Fans of Marvel Heroes are not happy with the announcement of the game's closure, and have begun to demand refunds for purchases made. Disney confirmed that the free-to-play RPG was being closed down earlier this week, with the company officially planning to shut the game down at the end of December and bringing with it the end of its relationship with developer Gazillion.
Although Gazillion was having problems behind the scenes, the news still came as a shock to the game's fans, particularly given the fact that Marvel Heroes had a 2016 revamp and a console release in the summer of 2017. Understandably, players are currently very frustrated, and a major factor of this comes down to the game's free-to-play nature. With microtransaction costs behind new heroes, some players are now looking for refunds on recent purchases made.
In particular, the desire for refunds has been coming from console players. Marvel Heroes Omega only launched at the end of June for Xbox One and PS4, meaning console users will have at most half a year to play with characters that they bought as in-game purchases. When other content, such as outfits, is also taken into the equation, some players have sunk a considerable amount of money into a dying game.
One such example is the user EITTurtle, who has spent over $400 on the game in order to access characters like Captain America. Speaking with Kotaku, EITTurtle explained that he had reached out to Xbox for a refund, but at the moment there has been no word on what refund process, if any, will be put in place. The user also succinctly explained why spending countless hours grinding for new content is not an option for some players, stating, "I know there a lot of hard working players out there that take pride in grinding and spending hours to unlock characters. I am not one of those people... for me, time is money."
This gets to the root of why microtransactions in freemium titles, and major releases that also utilize in-app purchases, can be problematic. Although the idea of player choice is always brought up as a defense of this business model, gameplay is often framed around the need for players to make additional purchases to succeed. As one example, all Star Wars: Battlefront II content would take 4528 hours to unlock, although developer DICE has been making some major changes following backlash - though it may have been because Disney stepped in to help when Battlefront II became a PR problem.
Thankfully, it looks as though Xbox purchases made within 90 days could be available for a refund, as confirmed over on Reddit. However, Gazillion's refund policy overall makes less than pleasant reading, suggesting that refunds are unavailable unless the user has been subject to identify theft. Given the extenuating circumstances of the game's closure, however, it remains to be seen whether exceptions will be made.