Valve makes further changes to the gift function on Steam. From now on, games, which are purchased on Steam as a gift, must already be given away at the time of purchase. This eliminates the possibility to store the titles in the user account’s inventory before giving them away. Advantages of this are mainly Valve.
This change is supposed to make it easier for users to share games with their friends , Valve writes . For this reason, gifts must be sent from the buyer to a recipient already at the time of purchase. A gifting by e-mail or the storage of gifts in the inventory is no longer foreseen in this system.
New system is to offer advantages
According to Valve, the new system offers three advantages: it is accompanied by a scheduling of gifts. In this way gifts can be purchased ” months in advance “, but can only be delivered at a desired date. The purchase amount of a gift which the recipient rejects is automatically reimbursed.
In addition, it is ensured that ” gifts always work on the recipient’s account ” because any regional restrictions would be displayed before the purchase, when the recipient account was specified. Indeed, two years ago, Valve stopped the gift of games from regions with particularly weak currencies. The system now appears to have been expanded and dynamized: gifting is now no longer possible if there is a ” too great price difference between the countries “.
This makes it clear what Valve is aiming at: the company is not so much about increasing user-friendliness, but about restricting resellers who have always been a thorn in the eyes of their publishers. It is hoped that the trade in gifts that resellers in low-cost regions will acquire will be made more difficult by their inventories on Steam and sent to the accounts of their buyers. These games are also partly bought during the regular discount campaigns.
However, this is not the only way for traders: Those who have already secured games to give as gifts in a sales campaign can no longer do so. On the contrary, a possibly favorable purchase is lost when the recipient rejects his gift. The automatic reimbursement of the purchase amount, which could also have been implemented via Steam’s existing Refund system, seems to be advantageous, but only for users who purchase new games in higher price regions – an acquisition model that Valve wants to promote.
As the only truly universally beneficial change is therefore the scheduling. Here, too, the question arises why such a function could not be implemented in the current system and made such restrictions of free trade necessary.