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Old 10-02-2012, 10:04 PM   #1
recklessa
 
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Steam and Data Realms are lying and stealing from customers

Once upon a time a plucky young game developer ambitiously decided he was going to make a sprawling and creative 2d shooter\strategy hybrid. It would have a variety of factions and weapons, its own physics engine, a sprawling campaign, and an intense online multiplayer experience. But alas, as the years became a decade he realized the task was beyond him. So to cut his losses, he decided to make his broken sandbox toy look as much like a game as possible and sell it on Steam. The developer is Dan "Data" Tabar, and the game is Cortex Command.

I've been following the development of this game for years, so I was thrilled to see it finally being released as a complete game on Steam. $18 seemed like a lot for an indie release, but the trailer makes it look fantastic, and I enjoy supporting independent developers. Everything on the Steam page indicates this Data finally reached his goal of a complete game.

Only after I buy the game and install it, at which point Steam refuses to offer refunds, does a window pop up telling me the game is still in development. This is a tremendous understatement. The tutorial tells you virtually nothing about playing the game and is impossibly difficult for beginners. The text isn't even formatted correctly for the screen resolution.

When I attempt to play the actual game, which is composed of a minimal campaign, I have to restart the campaign three times before I even know how to land troops on the planet. When I finally do, they first get stuck in hole in the middle of the map. I tap escape looking for instructions, and the game quits to windows. I try again. My soldiers explode instantly when they touch the ground. I haven't been able to play through a full game, but I've heard there isn't even a win condition.

So I go to the Steam Cortex Command forum to see what other users think. Predictably, several are angry and asking for refunds. The developer himself comes on and explains that there was a misunderstanding, the game was never supposed to be advertised as finished. He then gets angry, tells everyone to deal with it, and stops responding. He lets his small army of loyal followers respond for him, telling people that it's their job to make the game they just paid money for playable by hunting for mods in various other forums.

I asked for a refund from Steam, but they are hiding behind their EULA agreement and refusing refunds, despite the fact that they (hopefully) unintentionally lied to paying customers. I'm very disappointed by this. I've always counted on Steam's quality control in the past while buying dozens of Indie games. There have been plenty that weren't for me, but all of them have been in a playable state. It's a shame to see this developer taking advantage of people's confidence in Steam to make a quick buck while destroying that confidence in the process.

Needless to say, I won't be supporting indie developers through Steam in the future, and do not buy this game.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:35 PM   #2
war1990
 
 
 
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Damn, if this is really true. Then Steam must refund you. I've lost most of my respect to Steam while ago since there are too many broken games got published to Steam, one can said it is not Steam fault, but some of the games doesn't even start. I mean how hard for Steam to actually test the games before publish it on their Store.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:35 PM   #3
ChrisW
 
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Next time do your research before making a purchase. Why didn't you visit the forum first?
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:48 PM   #4
Projector
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
Next time do your research before making a purchase. Why didn't you visit the forum first?
Well then noone would ever buy a game, if there weren't people who originally got burnt. It's Steam's fault in this case. There's nothing in the game description that suggests an alpha state, it also says multiplayer when it has no multiplayer, but only a local split screen option. Steam and almost any digital storefront is built to encourage impulse buys, and the TC did nothing wrong.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:55 PM   #5
ChrisW
 
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Originally Posted by Projector View Post
Well then noone would ever buy a game, if there weren't people who originally got burnt. It's Steam's fault in this case. There's nothing in the game description that suggests an alpha state, it also says multiplayer when it has no multiplayer, but only a local split screen option. Steam and almost any digital storefront is built to encourage impulse buys, and the TC did nothing wrong.
He said he purchased the game then read the complaints on the forum. He could have simply checked the forum first. Most of us purchased the game a long, long time ago in one of the Humble Bundles. The SSA states no refunds. Steam only provides the storefront...they don't make the game. Threatening to ruin Steam's reputation just because you want a refund when you are not allowed is just not cool. I am completely sick of people thinking they can bully their way into getting what they want.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #6
Estbarul
 
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But still, Steam should make tests and see what games have and doesn't have problems, it's about quality control, giving a good service.

You are just saying that it's ok that some people buy some stuff in bad shape just to save future buyers from getting a game, wich should be the sellers responsability.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:09 PM   #7
exoriority
 
 
 
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also lately it's kind of becoming a trend, releasing a game in alpha/unfinished state specially on indies. But at least most are being honest about it. AAA games usually released with bugs and such without any commitment to iron the bugs.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:22 PM   #8
catshade
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recklessa View Post
Needless to say, I won't be supporting indie developers through Steam in the future, and do not buy this game.
If you also blame Steam for 'lying and stealing', then you should also not supporting Steam at all in the future. Stick to your principles, bro/sis.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:26 PM   #9
Projector
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
He said he purchased the game then read the complaints on the forum. He could have simply checked the forum first. Most of us purchased the game a long, long time ago in one of the Humble Bundles. The SSA states no refunds. Steam only provides the storefront...they don't make the game. Threatening to ruin Steam's reputation just because you want a refund when you are not allowed is just not cool. I am completely sick of people thinking they can bully their way into getting what they want.
None of that makes it "right" or "ethical" for steam to sell an alpha with no online multiplayer without explicit warnings. No sh** the SSA states no refunds, that's beside the point. Unclear and misleading advertising on the steam storefront end is one of the heated issues with Cortex Command.

Last edited by Projector: 10-02-2012 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:33 PM   #10
Applebee
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Projector View Post
None of that makes it "right" or "ethical" for steam to sell an alpha with no online multiplayer without explicit warnings. No sh** the SSA states no refunds, that's beside the point. Unclear and misleading advertising on the steam storefront end is one of the heated issues with Cortex Command.
UK and EU law trumps Steam's SSA. If OP is in those regions, he can demand a full refund under the Distance Selling Directive (EU law, look it up), with its 7 day Right to Cancel clause.

EU laws are much more consumer friendly than US laws, since big corporations do not control the lawmaking process over there like they do in the US.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:35 PM   #11
Satoru
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Applebee View Post
UK and EU law trumps Steam's SSA. If OP is in those regions, he can demand a full refund under the Distance Selling Directive (EU law, look it up), with its 7 day Right to Cancel clause.

EU laws are much more consumer friendly than US laws, since big corporations do not control the lawmaking process over there like they do in the US.
Distance selling laws aren't really relevant here. The new ssa has already addressed this issue. You waived the right of refusal each time you buy a game or register a cd-key. It does not 'trump' the right of refusal because the clause is specifically DESIGNED to fall into the framework of what is legal with the UK/EU laws.

Quote:
IF YOU ARE AN EU SUBSCRIBER YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO WITHDRAW FROM A PURCHASE TRANSACTION FOR DIGITAL CONTENT WITHOUT CHARGE AND WITHOUT GIVING ANY REASON UNTIL DELIVERY OF SUCH CONTENT HAS STARTED OR PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE HAS COMMENCED. YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO WITHDRAW FROM A TRANSACTION OR OBTAIN A REFUND ONCE DELIVERY OF THE CONTENT HAS STARTED OR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE HAS COMMENCED, AT WHICH POINT YOUR TRANSACTION IS FINAL. YOU AGREE THAT DELIVERY OF DIGITAL CONTENT, AND THE ASSOCIATED SUBSCRIPTION, AND/OR PERFORMANCE OF THE ASSOCIATED SERVICE, COMMENCES AT THE MOMENT THE DIGITAL CONTENT IS ADDED TO YOUR ACCOUNT OR INVENTORY OR OTHERWISE MADE ACCESSIBLE TO YOU FOR DOWNLOAD OR USE.
The entire section is specifically worded to fall into line with what is legally allowed as an exception to the right of refusal with regards to a performance. If you see the content hit your library, you are not legally entitled to a refund as part of the 'right of refusal' period. This is again 100% legal within the framework of EU/UK laws.

Not saying people wont get refunds. But don't use the distance selling laws to get one because that does not apply. If people are REASONABLE about their request, they are more likely to get one. Yelling and screaming and then quoting a law that doesn't apply isn't likely to endear the support person.

Last edited by Satoru: 10-02-2012 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:36 PM   #12
azzonie
 
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That does suck. I have been burned on games before. I never buy a game anymore unless I know it is good. It has always been buyer beware. Expecting Steam to protect you is kind of naive. I guess when you go to buy a car you expect the sales person, who will make the money on the sale, to tell you the car is a lemon. Facts of life sir. It should not stop you from trying to get a refund though.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:39 PM   #13
Dyers Eve
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Projector View Post
Well then noone would ever buy a game, if there weren't people who originally got burnt.
No, then game developers would be forced to put out a demo and lots of hands on footage if they ever wanted their game to sell.

Buying a game without a demo or lots of good reviews/feedback is a rookie mistake that you should only do once.

You can blame whoever you want, but would it have killed you to wait a week for some reviews? Do you have to buy something that is new just because it is new?
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:43 PM   #14
Projector
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azzonie View Post
That does suck. I have been burned on games before. I never buy a game anymore unless I know it is good. It has always been buyer beware. Expecting Steam to protect you is kind of naive. I guess when you go to buy a car you expect the sales person, who will make the money on the sale, to tell you the car is a lemon. Facts of life sir. It should not stop you from trying to get a refund though.
Well how many times do most people go back to the same car saleman to buy cars? How many times do steam users come back to steam to make purchases? I get the point of your analogy, but it disregards the benefits of goodwill. Humble bundle makes a killing off of their goodwill as an example, it's not something to take lightly.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:50 PM   #15
Kidofthecentury
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by {Yotsuba} View Post
0 reputation and 1 post thread
And joined this month.


What does this have to do with a game in an Alpha state not being advertised as such? You do realise that only a very tiny fraction of Steam users ever bother with making a forum account and even less of those ever bother posting, right?
Also, has anyone noticed how lovely is the original post/poster of the discussion the OP has linked?

What an insightful comment coming from a mature person.


(Not dimishing the fact that this game actually has big problems apparently.)
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