Arkham Knight's PC launch disaster puts Steam's refund policy to the test

If developers aren't going to do their own quality control, then gamers are going to do it for them.

UPDATE: Warner Brothers has responded to the situation by removing Batman: Arkham Knight from the Steam store entirely, stating the need to "address these issues to satisfy our quality standards."

While this may be disappointing for those who have yet to purchase the game, rest assured knowing this is a win for PC gamers. This proves the power of the refund in punishing bad business practices. Hopefully Rocksteady and other developers will look to this incident as an example of what to expect when pushing an unfinished product to release.

Original Story:

Last month I wrote about the effects of pre-order culture on community standards, and how the right to a refund is vital in combatting bad business practices. Only a few days later, Valve announced that they would begin offering refunds for unsatisfactory purchases made through Steam, and while their refund policy isn't entirely fair to indie developers, it has the potential to help punish carelessness in AAA game development.

Today may mark the first true test of this policy's effectiveness, as many users are reporting black screens and stuttering framerates in Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight for PC. If you're one to enjoy scoffing at framerate criticisms, make sure to check out the video above. It isn't just locked to 30 frames-per-second; it's a stuttering, hitching, unplayable mess, indicative of the quality we've come to expect from AAA PC ports. 

Optimization blunders like this one have become so commonplace that many gamers have been forced to accept them, with no alternative but to wait helplessly for the developers to repair their damaged product.

But as the comments, reviews, and tweets roll in, it's becoming clear that PC gamers aren't going to stand for this sort of thing much longer. 


While Rocksteady has already announced their commitment to patching these bugs out as soon as possible, gamers should remain steadfast in their resolve. Are we happy that Rocksteady is working to amend their mistakes? Yes, but forgiving a mistake is not the same thing as excusing it.

As a consumer, you deserve a product that works as advertised, straight out of the digital box. By demanding refunds for unfinished games, gamers can vocalize their concerns in a way that forces publishers to listen, rather than using sales figures to justify their lack of quality control.

You, as a consumer, have the power to make a positive change in this industry. Demand more from your games, and don't settle for less.

Featured Correspondent

Published Jun. 25th 2015
  • Chai Chien Liang
    The irony here with the developer being called "Rocksteady"...

    Jokes aside, perhaps they should have delayed the PC release if it was going to come out like this, what did their Quality Assurance team do for PC? They must have had some issues especially since they are supposed to test for different range PCs

    Good thing Steam just introduced their new refund policy not long ago...
  • Kdogprime
    This is the reason I do not pre-order games anymore.

    I like what Rocksteady did with Asylum and City, but this port is a mess. I don't care if Iron Galaxy was responsible or not. Either Rocksteady/WB knew the PC port was poor (and given the total lack of PC review codes, we know WB did know beforehand) and released it anyway, or just WB knew the port was poor, and Rocksteady is now taking the brunt of the PC gamers' abuse for something they didn't directly have a hand in.

    Even more embarrassing, copies of Arkham Knight were offered for free with the purchase of a GTX 970, which exceeds the system requirements, and I have yet to read a post on reddit or steam from a GTX 970 user who is able to run this game without issue.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    "were offered for free with the purchase of a GTX 970, which exceeds the system requirements"... great pointing that out.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Very well stated and excellent piece. The poor PC quality during launches has caused me to rely more on my consoles and that deeply saddens me. I love my PC games and our voices need to be heard one way or another.

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