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Microsoft is trialling digital refunds for Xbox and Windows

New "self-serve" refunds are currently being tested through the Xbox Insider Program

Microsoft is trialling a refund system for its digital storefronts, positioning Xbox to become the first console platform to offer the feature to its users.

The policy was introduced to a select group of users on the Xbox Insider Program, the Early Access-style service that used to be called the Xbox Preview Program. The existence of the new policy was announced on Reddit in the form of a screenshot, which showed a textbox bearing the message "you've spoken; we've listened." The introduction of "quick, simple" digital refunds was in the interest of "offering players freedom of choice," Microsoft said.

Microsoft has since confirmed the existence of the "self-serve refund pilot testing" in a statement widely circulated among the game press, but it said there was "nothing further to share" at this point in time.

Going by the way the feature works on the Insider Program, refunds will be available to Xbox One and Windows 10 users within 14 days of purchase, if less than two hours of the game have been played. No refunds can be issued within 24 hours of a game's official release.

At present, DLC, season passes and add-ons are not eligible, in addition to "certain Windows 10 apps" that Microsoft did not specify. There is also a clause enshrining Microsoft's "right to block access" to users who abuse the system.

Exactly which details will change as and when refunds go live remains to be seen, but it's worth noting that the refund system introduced to Steam in June 2015 also had a within 14 days, under two hours played structure.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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