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Shenmue III devs backtrack, offering refunds to backers displeased with move to Epic Games Store

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Since the crowdfunded Shenmue III was announced to be moving from Steam to the Epic Games Store in June, many backers were extremely displeased. Further aggravating backers was the announcement that backers unhappy with the switch would ineligible for refunds.

Today, YSNET made a post on the Shenmue III’s Kickstarter update page, announcing that refund requests will be honored.

In addition to refunds, YSNET and Deep Silver have also announced that backers who choose to receive the PC Digital or PC Physical version can also elect to receive a complementary Steam key one year after release.

Another interesting tidbit found in the post revolves around a seemingly hidden Steam policy previously mentioned by the CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney.


“In response to backers who have requested Steam keys for their rewards, we discussed offering the keys on the day of release. However, coordination with the sales policies of the involved companies was untenable, and as a result we are not able to make a day one distribution option for Steam keys available.”

Sweeney had previously claimed on Twitter that “Valve policy prohibits providing Steam keys for games that aren’t going to be available at launch on Steam.”

This seemingly lines up with today’s YSNET announcement.

It’s great to see YSNET being pro-consumer in their retracting of the no-refunds policy regarding the Epic Games Store move, and giving consumers the option to receive a Steam key in the future.

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That Steam policy weren't exactly hidden, but is a consequence of Valve's years old policies regarding those keys: https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys

NOTE: Steam Keys are intended to help partners run their other physical and digital businesses by matching offers that exist on Steam. It's important that Steam customers are treated fairly and that offers using keys are materially consistent with offers on Steam. It is not okay to sell keys for products that aren't also available for sale on Steam at the same time. Make sure Steam customers are getting a fair offer relative to any other stores where you distribute Steam keys, especially at launch.

Valve doesn't see a cut from the sale of Steam keys at all, so allowing publishers and developers to give Kickstarter backers Steam keys for free while also having a one-year timed exclusive release on another platform means Valve is paying infrastructural costs etc for free for a year without getting paid for it.

Color me surprised they didn't agree on doing that.

It is part of why Valve actually gets less than 30% of Steam game sales, after all.

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