Steam is now offering refunds on software purchases, a first for the digital distribution platform.
The terms of the refunds are fairly limited, but you don't need a specific reason to qualify for one. If the game has been purchased within the last 14 days and you've played less than two hours, Steam will refund your money, no questions asked.
"Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements," the official announcement suggests. "Maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it. It doesn't matter."
This is an important step for both gaming and digital content distribution--refunds are a normal part of physical retail transactions, but they have been difficult to translate to the digital space. GOG.com adopted a similar policy recently, and refunds becoming a standard for online stores that sell only digital goods is a positive for consumers in the long run.
Valve also explains that even if you fall outside the guidelines provided, it's worth sending in a refund request anyway--they will take a look regardless. You might have questions about different types of releases such as applications or early access titles, but Valve has covered everything pretty clearly in the announcement. Visit the link above to see specific explanations for each type of item sold on Steam.
Movies, for example (and there are some on Steam), do not qualify for refunds. In-game purchases get a bit sticky, as it depends not just on Valve, but the third-party developer. Some will allow their items to be refunded, while others may not--each title will let you know on an individual basis.
Those who seek to abuse refunds are warned that the system is meant to mitigate risk when buying games, not allow free hours of play. If Valve suspects you're gaming the system, they will stop allowing you to get refunds.