I just stumbled on my favorite Xbox feature — I really wish PS5 had this

Xbox Series X console next to TV
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy person, but my credentials took a bit of a beating this week when I made an embarrassing rookie error when purchasing an Xbox Series X game. 

I assumed my mistake would leave me out of pocket and feeling like a fool, but that’s when I discovered an Xbox feature that, much to my delight, reversed my error. The Xbox Store’s refund policy is something that the PS5 doesn’t currently match, and as somebody who plays primarily on PlayStation hardware, I’m disappointed Sony isn’t fully competing.

So, let me explain how I screwed up, and how Xbox came to my rescue to spare my blushes...

I made a farce of buying Fallout 

Fallout: New Vegas keyart

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

I’ve spent the last week binge-watching the Fallout TV show. It’s one of the best gaming adaptations ever made, and I've loved every moment. After enjoying the Prime Video show, I was very much in the mood for playing a Fallout game. 

Unfortunately, I don’t currently own one of the best gaming PCs. So, as a console-locked player, the Xbox Series X was the obvious choice as every “modern” Fallout is playable on Microsoft’s chunky black box. And to my delight, there was a Fallout sale on the Xbox Store with Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas available for just a few dollars (or English pounds, in my case). 

Naturally, I wanted to pick up the GOTY versions that include all the DLC as the Fallout franchise boasts some of the best expansions ever made. And that’s where I made a rather stupid mistake. I was browsing the Xbox Store on my laptop, and accidentally purchased Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas for PC instead of Xbox. 

Xbox Store listing showing Fallout 3 on Xbox and PC

(Image credit: Microsoft)

It wasn’t my finest hour, but in my defense, the Xbox Store doesn’t do a great job flagging the platform of each game listed. Rather than have a “PC” or “Xbox” tag upfront, you have to scroll to the “Playable on” section which is underneath a lot of less relevant information. Nevertheless, I’ll admit, this was a case of “user error.”

Xbox did right by me 

Xbox Series X next to a window

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I booted up my Xbox Series X and quickly realized my mistake when neither of the Fallout games appeared in my game library. After spending about 30 seconds kicking myself for making such a stupid blunder, I started looking for a solution. 

Based on previous experience (I’ll get to that shortly), I was largely resigned to the fact I’d wasted my money with no recourse. But much to my delight (and surprise), a quick Google search brought me to an Xbox support page entitled “Request a refund for digital games”. 

This laid out a very straightforward refund process, and within moments I’d requested a refund for my two incorrect purchases. My requests were quickly approved, and the money was shortly returned to my bank account. 

The process took only a matter of minutes and didn’t even require me to speak to a customer service representative and spin them a sob story. Speaking of which…

PlayStation not so much 

PS5 console and controller

(Image credit: Future)

The reason I was so pleasantly surprised with the ease of obtaining a refund on the Xbox Store is because I had the exact opposite experience when an incorrect purchase was made on my PlayStation Network account several years back. 

You’ll be pleased to know in this case, the mistake was not mine. But rather my technology-literate mother who managed to accidentally spend £60 (about $75) on my PS4 when trying to use the console to watch Netflix. I still don't know how. 

After discovering the mistake — I initially thought my account had been compromised — I looked into getting a refund, and my only option was to directly contact Sony support. This involved a lengthy wait on hold, before speaking to a customer service rep who informed me that technically Sony was under no obligation to offer me any sort of refund, but as a “gesture of goodwill” they would refund me, but only in the form of PlayStation Store credit.   

With no other options, I took this offer and used the credit to stack an extra year on my PlayStation Plus subscription. While I was glad I did get some form of solution the process was lengthy, and the final resolution only partially solved my issue. 

PS5 DualSense in front of PlayStation Plus logo

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As noted, this was several years ago, during the PS4 generation so the process may have changed since, but from my research, it appears to be broadly the same. Plus, the PlayStation support page for requesting a refund still directs you to “contact us” rather than offering a convenient online form as you’ll find on the Xbox Store. 

Furthermore, PlayStation’s key sticking point appears to be that once you’ve started the download process for a digital game it’s no longer eligible for a refund. However, Xbox notes that it will consider refunds so long as “you haven’t accumulated a significant amount of play time” which appears to be more in line with PC gaming launcher Steam, which offers the gold standard of refund policies. 

This simple feature really matters 

On the surface, getting this in the weeds about each platform holder's refund policy might seem arbitrary. After all, in most cases, when making a digital purchase, you don’t need to request a refund, so the ease of obtaining a refund is a non-factor. 

However, I’d argue, that Xbox’s convenient refund process and consumer-friendly policy is a small win that can make a big difference. The simple act of granting my request without any fuss has engendered a lot of goodwill towards Xbox in my books, and it was a very refreshing change of pace compared to my previous experience with PlayStation. 

After getting my refund, I returned to the Xbox Store and bought both Fallout games on console this time. I ended up having to spend a little extra (on Xbox you have to purchase the DLCs individually), but I didn’t mind. Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are worth it. 

More from Tom's Guide

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • fatpunkslim
    there are so many things better on Xbox: quick resume, backward compatibility, gamepass (like diablo 4, dead island2, etc... and soon all the call of duty and in particular the next black ops 3 which are coming), play anywhere (console , pc, cloud, mobile), you buy your game once and you can play it everywhere, no need to buy your game again, and when you buy a game, you are sure that you will be able to play it in several years on the next consoles or mixed on PC (it's less guaranteed on PlayStation), full of exclusive first party games in 2024-2025 (indiana jones, hellblade 2, avowed, towerborne, ara, age of mithology, blade, gears 6, etc...) and nothing first party on PlayStation, Xbox games are a little cheaper, Xbox games have better tracking over time with more free content and more free updates, unlike a tendency at playstation to charge for everything, and ultimately an approach for the player and not for the payers.

    It looks like a fanboy message but it's true, I have both consoles, and apart from a few rare PlayStation exclusives, I play much more often on Xbox Series X because of the gamepass, first party Xbox games like Forza Horizon , halo, soon hellblade 2 in may, then indiana jones, then all call of duty, etc... because of the user-friendliness of the interface.

    In the next generation, I won't get a PlayStation again, I'm fed up with their policy, you always have to buy everything again, there's no follow-up, the PS VR2 abandoned with no games on it, and then with all these closures of studios and this shift they have taken towards service games smells bad for the future.
  • pyronaut
    As an owner of both consoles this generation (last gen just had a PS4), I can concur than Microsoft's policies are a lot more player friendly.
    Because Sony is so far ahead in sales, it doesn't seem as willing to make its policies more friendly and people just put up with it.