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The Political Machine Return Policy

The Political Machine Forums have word on Stardock's return policy for the strategy game in case users experience video card compatibility issues with The Political Machine, their politics simulation:

The Political Machine requires video cards that support pixel shader 2.0. Normally, on our other games, this isn't a problem as nearly all video cards support this.

But due to the more mainstream appeal of The Political Machine, we're getting a number of people with old video cards which simply can't run the game. Because they were purchased at retail where returns are generally not allowed, those people, especially people with older laptops, are usually out of luck.

However, Stardock will take your game and provide a FULL refund even if you bought it from a retail outlet. All we need you to do is send us the box, the receipt, and a brief letter letting us know what type of video card you have (so we can document this). The only caveat is that you need to do this within the first 10 days of having purchased it.

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24. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 23:49 Prez
 
Another reason Stardock rules. They are smart enough to realize the customers they don't screw over now will be back in the future, cash in hand.  
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23. ... Jul 1, 2008, 21:03 theyarecomingforyou
 
While you may have legitimate points, statements like that make everything you say worthless. If you'd like to have a relevant discussion (or debate, semantics really) at least try to sound intelligent and civilized. Until then take your sig and place your own name in the appropriate places.
This is Riley we're talking about - everytime he's wrong he manipulates and twists things, usually blaming Valve for the downfall of humanity. So while I'm happy to debate many points with him you cannot take away the pleasure I get from berating him at every opportunity, given how absurd the positions are that he defends. Please note that it's only him that I criticise in such a way - the rest of the time I agree there is no need for such insults. Clearly you are not familiar with Riley or you would know why I post such as I do.

NEway, the insults are between Riley and I - that is why I leave them to the end to avoid compromising the main points I raise.

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22. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 20:21 sponge
 
What I wonder is how Stardock lists the system requirements on the box. To your average Wal-Mart game buyer running Intel integrated graphics, seeing "pixel shaders 2.0 required" wouldn't make any sense. I'm wondering if Stardock is offering this refund because the language on the box was unclear.

The only way I could see it being clear as possible is to put NVidia xxx or higher, or ATI xxx or higher.

 
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21. Re: ... Jul 1, 2008, 19:19 Bucky
 
I scanned to the end of your post just to see if I'd find another little gem, and sure enough:

Ah well, I better let you get back to molesting little boys.

While you may have legitimate points, statements like that make everything you say worthless. If you'd like to have a relevant discussion (or debate, semantics really) at least try to sound intelligent and civilized. Until then take your sig and place your own name in the appropriate places.
 
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20. ... Jul 1, 2008, 18:40 theyarecomingforyou
 
You missed the point, fool, which is that boycotting or avoiding the game doesn't help the publisher. The game publisher is in business to sell games and having the customer not purchase its games because the customer isn't sure that they will run costs the publisher money. So your suggestion is NOT a viable solution from a business standpoint.
Do you even read what you post? Boycotting a game sends a message to a publisher - if it becomes more profitable for a publisher to put out a demo they will. That's really basic stuff.

Having good customer service including offering refunds gives customers a strong incentive to purchase a company's products because it reduces the customer's risk. That in the long run makes the company more money by getting sales from people who otherwise wouldn't purchase the product.
That's for the business to decide. EA are a huge company and, like most others, have decided not to offer refunds. Clearly they disagree with your conclusion.

Another reason to offer refunds is if the business would LOSE more money from the bad publicity and lost future business of disgruntled customers. Customer service including returns and refunds is simply a cost of doing business. It's not about making money in the short term; it's about minimizing future losses.
Semantics and irrelevant when that's how the majority of the industry operates.

If DRM doesn't prevent that loss then it shouldn't be used.
Lovely, but that's for the publisher to decide. The DRM might have a 75% success rate, so refusing returns still eliminates 25% of thefts that would have otherwise occurred. If people don't like it they can refuse to buy it, as many have done with the latest crop of DRM / activations.

As I already pointed out below, those who are going to circumvent DRM won't buy the product in the first place since they can acquire it for free through the Internet.
So your assertion is that 100% of people that are going to circumvent DRM will never do so from a product bought at retail? Exactly, it's another figure you pulled out your ass.

EA could certainly offer refunds and still be profitable.
Of course, but why reduce their profit margin when they don't have to? That would be stupid.

Stardock isn't offering refunds on its other games.
Actually, Stardock offers refunds on games/programs bought through Impulse if the user is experiencing technical difficulties. So yet again you're wrong.

Ah well, I better let you get back to molesting little boys.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Founder of the "I Hate Smiley Fitz" society

Remember: Riley has autism. He has trouble communicating, and in an overstimulating
environment, he can get frightened and run away, leaving his parents frantic. - Auburn
 
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19. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 18:31 Bucky
 
Possibly because most games nowadays can be finished over a weekend or two?


Which is another great thing about Stardock, their games tend to offer a huge amount of replayability. To prove the point, there are many GCII gamers out there that have never touched the campaign mode.



In the case of Stardock goodwill, they've built up a ton with me. In fact, I'm going to go preorder the CE 'poop in a box' right now.
 
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18. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 18:12 Shadowcat
 
Actually Sierra/Vivendi used to do this on most if not all of its titles with the first 30 days of purchase AND provide a return shipping refund. [...] Microsoft also had a 30-day money back guarantee on at least some of its PC games. Links 2001 was one. Today though I can't think of any publishers which do that off the top of my head.
Possibly because most games nowadays can be finished over a weekend or two?


 
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17. Re: ... Jul 1, 2008, 18:03 >U
 
So yet again Riley you simply have a poor understanding of the situation
No, as you can see below, it is you who yet again has a poor understanding of the situation. So, try actually reading this post and learn something.

However, those games can be boycotted or the person can look at the specs.
You missed the point, fool, which is that boycotting or avoiding the game doesn't help the publisher. The game publisher is in business to sell games and having the customer not purchase its games because the customer isn't sure that they will run costs the publisher money. So your suggestion is NOT a viable solution from a business standpoint.

At the end of the day businesses are designed to make money...
Yes, but you're being penny wise and pound foolish and missing the big picture. Having good customer service including offering refunds gives customers a strong incentive to purchase a company's products because it reduces the customer's risk. That in the long run makes the company more money by getting sales from people who otherwise wouldn't purchase the product.

the only reason a business would offer it was if they thought they'd make more money because of it
That's not the only reason. Another reason to offer refunds is if the business would LOSE more money from the bad publicity and lost future business of disgruntled customers. Customer service including returns and refunds is simply a cost of doing business. It's not about making money in the short term; it's about minimizing future losses.

It doesn't apply to CDs, DVDs or other products where the copyright is threatened by a return.
First, such refunds have applied to such media products from some retailers and publishers. Second, copyright is not threatened by a return due to included DRM. If DRM doesn't prevent that loss then it shouldn't be used. Copyright holders shouldn't have it both ways. If DRM works, then refunds should be offered. If it doesn't work, then DRM shouldn't be used and a no refunds policy would be more acceptable.

DRM can be circumvented
As I already pointed out below, those who are going to circumvent DRM won't buy the product in the first place since they can acquire it for free through the Internet.

If it was profitable to offer a return scheme then EA would do it.
EA could certainly offer refunds and still be profitable. It's only a matter of the degree of profitability. Right now the competitive climate in PC games is such that EA doesn't have to offer refunds because its major competitors don't. But, consumers expectations or demands could change that.

Stardock is clearly hoping the image of being a rebel / innovator will generate more sales than the scheme will cost.
As I pointed out below there is nothing innovative about offering refunds on PC games especially not under Stardock's limited terms. Other game publishers have done so and more leniently in the recent past. Stardock is offering this limited refund simply to prevent bad publicity from disgruntled customers of this game. Stardock isn't offering refunds on its other games.

So I'm pretty sure that makes you the goat sodomising inbred cowbell
And, I thought you couldn't get any more pathetic. Boy, if you can't do any better than that, don't even try. You've already given me plenty of reasons to laugh at you. I don't need yet another one.

This comment was edited on Jul 1, 18:29.
 
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16. ... Jul 1, 2008, 16:52 theyarecomingforyou
 
Not every game has a demo and "not buying the product" sure as hell doesn't answer the question of whether they can run the game.
Indeed. However, those games can be boycotted or the person can look at the specs. At the end of the day businesses are designed to make money and are under no obligation to provide refunds because a customer didn't check the minimum specs - the only reason a business would offer it was if they thought they'd make more money because of it, which is what Stardock is trying to achieve by doing this and by refusing DRM.

Because that's good customer service and is standard practice with most other items sold at retail.
It doesn't apply to CDs, DVDs or other products where the copyright is threatened by a return. DRM can be circumvented and isn't used by all products, so therefore returns are not issued on all such products. This is done because the threat of theft it high, much the same as tags are placed on clothes and alcohol at stores - the difference is copies can be made of CDs/DVDs/games, whereas they can't with clothes and consumables.

A big company is actually in a better financial position to accept returns because it can absorb the loss much more easily.
Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. My point was that small companies can use it as a gimmick, a unique selling point - big companies don't need to do that because they already have the sales. So why should big companies implement a scheme that costs them money when there is no need to do so? That is not in the interests on shareholders.

So yet again Riley you simply have a poor understanding of the situation. If it was profitable to offer a return scheme then EA would do it. Stardock is clearly hoping the image of being a rebel / innovator will generate more sales than the scheme will cost. So I'm pretty sure that makes you the goat sodomising inbred cowbell.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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Remember: Riley has autism. He has trouble communicating, and in an overstimulating
environment, he can get frightened and run away, leaving his parents frantic. - Auburn
 
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15. Re: ... Jul 1, 2008, 16:19 >U
 
If someone is unsure if they can run it they can always grab a demo or not buy the product.
As usual you are an idiot. Not every game has a demo and "not buying the product" sure as hell doesn't answer the question of whether they can run the game. It ensures that they won't run the game.

Why should publishers have to refund a product because the customer didn't meet the minimum specifications?
Because that's good customer service and is standard practice with most other items sold at retail. The overwhelming majority of retailers in the U.S. don't care why the customer doesn't want the product when they accept returns. The customer just has to return the product in the condition and timeframe specified by the retailer's policy. Many manufacturers also offer money-back guarantees which aren't dependent upon why the customer wants to return the product. Therefore, why the customer wants to return the game shouldn't matter. A return is a return, and with the DRM built into games, the publisher can basically ensure that the customer can't still play the game after returning it unless the customer does something illegal to bypass the game's DRM. A customer who would do that wouldn't bother buying the game in the first place; he would just download it for free.

it doesn't make sense to a big company
Size of the company has nothing to do with it. A big company certainly can accept returns, and some such as Sierra and Microsoft have done so in the past. A big company is actually in a better financial position to accept returns because it can absorb the loss much more easily.

This comment was edited on Jul 1, 16:28.
 
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14. ... Jul 1, 2008, 16:05 theyarecomingforyou
 
Returning broken products is one thing. Accepting returns because the consumer did not meet the minimum requirements is something else entirely.
Exactly. Why should publishers have to refund a product because the customer didn't meet the minimum specifications? If someone is unsure if they can run it they can always grab a demo or not buy the product. It's great that Stardock offers a return policy but from a business sense it doesn't make sense to a big company - for Stardock it's part of their niche appeal.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Founder of the "I Hate Smiley Fitz" society

Remember: Riley has autism. He has trouble communicating, and in an overstimulating
environment, he can get frightened and run away, leaving his parents frantic. - Auburn
 
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13. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 15:57 >U
 
Question would any other publisher/developer do this?
Actually Sierra/Vivendi used to do this on most if not all of its titles with the first 30 days of purchase AND provide a return shipping refund. Grab an old Sierra box if you still have one and look for the 30-day money back guarantee notice. Usually it was on the box, but it was always in the manual with the customer service info. Microsoft also had a 30-day money back guarantee on at least some of its PC games. Links 2001 was one. Today though I can't think of any publishers which do that off the top of my head.

This comment was edited on Jul 1, 16:10.
 
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12. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 15:47 Parallax Abstraction
 
It's nothing to do with EA specifically. They are by far not the only publisher that does business the way they do and none of the others are any better.

What I wonder is how Stardock lists the system requirements on the box. To your average Wal-Mart game buyer running Intel integrated graphics, seeing "pixel shaders 2.0 required" wouldn't make any sense. I'm wondering if Stardock is offering this refund because the language on the box was unclear.
 
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11. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 15:32 sponge
 
Or perhaps they could actually release products in a reasonable state so that returns would be minimized. EA has more than enough resources to actually stand behind their products rather than hide behind this draconian rule that you prevents customers from returning something that's broken.

Returning broken products is one thing. Accepting returns because the consumer did not meet the minimum requirements is something else entirely. I don't think anyone here is arguing against what you said, but if you just have an ax to grind against EA, then feel free.

 
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10. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 14:52 Enahs
 
f blue posted a story about the CEO of Stardock taking a shit, you guys would be gushing all over it. "scat porn isn't usually my thing, but if Stardock sells it I'll buy it in a second!"

What a stupid comment.
Giving credit where credit is due is different then what you say.


If Stardock shit in a box, I probably would buy it. I bet it would be some pretty awesome shit. And if it sucked? Then my experience with them would lessen, and I'd be a lot more wary about the next time. Until they screw me over, I will continue to hand over my dollars to them.

Would you have 10 days to return the shit due to incompatibility issues though?


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9. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 14:35 Than
 
If blue posted a story about the CEO of Stardock taking a shit, you guys would be gushing all over it. "scat porn isn't usually my thing, but if Stardock sells it I'll buy it in a second!"

You know, you are right. I would. Stardock has repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty, and they've earned my trust. Never once have they screwed me over. They've never sold me a shitty game, they've never sold me a game with DRM thats more likely to fuck me then prevent piracy. Every time I've been able to buy a game from Stardock it's been a treat. Sort of like going to your favorite restaurant, where the waiter already knows what you want.

If Stardock shit in a box, I probably would buy it. I bet it would be some pretty awesome shit. And if it sucked? Then my experience with them would lessen, and I'd be a lot more wary about the next time. Until they screw me over, I will continue to hand over my dollars to them.

This comment was edited on Jul 1, 14:37.
 
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8. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 14:22 skyguy
 
If blue posted a story about the CEO of Stardock taking a shit, you guys would be gushing all over it. "scat porn isn't usually my thing, but if Stardock sells it I'll buy it in a second!"


 
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7. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 13:51 Enahs
 
I really do love Stardock. They treat their customers with respect, and I appreciate that, being a customer of theirs.


And the implication that only small companies could do this is silly. It cost the small companies more, as they do not have the kind of infrastructure already in place to do this. Where as a the larger publishers do, it is just a matter of telling a few employees to do it.





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This comment was edited on Jul 1, 13:53.
 
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6. Re: WOW Impressive! Jul 1, 2008, 13:24 Parallax Abstraction
 
What note will they take? Become a smaller company so that returns won't be overwhelming?

Or perhaps they could actually release products in a reasonable state so that returns would be minimized. EA has more than enough resources to actually stand behind their products rather than hide behind this draconian rule that revents customers from returning something that's broken.


This comment was edited on Jul 1, 15:43.
 
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5. No subject Jul 1, 2008, 13:14 Dev
 
Customer service like this is part of why Stardock is a success.

Also Stardock uses the carrot (free updates and additional content if you use a valid serial) instead of using the stick like most companies (DRM and treating you like a criminal instead of a legit customer).

 
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