Sony PS4 consumers haven’t had the best of luck working with Sony’s customer support in the past, with strict PlayStation policies often coming under heavy criticism. For example, it seems commonplace on message boards to see posts of users criticising Sony’s refund policy whereby if an account is hacked and a user goes via their bank to retrieve the stolen money, Sony then proceeds to lock people out of their accounts, regardless of their legitimate purchases.
No Man’s Sky, one of PS4’s biggest launches in recent months launched to a mixed response with many owners and prominent streamers showing proof of the game crashing multiple times during a short span of time and other various game-breaking bugs. Others also felt misled by the promotional marketing in the build-up to No Man’s Sky’s launch.
Sony’s position on refunds is that players can request a refund within 14 days within the date of purchase providing they do not download or stream the game. You can’t get a refund “unless the content is faulty”. Steam, on the other hand, offers a no-questions-asked refund if requested within 14 days and if played for less that two hours. Microsoft’s policy allows for the refund of a game within 30 days of purchase and, as someone who has had to refund an XBL game before, it was a very smooth and amicable affair.
Eurogamer recently interviewed some of their readers who wanted to refund their purchase of No Man’s Sky and what they have to reveal is quite interesting.
Eurogamer reader Blastiel, 35, from Manchester, told Eurogamer he played No Man’s Sky for an hour-and-a-half and found it crashed three times in that period. He also feels misled by promotional material he saw on the PlayStation Store.
Blastiel spoke with a PlayStation customer support rep called Noah to ask for a refund. He says he was told that he was eligible for a refund, but if he did get one, he’d never be able to play No Man’s Sky again.
“The practice Sony is employing is a bit underhanded, to say the least,” Blastiel said.
“I was told I couldn’t re-buy it off the store digitally, and I couldn’t buy a physical copy because whatever system they employ in the background wouldn’t let me run it. They delete the license from your account, and that seems to put a block on it.
“It’s a bit like, if I went into Footlocker and bought a pair of trainers, took them home, found there’s a big rip somewhere I hadn’t spotted, took them back and they said, you can have a refund, but you can never wear trainers again. It just seems ridiculous.“
Blastiel said he declined to go through with getting a refund because he wants to play No Man’s Sky again at some point.
“I would happily re-buy the game at a later date if it improved, if the features promised were put in, if the crashing was fixed, because these things do get fixed over time,” he said.
“But I didn’t really want to get my money back and then never be able to play it again. It just seems counter-productive.
“It’s like they put a gun to my head.“
Blastiel’s situation definitely seems like quite the predicament. If he goes through with the refund on the basis that it qualifies as a faulty product, his account is then banned from playing No Man’s Sky in the future whether he buys it again digitally or physically.
Roscoe had a similar problem to Blastiel and, in particular, pointed out a popular Reddit thread which revealed all of the misleading details of the game in the build-up to launch.
Roscoe, 31, from Shropshire, told Eurogamer he feels he was lied to by No Man’s Sky advertising, and pointed to a Reddit thread that drew attention recently for listing a number of promised features that are absent from the game.
Roscoe also reported problems with crashes, particularly when trying to use the game’s multi-tool stations and warping to a different area of space.
Like Blastiel, Roscoe was told by a Sony call centre agent that he was entitled to a refund, but he would lose the right to play the game again.
“I really do like the game, but I feel as though I paid £50 for a game that isn’t finished,” Roscoe said.
“But I don’t want to give up the right to ever play No Man’s Sky again. That seems really extreme to me.”
Paul, 34 from Leeds, tried this week to get a refund from Sony because of crash issues and what he believes was false advertising around multiplayer. Paul’s also upset at the dynamic theme included with the digital pre-order. “It’s just a static picture in the background,” he said, “not very dynamic.”
Paul contacted PlayStation on its support number to ask for a refund, but was told because he had downloaded the game and started playing, he couldn’t get one.
“I then tried mentioning the false advertising but just got told the game was never advertised as multiplayer even though the boxes had the sticker on, and on multiple occasions it was confirmed you could meet other players but it wasn’t ‘likely’ to happen,” Paul added.
“Oh and the promised pre-order dynamic there? Well apparently it is dynamic because of ‘the art style’, never mind that it just a static background. The phone operator suggested that dynamic themes don’t have to move to be dynamic. I kid you not.
“In short if you want a refund for No Man’s Sky, good luck, as it doesn’t look likely to happen.“
Eurogamer also reached out to Sony for a response and a rep advised people wait for the updates to fix the technical problems. The question here is whether or not those who paid £50 for a game are entitled to a working product on the day of their purchase, or have to wait weeks for issues to be fixed.
Here was the rep’s response to the technical problems:
- We are aware that some players have been experiencing issues whilst playing No Man’s Sky. The development team have been working very hard to address these issues and published a patch yesterday which resolved many of the reported bugs.
- For those who continue to experience problems, we would advise in the first instance that they report their issues so that the team are aware and can work to fix them. The team at Hello Games are continuing to monitor the situation, and an additional patch is expected at the start of next week to further improve and address identified bugs.
The same rep also gave Eurogamer a response on Sony’s refund policy:
- Players are entitled to receive refunds in line with the published refund policy on PlayStation.com.
- In instances where players receive a refund, they will of course be able to re-purchase the game at later date and play.
All the users Eurogamer interviewed confirmed they had reluctantly cancelled their requests for refunds, citing the harsh consequences of doing so as their reason for not following through. Mark told the Sony rep he was in communication with that they had “damaged your relationship with this longtime, loyal customer and I will be a lot more reluctant to give Sony my money in future.”
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