Valve Closes Steam Refund Loophole, Adds New Advanced Access Label

Valve updated Steam’s refund policy to close a loophole that allowed players to accumulate multiple hours of gameplay through advanced access and then receive a full refund at launch.

The refund policy now includes a revised “refunds on titles purchased before release date” section, which adds an official Advanced Access label and essentially applies Valve’s normal two-hour time limit to these games. Advanced Access refers to games that can be played before their official launch, usually by purchasing a special edition for an additional fee.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, for example, launched on February 2, 2024, but those who paid $30 more for the Deluxe Edition were able to play it three days early. It is this three-day period that Steam now marks Advanced Access. 2K’s TopSpin 2K25, whose more expensive Deluxe and Grand Slam editions allow owners to play ahead of the official April 25 release date, carries this new Advanced Access label.

Previously, those who played a game in Advanced Access could do so for dozens of hours or even finish it, then request a refund from Steam and get all their money back as long as they didn’t play more than two hours after launch. Steam’s update fills this gap as Advanced Access games become more and more popular.

“When you purchase a title on Steam before the release date, the two-hour gameplay limit for refunds will apply (except for beta testing), but the 14-day period for refunds will not begin until the release date,” Valve said.

“For example, if you purchase a game in Early Access or Advanced Access, any play time will count toward the two-hour refund limit. If you pre-purchase a title that is not playable before the date release date, you can request a refund at any time before the release of this title, and the standard 14 day/two hour refund period will apply from the game’s release date.”

Ryan Dinsdale is a freelance journalist for IGN. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.

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