If you are anything like me, you like to try things out. You may even miss the good old days of physical rentals. Digital downloads are nice and all, but I’m still a sucker for the days of ‘Be Kind Please Rewind’ on a beat up cassette tape. In the game industry, renting both hardware and software was a great way for the younger me to get my hands on the latest wares and see if I really wanted to spend birthday or Christmas money on a game or certain hardware.
With Stadia, perhaps a rental or demo service will come down the road, but it most definitely isn’t here yet. Though there are only 22 games to choose from at the moment, nearly every single game is a game I’ve never played. I can look at pictures and videos all day, but those do little to tell me what it will be like to actually sit down and play a title. When making a purchase decision for upwards of $60, I like to know that if I’m not happy with the product, I can send it back.
Thankfully, with Stadia games that is exactly how it works. Sure, it’s not as good as a demo or rental system, but I’ve already returned 4 games and I’ve had not one issue thus far. As long as you haven’t played the game for over 2 hours and you purchased it in the last 14 days, you can return any game. The process is simple as long as you know where to look and how to get there, so let’s go through it quickly.
First up, you need to open a desktop browser and head over to https://play.google.com. When you land there, you’ll want to click on Account in the left-hand sidebar. Next, you need to click on the Order History tab up top. After that, you should see your Stadia game orders. Simply hit the 3-dot menu to the right of the title you want to return, select Report a problem, and select the option that says I no longer want this purchase. They’ll ask for a reason and I’ve been point-blank honest. Whether it is the complexity of the game or the game not being fun, just put something in as the reason.
Within minutes, you should receive an email telling you that your refund has been approved and your money should go back into your account in the next few business days. For me, the returns were accepted within 5 minutes and my money was returned the next business day. It has been easy, hassle-free, and has honestly made me at least try out a few games I generally wouldn’t have bought on a whim.
Additionally, this process helps out when a game you’ve previously purchased in Stadia becomes one of the new free titles with Stadia Pro. I had this happen with Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and I’m happy to already have my money back as I await the free version in a few days. While I sincerely hope Stadia gets a method of demos or trials in the future, I’m happy that returns on game titles that just aren’t a good fit (or that I can get for free now) are so simple to do at this point.