If you haven’t heard yet, Origin is going to start offering free refunds of EA games, as long as you contact them within 24 hours of launching it or seven days of purchasing it. They’re even giving you seven days from release in the case of pre-orders.
Is this a message that EA is willing to put their money where their mouth is and back up the value of their titles in a very real way? They’re going all-in on gamers wanting to keep their games after the first 24 hours, something that no company has ever done in such an overt way before. Sure, you could get the odd refund here and there from a kind indie dev or smaller studio, but good luck getting Valve or Square Enix to respond to your pleas.
Hopefully this is a sign that the days of the 5-8 hour singleplayer title with tacked-on multiplayer features are finally behind us. While this might lead to more robust campaigns, this could also signal the killing blow for the singleplayer portion of games like Battlefield, whose solo sections are already hanging on by a thread. What this says about the future of more focused titles with the publisher is hard to say though. Could an amazing, yet short, game like Gone Home have existed with such a system in place?
That said, it’s not as crazy as you may think. Those in the know are probably already familiar with the infamous “GameStop rental” system wherein you can return a used game for exchange within seven days of purchase, effectively chaining games for as long as you can keep up the marathon pace. It’s a dirty trick, one that can very easily earn you a store ban from the rare manager who cares enough to look, but it’s the bastion of many a broke teen gamer. Got me through some lean times during the PS2 era, that’s for sure.