When it comes to refunding downloadable games, all platform holders act differently. Nintendo’s policy, unlike the one operated by the likes of Sony, Valve and Epic Games, is fairly strict: eShop games cannot be returned, and preorder cancellations are outside of the norm. While Nintendo is in the process of defending its policy in a European court, a legal battle in Russia just made the company change its tune.
Russian blogger Vladimir Vechnyi and Nintendo of Europe agreed on a settlement after the former made a court filing. Vechnyi wanted to get his money back for Dusty Raging Fist, an €8.99 eShop game, after discovering he cannot play it in a couch multiplayer with a single pair of Joy-Con. The limitation “ruined” his video stream.
“The funny thing is, when I visited a Nintendo web site from my PC – not the actual console – later, there was a footnote which stated that the game requires two complete controllers,” the plaintiff explained in the video on his YouTube channel. A plaintiff’s lawyer argued that Nintendo eShop itself did not provide the “required and correct information on goods”, as outlined in Russian consumer rights law.
In an interview with a local news outlet TverNews, Vechniy reveals the settlement awards him the full price of the game, as well as compensation for moral damages – 3800 rubles in total, or around €54. “I want to motivate people to defend their rights because digital goods are no different from other ones,” he tells a TverNews reporter.
The case is interesting for a few reasons. Notably, this might be the first case of Nintendo offering a full refund of a downloadable game, even if it’s done in a way not natural to the eShop platform. Vechnyi explained to Nintendo Life that the game is still tied to his account, and, in theory, nothing prevents him from downloading it again. “I haven’t tried to do so, though – I’m not interested,” he notes, adding that a Nintendo representative promised to de-register the game in the future.
However, the situation highlights that there is indeed no clear way to determine which accessories a player needs to play a downloadable Switch game with a friend. Since the Wii days, Nintendo tries to rectify the controller chaos by offering detailed charts and descriptions on the back of retail boxes – first in Japan only, then worldwide by the Switch’s release.
The Russian story, however, shows it’s easy to miss the note when buying games digitally, especially on the spur of the moment. It would be interesting to see Nintendo tweaking the eShop to display more information – or, at the very least, a line in legalese which would shield them from similar claims.
Nintendo RU, a local Nintendo subsidiary, could not be reached for comment.
Have you ever bought a game only to realize you can’t play it without extra accessories? Have you wished to return a Switch game you didn’t like? Share your stories in the comments below.
This should always be the case everywhere. No exceptions.
If a table-top icon is shown on the eshop, including the two joy-con on their side, but no mention is made that you need full controller sets, then this is indeed a case where he should be awarded his money back.
I think refunds should definitely be available in cases where a game is broken or has been falsely advertised. If it's just a case of someone not doing enough research before making a purchase or just changing their mind, etc. then I'm fine with it just being bad luck.
This is hardly the first time Nintendo has refunded a digital game. NintendoSwitch subreddit is full of threads of people saying they got a digital game refunded, complete with screenshots.
Heck, my dad got a refund on the 3DS EShop a couple years ago after my younger brother stole his credit card to buy a Pokemon Ranger game.
You should be able to refund a digital game within X minutes of playtime... then they could get rid of demos if they want.
I contacted Nintendo when Pokemon Sword & Shield because pre-purchasable via the eShop after I had purchased each game individually because I didn't see the Double-Pack online. Apparently though when you viewed it from the on-console eShop, the double-pack was available. I asked for a refund so I could purchase the double-pack and they had zero issues with it.
Sony and Nintendo should adopt the Steam and Xbox method of handling refunds (2 hours of playtime or 14 days after purchase).
If Nintendo didn't want to adopt that method then they should at least allow them to get a refund before they even play the game. Exceptions to the rules above are when the game is so broken or badly advertised.
I was able to get a refund on Steam with a game called Bless (I had 6 hours in that game) but it was a mess of a game. Performance was a joke plus I spent more time in the splash screen (it would just get stuck on the splash screen) then I played the game. And it wasn't that my PC was the issues it was the game cause there was hundreds of people with the same problem. When something like that happens with a game then those should be the exceptions to get a refund outside those rules.
I've gotten a full refund for a downloaded game on my Switch. You just have to have a valid reason and they will do it. In this case I bought a game for my kids and then realized there was content in the game that was offensive. Called Nintendo, instant refund.
@Koragi385 how does the digital Double Pack work, exactly? Does it give you both games under one icon or both games with each having their own icon?
It's about time they started offering returns for digital goods. Steam does this, I bought a game I was disappointed with and they gave me a refund (luckily I didn't take long to ask for the refund).
I tried to get a refund for resi 4 on the WiiU after finding out you couldn’t play it on the game pad,
But Nintendo wouldn’t refund me!
Bloodstained on the switch had frame rate issues and 2 players on the box. They fixed the frame rate but it's still only 1 player.
That reminds me that I have to ask for a refund about my Pokemon Let's go game because all measurements are written in these US only incomprehensible measurement units.
@Indielink doubtful story considering there aren't any pokemon ranger games on the 3ds eshop
@BenAV If it's just a case of someone not doing enough research before making a purchase or just changing their mind, etc. then I'm fine with it just being bad luck.
Why? It isn't that way for physical goods.
@Mijzelffan Sorry, Mystery Dungeon. This was a couple years ago.
The Disclaimer should be upfront for eShop what controllers or which controllers can be used so buyers don't just buy before realizing wait it doesn't work. He does have a legit cause if the Discloser is at the end of the purchase.
Best news all year
I think you should be able to refund downloaded games if they are broken.
One thing is for sure and that is browsing for games really sucks. They need a better system setup for eShop.
@Crono1973 It is, but I'd be fine if it wasn't. It essentially allows you to play a game for free if you want, as long as you return it by the end of the refund period. Some of the smaller indie eShop games can be a bit on the short side, so my main concern with the idea of freely being able to refund games is that it could be abused a bit and some of these smaller devs won't get the money they deserve for their hard work.
I called Nintendo and got Sega’s genesis collection refunded because that was a horribly laggy game. So give them a call, if you buy lots they’ll likely have no issue with a refund
I managed to get a refund for Pillars of Eternity.
It wasn’t easy or straight forward and there were around half dozen emails between me and Nintendo before they credited my eShop account.
@ylitvinenko 3800 rules? That's a lot of do's and don'ts. You mean rubles right?
@BenAV Some of the smaller indie eShop games can be a bit on the short side, so my main concern
Your concern? Consumer rights vs game companies and you choose game companies.
I can buy a microwave, use it and then return it for a full refund. Just because it can be done doesn't mean that it will be done by most people.
Here's hoping someone (with the finance to do so) sues Nintendo for selling gamecarts where entire games has to be downloaded (Spyro/Crash/Bayonetta etc.) and games with huge mandatory updates with no info on filesizes.
With the crappy storage solution on Switch , we need games to come on large enough carts. And we need info on total patch-size for games. The UK eShop at least lists the games' filesize - but this is a bare minimum of info needed.
And yeah, I already have a 512Gb SD-card - which is far too little. There are tons of offers I have to ignore on the eShop 'cause it would fill my cards (have a 400Gb in backup).
@Crono1973 Yeah, I'll chose the developers over letting people play games for free. As I said, I think there should be refunds when there's a valid reason for it. I just don't consider changing your mind later or finishing a game to be a good reason for a refund.
@Darlinfan That's the risk you take before buying anything. Any time you spend your money you run the chance of buying something that functions as advertised, that delivers everything promised, that still fails to satisfy you or your tastes. That's life.
That's when you return it to the store.
If the case was won, I assume the statement about separate controllers was negligently omitted on console eShop page. Otherwise, "easy to miss the note" doesn't fly in courts unless there's a legislation for the visibility of such stuff. Especially not in conjunction with "on the spur of the moment" - it's kinda hard to defend your consumer rights if you openly admit you were too negligent to do your own part of the homework.
Broken games, and games with wrong information must be refunded, simple as that.
Nintendo refunded me the broken game Last Ninja 3, and another game, ToriBash, after it got delisted and wasn't transfered over to my Wii U for some glitchy reason, with no way to redownload it (the Wii Shop was still functional at the time).
So, in special cases like these, Nintendo is going to refund digital games, even way back in 2009.
@Darlinfan Have you worked in a Wal Mart where almost anything can be returned for any reason?
They may ask 'is there anything wrong with it' and they don't care if you say yes or no but they need to know that information. Your story about working in a game store isn't surprising, we already know that the game industry gets special protections that other industries do not.
At a minimum you should be able to cancel a Pre-Order.
I do not think people should get to use a digital storefront as a DEMO machine for games they like. If broken or mislabeled - fine.
The steam policy has its up sides, At least in our house we are more likely to buy something on a whim on steam and most time it will get more than the 2 hours of play time to qualify for return. In the end we spend more money, take more risks and support more indies because the policy is in place. I see no reason why Nintendo Would not reap the same rewards.
@Darlinfan A sealed game returned quickly is one thing, but I'm not about to reward someone for destroying the worth of a product.
Ok but how does your policy apply to digital games?
Slightly similar, I’ve purchased a few games on the eshop only to discover afterwards that they were motion control games only. Booo! I deleted them all!! But If it was clear enough, I would’ve skipped the purchases in the first place! 🤨
@KitChan Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with steam. Though with that said it was my only time that I asked for a refund.
I can understand why you stopped using them.
Yes steam customer support is horrible as it takes a long time for them to get back to you (if they ever do).
I don't use the Window store for 1 reason. I am unable to back up my games with them. I have very slow internet and when I used the game pass to download gears 4 (120+gb) and wanted to back it up on an external hard drive I couldn't. To me that stopped me from using the platform.
Now your experience with the Window Store is the exact experience I had with Origin. As much hate that EA gets (and rightfully so) their customer support is fantastic and when my account was hack they were fantastic in getting my account back and even went the extra step to enable 2 step activation on my account for me (my fault for not activating it but this was a few years ago).
@Darlinfan You still didn't address the digital games part. There is no open packaging with a digital game.
Bissell shouldn't have to be subjected to my opinion of their vacuum?
To be honest sometimes game features are not included or even worse reported incorrectly. I could probably find 15 or more games on 3ds eshop which gave vague descriptions of games and either reported incorrectly or didn't report at all. I don't want any refunds though lol. Nintendo probably should have just given the guy the 8 bucks instead of making a big deal out of it.
Nintendo's US site has a surprisingly detailed page about it, seems you get Sword automatically downloaded, and a download code for Shield to use later.
Good. Any efforts we can take to make this corrupt industry less anti-consumer is always, always worth it.
Give them an inch and they won't take a mile. They'll cut the mile out of the produ-- sorry, "service," and then try to pre-sell it back to you, along with microtransactions, DLC, and gambling items.
Man, we're overdue for a crash.
If you don't make money on games don't sell them. It's that simple. This is actually the reason that small businesses typically struggle. I'm okay paying a little more to support local businesses but I'm not okay with poor service for commodity sales. You probably should drop video games anyways since all the major players are pushing digital distribution to cut you out.
Consumer protection laws are in place because the consumer doesn't get to try out the item or get to fully understand it until they have it in their hand and by nature marketing is deceptive. Video games are interactive. Yes, looking at reviews and watching youtube helps me know if I might like a game, but sometimes you never know until you get to play it since that is the purpose of games.
Businesses that stand behind their products benefit in two ways. 1st if I know a company will refund a game if I'm unhappy that means I might actually be willing to pay $60 for it day 1. 2nd, I'm willing to try more games from that developer instead of having 1 bad experience with the developer and applying it to all games.
I have a small business too and I don't like losing money and I've fired bad customers so I understand where you are coming from. But a digital purchase is not comparable to a physical purchase so nobody is out money on a return. Consumer protections and competition that allows returns make your opinion that a person should just deal with a bad game null. Running a business is hard and laws favor the consumer and sometimes you lose and it's unreasonable, but I don't think any of this conversation is necessarily pertinent to a digital purchase.
See, so many people think companies like Nintendo are the ones who have absolute power to dictate to you whatever rules they see fit, but it took a dude just saying no and fighting back to make the giant buckle. The laws aren't always as clean cut and in favour of the big corporations as you think, so challenge things you don't think sound/feel fair on gut instinct. All the copyright stuff Nintendo likes to throw around at every single available opportunity is a great example of this; half of the time its claims would fall flat if people only bothered to challenge its barked orders from the lawyers.
@mercilessrobot that's a good excuse, don't have any kids but I will use it. Thanks
What do you mean first in Japan only then worldwide by the Switch release? Here in North America, we’ve had those controller charts on the back since the GameCube era
Did you really say that this might be the first case of someone getting a refund? Thats crazy talk. Loads of people have. Myself included.
I got Rime refunded on account of it being basically unplayable due to low framerate, low resolution and animations missing.
I didnt have to go to court over it either.
@bluesun that’s neat, I guess
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