"In recent years, there's been a tendency for retail releases to list both minimum and recommended system requirements. Has this helped inform the potential buyer a lot more than before? I don't think so. There's so much ambiguity and inconsistency in how these are calculated that it's very difficult to know how to interpret them. One company even adds a third category - optimal system requirements - to make matters even more muddled and confusing. Sometimes, I cynically feel that generic statements like, "Requires a really fast machine," or "Even your grandma's old clunker could run it," would be more helpful than what we have now.
The consequences of misleading system requirements on unsuspecting consumers are devastating. Most computer software stores don't let you return your games for a full refund, even if you have your receipt and just bought the title a few days ago. Arguing that the offering won't run on your machine due to inaccurate minimum system requirements on the box gets you nowhere; indeed, from direct observation, I can tell you the reaction is often laughter and even mockery. Humiliated and depressed, you slink out of the store with another useless CD coaster in your possession."
News source: Full article @ The Adrenaline Vault