The solo developer at Emika_Games has decided to leave the game industry because Steam users refunded the studio’s game after completion.
Emika_Games released its latest game, Summer Of ’58, on Steam on July 21. The horror game has a notice on its Steam page that it has an approximate completion time of 90 mins, and Steam runs a policy where any game can be refunded if the total playtime is less than two hours.
According to the solo developer, so many players have used the refund system that they are earning so little from sales they cannot develop their next game. As such, they are leaving the games industry indefinitely.
Emika_Games said on Twitter that the developer is “leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect my thoughts.” Adding, “Thank you very much for supporting me. I am very glad that you like my games.”
The developer also announced that their upcoming game, From Day To Day, would not be released in the near future.
Friends! Thank you for your support! I'm leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect my thoughts. pic.twitter.com/q93NxWjyUI
— EMIKA_GAMES (@EmikaGames) August 26, 2021
The creator of the BAFTA-nominated game The Falconeer, Tomas Sala, shared support for Emika_Games by tweeting: “People are turning this into an issue of gamers harming devs. This is not about that. This is about rules and systems intended to maximize profits for a platform, profiting off artists but not working to support and safeguard those same artists. This is about that.”
One Twitter user asked for Sala to explain how Steam profits from refunds, to which they answered, “In this case, Steam refuses to care for creators of short-form experiences but still takes their platform tax regardless. I assume it’s cheaper for them to do so and keep the gamer customer happy than to put in the effort and care for their creators.”
Summer Of ’58 currently has 288 reviews on Steam, and a “very positive” rating.