Subscribers to All Points Bulletin (APB), the MMOG developed by Realtime Worlds, have been told not to expect a refund by the collapsed firm's administrators.
The game was taken offline last week after administrator Begbies Traynor announced it could not find a buyer to save it, with players given a few days to "say goodbye" before the servers were turned off.
Players who bought the game via the download-only service Steam presumed they had lost their investment when owner Valve Software posted a message on its website saying: "As with most software products, we do not offer refunds or exchanges for purchases made online as outlined in the software license."
However, some buyers of the game, posting on the Steam forums, claim that publisher Electronic Arts has offered them a free game from its library as a goodwill gesture.
In addition, Gamasutra commenters who bought the game from the digital-only, Electronic Arts-owned EA Store have, in some cases, received a full refund.
Owners of physical copies of the game are not so lucky. Joint administrator Paul Dounis said players who are looking for refunds must return to where they bought the game. "Customers should revert to the entity from which they bought the game in respect of their entitlement to any refund," he said in a statement.
APB was a subscription-based service and any players who made longer-term one-off payments or any in-game purchases have lost their investment, in addition to the initial cost of the game.
Realtime Worlds reportedly spent tens of million of dollars developing the game, which was received poorly by critics upon release, scoring just a 53 average on Metacritic alongside complaints that it was buggy and felt unfinished. Around 180 people lost their jobs when the developer collapsed.