Valve has made drastic changes regarding the gifting policies on the most popular distribution platform, Steam.
Instead of being put in the user’s inventory, Steam games that were acquired as gifts will be activated directly on the account. When a user declines a gifted game, the sender can also receive immediate refunds. As a consequence of these changes, features like Gift to Email and Gift to Inventory will be phased out immediately, though pre-existing games on the Inventories will still be intact. Moreover, users can schedule the delivery time for gifted games on occasions such as birthdays or Christmas. These changes have been applied to Steam right after Valve’s announcement on 4th May.
This sudden move from Valve can be considered as a solution to battle game trading markets on Steam, as well as a way to prevent game exchanges from different price regions. In order to get a game on Steam for a cheap price, some users may choose the method based on Gift to Email and Gift to Inventory mechanisms to buy it in a region that has significantly lower prices (Russia, CIS, Eastern Europe, Asia, etc.). Some people even believed that method to be the basis of game trading marketplaces, such as G2A and Kinguin. Currently, the new changes from Valve are receiving mixed receptions from the gaming community with criticisms focusing on how gamers can’t freely decide their choice of gifting games. Others proclaimed that this measure won’t be very effective due to the broader usage of game keys.