Steam Gifting blocked across countries with big price differences in overhaul by Valve | PCGamesN

Steam Gifting blocked across countries with big price differences in overhaul by Valve

Steam's operators, Valve, have announced a few changes to their platform's game gifting system. Broadly, gift-giving will become a direct interaction between two parties, rather than one based on digital tokens that can sit in inventories. Crucially, Valve will block exchanges across territories with big price differences.

No need to worry about regional price-gouging with the best free games on PC.

Valve say "Steam Gifting will now be a system of direct exchange from gift buyer to gift receiver, and we will be retiring the Gift to Email and Gift to Inventory options."

Specific changes include:

  • Gift scheduling: you can buy a gift months in advance and have it delivered to a friend on time.
  • Gift recipients can click ‘decline’ on a gift and the purchase will be refunded directly to the giver, rather than the game being returned to their inventory and the charges remaining on their bill.
  • You’ll no longer be able to gift games to people living in countries where there is a large difference in the game’s price. This means that gifts sent through the new system will always work on the recipient’s account: "no more worrying if a Gift to Email or Gift to Inventory is going to work," say Valve.

Valve claim their goal is to remove "friction" from the process, making it easier to share your favourite games with friends, but it hasn't been received that way in the comments. Most are overwhelmingly negative, highlighting the ways in which the changes could be said to be anti-consumer. Seesthroughwalls says:

"I really dislike the removal of the options to store games for later and send games through email. The added features are quite cool, but if the cost of their addition is removing my gift inventory, then I cannot accept them."

You can see what others have to say beneath the announcement here. Some have assumed that the changes are an attempt to frustrate game key markets, such as G2A. However, the announcement doesn't mention any change to the system under which game keys issued by developers can be used to activate products on Steam, which is the core of G2A's business.

Valve say the changes "are now available".

It’s been a busy week for Steam. The other day Valve announced a new stats page for Steam support, which revealed the demand for support requests and - fortuitously - how Valve's performance in that area has improved since February.

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nu1mlock avatarSF_Uberfish avatarScarborough1994 avatarLone Wolfe (Hoover1979) avatar
nu1mlock Avatar
12 Months ago

This is a move to counter sellers on sites like G2A. Many games sold are Steam gifts and you're given the redeem link without the e-mail address. This will now not work.

Gift scheduling has been available for quite some time though, and is nothing new.

SF_Uberfish Avatar
12 Months ago

Wrong... When you buy from G2A they send you a CD key. Exactly like if you bought a humble bundle, or a game from the store/approved third party. This system is not being retired.

This is to stop the annoying situation where you send your friend a game only to find they can't redeem it at all because of country differences (I have this issue when gifting to my friends back home as I live and work in another cheaper region).

Getting a refund in this situation is complicated and annoying and can result in a gift failing to be received on time.

nu1mlock Avatar
12 Months ago

I'm well aware of CD keys. You might not be aware of the gifts that are being sold on G2A and similar site though.

Previously (before this change), when you bought a gift and chose to send it through e-mail, that e-mail contained a link. Clicking that link redeemed the gift.

Anyone can click the link though, so what happens on some games you can purchase from G2A and similar is that you get sent that link. Copying it into a browser redeems it on your Steam account that you're logged into.

Those are clearly marked on G2A as "Steam Gift" instead of "Digital key" in the list of available sellers.

This is not possible anymore for new purchases.

Scarborough1994 Avatar
12 Months ago

I Brought a game on G2A and gifted it to a friend by giving them a CD Key, my initial thought was to gift it on steam but since that wasn't allowed G2A saved me £20, so steam you kinda fucked up lol.

and sharing games?, you mean like where the owner can't play the game at the same time as the other person without them being kicked off in 5 minutes?.

Lone Wolfe (Hoover1979) Avatar
10 Months ago

Face it, this is to stop Australians having gifts sent to them from U.S. friends that are Cheaper than in Australia, and to stop Aussies getting firends outside Australia to gift them banned games, or uncut versions of games heavily censored in Australia, as well as to stop Russians buying cheap games and selling them to the U.S. for a profit, while the U.S. buyer gets an epic discount.

It is NOT to "Streamline the System" and NOT to "Make Things Easier" for anyone but Valve, and the greedy publishers that use Steam as their distribution platform.