EA intros refund program for unsatisfied Origin customers

Have you ever bought a game, sat down to play it, and been completely underwhelmed by the experience? Maybe the game was plagued by overloaded servers, maybe your PC wasn't fast enough to deliver smooth frame rates, or maybe the story just sucked. EA feels your pain, and it's introduced the Origin Great Game Guarantee to provide refunds to folks who are unsatisfied with purchases made via the service.

The new Origin Great Game Guarantee works like this: You may return EA full game downloads (PC or Mac) purchased on Origin for a full refund--within 24 hours after you first launch the game, within seven days from when you purchased it, or within the first seven days after the game's release date if you pre-ordered it (whichever of these conditions happens first).

Refund requests will be answered within 48 hours, and EA promises to process payments within 7-10 days. There are some other strings attached, too. The guarantee may not apply to games purchased as part of "special promotions." (EA says those promotions will explicitly state that refunds aren't supported.) Third-party titles aren't covered, either, and you're on your own if you buy DLC add-ons or in-game currency. EA also reserves the right to deny refunds if it "detects fraud or abuse."

Those restrictions sound reasonable, especially since there appear to be no requirements attached to why a refund can be requested. If you're not satisfied for whatever reason—and you're within the refund window—you're entitled to your money back.

The refund program isn't retroactive, so victims of the SimCity launch fiasco won't be able to get their money back. The guarantee is still a nice touch, though. It will be interesting to see if Steam and other content delivery service offer similar guarantees. I'm also curious about how EA will characterize abuse of the program. Most single-player games can be finished within 24 hours, and an insufficiently satisfying ending would seem to be a valid reason to request a refund, at least based on the terms EA has outlined thus far.

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