Arkham Knight’s PC launch disaster puts Steam’s refund policy to the test

If developers aren’t going to do their own quality control, then gamers are going to do it for them.

UPDATE: Warner Brothers has responded to the situation by removing Batman: Arkham Knight from the Steam store entirely, stating the need to “address these issues to satisfy our quality standards.”

While this may be disappointing for those who have yet to purchase the game, rest assured knowing this is a win for PC gamers. This proves the power of the refund in punishing bad business practices. Hopefully Rocksteady and other developers will look to this incident as an example of what to expect when pushing an unfinished product to release.

Original Story:

Last month I wrote about the effects of pre-order culture on community standards, and how the right to a refund is vital in combatting bad business practices. Only a few days later, Valve announced that they would begin offering refunds for unsatisfactory purchases made through Steam, and while their refund policy isn’t entirely fair to indie developers, it has the potential to help punish carelessness in AAA game development.

Today may mark the first true test of this policy’s effectiveness, as many users are reporting black screens and stuttering framerates in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight for PC. If you’re one to enjoy scoffing at framerate criticisms, make sure to check out the video above. It isn’t just locked to 30 frames-per-second; it’s a stuttering, hitching, unplayable mess, indicative of the quality we’ve come to expect from AAA PC ports.

Optimization blunders like this one have become so commonplace that many gamers have been forced to accept them, with no alternative but to wait helplessly for the developers to repair their damaged product.

But as the comments, reviews, and tweets roll in, it’s becoming clear that PC gamers aren’t going to stand for this sort of thing much longer.

While Rocksteady has already announced their commitment to patching these bugs out as soon as possible, gamers should remain steadfast in their resolve. Are we happy that Rocksteady is working to amend their mistakes? Yes, but forgiving a mistake is not the same thing as excusing it.

As a consumer, you deserve a product that works as advertised, straight out of the digital box. By demanding refunds for unfinished games, gamers can vocalize their concerns in a way that forces publishers to listen, rather than using sales figures to justify their lack of quality control.

You, as a consumer, have the power to make a positive change in this industry. Demand more from your games, and don’t settle for less.