Valve has announced some major changes to the way that games bought via Steam can be gifted to other users. The element of the online storefront has long been problematic for the company, as many unofficial resellers used the system to facilitate their sales, but it seems that the time has come for a crackdown.
Steam users will no longer be able to send gifts to their recipients email address, or have them forwarded to an inventory. Instead, games will be transferred directly from the gift giver to the library of the recipient, according to a post on the Steam Blog.
This should cut down on frustration in the event that the recipient already owns the game that they’re being given. Previously, this would result in the giver having the game added to their inventory, but going forward they will simply get a refund, should the recipient decline the gift.
Valve is also giving users more control over when their recipient gets their gift. If you’re looking to send a surprise on a birthday or another special occasion, you can schedule its delivery months in advance and ensure that it arrives on time when the day comes.
Gifting between regions is also set to become more reliable, as games sent via the new system will be guaranteed to work on their recipients account, which wasn’t always the case when they were sent via email or directly to their inventory. However, if there’s a sizeable price difference between those two reasons, it won’t be possible to send the gift — the purchase will be blocked at checkout.
These new policies are now in effect, which will please certain users and frustrate many resellers. It’s been confirmed that pre-existing gifts already present in a user’s inventory or previously distributed via email will not be affected by the change.