nightmare until I purchased AO Tennis 2 and realized how poorly designed the gameplay was. I spent a whopping $60 on it, played it for 20 minutes, decided I hated it, only to find out that I can’t even return it because I downloaded it onto my PlayStation 4. Since this experience, I’ve refused to download any game I feel “iffy” about.

This year, Sony launched the PlayStation 5.

They announced two separate designs of the system: a disc-free version and a disc version. The disc-free version is $399 and the disc version is $499.

My gut instinct was to get the disc-free version because, you know, who is using discs in 2020? Then I stopped to think… what if I really hate a game? Do I just.. not get to return them? It’s weird to see a company that’s peddling a $400 console to consumers that are paying for $60 content they can’t even test out.

The problems deepen since the video game industry has already been taking advantage of consumers this way for the better half of the last decade. The industry has become increasingly sour with lackluster games, offering preorders for games they didn’t complete and selling them for upwards of $60, $70, and $80.