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What is a Steam Gift?

When you purchase a game on Steam, we offer the option to “gift” the item to anyone you choose, whether or not the recipient is a current Steam user. The recipient will receive the gift as an attractive e-mail card with a personal message from you and instructions to redeem the game.

A Steam gift purchase is a one-time transfer—after the recipient has redeemed and installed the gift, it is now a part of his or her Steam games collection. Also note that you may only gift new purchases—you may not transfer games you already own. That’d be like wrapping up and presenting the toaster you’ve used every morning for the past year.


How can I purchase Steam Gifts for a different Steam user?

To give a gift to a friend or family member, locate the game you would like to gift on the Steam Storefront and then click the "Add to cart" button. Upon checking out, select the "Purchase as a gift" option to purchase the items in your cart for a friend.


Selecting your gift recipient

You can send your gift to an e-mail address, you can select the recipient from one of your Friends in the Steam Community, or you can place the game in your Steam Inventory and send it via Steam Trading. If you are sending your gift to an e-mail address, please verify that you have typed the e-mail address in correctly. If the gift is not a surprise, we recommend verifying the address with the person you are gifting the game to in order to ensure that they receive the gift promptly.

Gift method


How can I deliver the gift at a later date?

If you are interested in purchasing a subscription for someone as a gift but do not want it delivered until a later date, please purchase the game as a gift and add it to your Steam Inventory to send it later. As long as you do not redeem the gift to your library, you will have a gift for this subscription on your account that can be resent at anytime.


Including a Special Message with your gift

You may take a few moments to add a special message to the gift recipient. When they receive your gift, your special message will be displayed for them in Steam and they will also receive your gift message via e-mail.

Gift Example


Payment Methods

Steam currently accepts the following payment methods. Once your purchase is complete, please print your receipt for your records and store the hard copy in a safe place. You will also receive an e-mail receipt verifying your purchase.


What happens after I purchase a gift?

Your friend will receive an e-mail message, including your personalized gift message, notifying them that they have received a gift. If you have selected to send your gift through Steam, your friend will also receive a gift message in the Steam client. If you have added the gift to your Steam Inventory you will be able to send the gift by doing the following:

Gift inventory

  • Click on "Send Gift..."
  • Choose whether or not you wish to send the gift via e-mail or directly through Steam. If sending by e-mail make sure you type the e-mail address correctly to ensure delivery.

  • Click on 'Next'.
  • Fill out the message box that will be delivered with your gift and click on 'Send' to send the gift.


How will I know whether my friend has received their gift?

To check the status of your gift purchase, install Steam and login to your account.  Within Steam, click on "Games" in the main menu, then select "Manage gifts and guest passes...", and click the "Pending Gifts" tab on the right side of the window. Once your friend has redeemed their gift in Steam, the gift will move from "Sent Gifts" to your "Gift History" and the gift will be removed from your Steam Gift Inventory.

Additionally, you will receive the following notification in your Steam Gift Inventory after the gift has been sent letting you know your gift is being tracked:

Gift Status


How do activate a Steam gift that I received?

If you do not already have Steam, download and install Steam here. Once you have Steam installed, you will be prompted to create an account or login to an existing Steam account. If you do not have an account, please create one.

1. You will receive an e-mail containing a link that will open Steam to redeem your gift or in the Steam client you will receive a notification at the top right corner that says you have a new gift as seen below:

New gift notification

2. Clicking on "1 new gift" will take you to the following screen where you must click either Accept Gift or Decline Gift. Once you click Accept Gift you will have the option to add the game directly to your Library or to your Steam Inventory:

Gift received

If you click on Decline Gift the gift will be returned to the original sender so they can re-send it to another user on Steam.

If you do not see your gift in your Steam Inventory please ask the gifter to resend the gift to you. Please confirm your Steam account or email address with them. They will be able to resend the gift to you from their Steam Inventory as described above.

If you receive a game that you already own then you will only be able to add the game to your Steam Inventory and send it to another user on Steam.

3. If you add the game to your Library will be listed in your Library > Games list in Steam, highlighting the game and clicking the "Install" will download the game to your computer.

If you add the game to your Steam Inventory and you wish to add it to your Library you will need to open your Steam Inventory, select the gift and click on "Add to my library..." as seen below:

Gift inventory

If the game is already in your Library you will receive a notification that it is and you will not be able to add it.

If the game is not in your Library you will receive a pop-up notification confirming your actions, and if you have any duplicate games in a package you will be notified that you will not receive extra copies as seen below:

Extra copies

If you attempt to add a game to your Library that requires additional games that you don't own you will receive an error message as well:

No base game

What if my gift has already been redeemed?

Please ask your friend to log in to their Steam account and navigate to the "Games" menu and select "Manage Gifts & Guest Passes".

From their Steam Inventory he/she should see the gift. Have your friend select it and click on "Re-send gift". Make sure he/she tries either sending it to a different e-mail address if your first one did not work or directly through Steam.

Once your friend re-sends the gift you should see a notification at the top of your Steam client and via e-mail that you have received a new gift.


Gifting Questions


Do gifts expire if they are not redeemed in a certain amount of time?

Gifts will not expire once they have been issued. Once the gift purchase has been activated, the game is permanently subscribed to the Steam account that it was redeemed on.

If you accept the gift and add it to your Steam Inventory it will be in your inventory indefinitely until you either un-pack the gift or send it to another user.


How can I tell someone else how to give me a gift on Steam?

To give a gift on Steam, simply create a Steam account online and then purchase your gift from the Steam store. For more information about purchasing games on Steam, please see this guide.

Do not allow someone else to use your Steam account to make a gift purchase.


What will my friends see if I send them a Steam gift?

If your friend does not currently have a Steam account, your invitation will be sent to his or her email address with information on installing Steam and accepting your gift. If you've chosen to send your gift directly to your friend's Steam account, your friend will receive an email and the user will receive a notification at the top of their client that they have received a new gift:


Can I send gifts to Steam users in other regions?

Territory restrictions are noted on the Steam Store page.

Steam Support cannot make changes to territory or language restrictions.


Can I gift game packs?

Yes, you can gift game packs the same way you would gift an individual game. Four packs of games cannot be gifted.


How can I tell if my friend already owns the game(s) I would like to gift?

If your friends are members of your Steam Friends list, you can learn whether they already own the game you'd like to give. Your Steam Friends who already own this game will automatically be filtered out of the potential list of recipients. You can also visit your friend's Steam Community profile and click the link to "View all games" to view your Friend's list of owned games on Steam before purchasing them a gift.


I sent a Steam gift to a friend, but that person never received it. What now?

You can resend gifts in case your friend's email gift message was lost. If you are resending to a new (or corrected) email address you should be able to resend immediately. If you are attempting to resend it to the same email address the Steam system requires that you wait 24 hours to prevent the spamming of users. When you resend a gift the previously generated email will become invalid and the “accept” link within it will no longer work. Your friend must use the latest version of the email when accepting the gift.

If the recipient does not see the email, their email provider may be blocking our email. Please try having them use an email address from another provider.

Alternatively, sending it directly to their Steam account is another option.


I sent a Steam gift to a friend's email address, but that person already owns this game. Can I give this gift to someone else?

Yes, provided your friend has not already redeemed your gift using a different Steam account. To give your gift to a different friend, install Steam if you haven't already done so. After logging into your account, click on the "Games" menu and select "Manage gifts and guest passes". From your Steam Inventory locate the gift that has not been redeemed and click on Re-send gift.


Can I give multiple gifts at the same time?

You can give as many gifts as you'd like at one time, but only to one friend per transaction.


Can I gift games I no longer play to my friends?

You cannot gift games that were previously purchased on your Steam account to friends.


Why was my gift revoked?

Please see this guide.


May I sell gift subscriptions?

Steam Gift Purchases cannot be sold. Attempting to sell a gift subscription is a violation of the Steam Subscriber Agreement and may result in your account being permanently disabled. You can trade gifts using our new Steam Trading system and can read more about that here.


How do I share the Four Pack for [L4D, L4D2, Borderlands] with three friends?

To do this, simply purchase the Four Pack on Steam, and then refer to this guide to share your Extra Copies using the Steam client.


How do I view my gift history?

You can view your gift history by going to your Steam Inventory > Click on Pending Gifts > View Gift History:

Gift history

Why do I have to wait 30 days to trade my gift?

Steam restricts all gifts from being used in a Steam trade for 30 days after their original purchase date. However, you can still use the ‘Send A Gift’ feature to send this game to a friend at any time.

Can I refund my gift?

A refund may be issued for any gift that was purchased within fourteen days and has been played less than two hours by the gift recipient. More information on how to refund gifts can be found here.

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