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 activated and installed the game, it is a non-refundable game in 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.
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.
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.
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 it, 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.
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.
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 application. If you have added the gift to your Steam Inventory you will be able to send the gift by doing the following:
1. Login to www.steamcommunity.com or click on Community in the Steam client
2. Click on Inventory under the Actions portion on the right hand side of your Community page
3. Locate the gift you purchased and added to your inventory (in the case below it is Defense Grid: The Awakening)
4. Click on "Send Gift..."
5. 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.
6. Click on Next
7. Fill out the message box and click on Send
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:
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:
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:
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 game Library..." as seen below:
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:
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:
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.
Do not allow someone else to use your Steam account to make a gift purchase.
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:
Not necessarily. Steam games are tied to the region's release schedule. If another user has a later release date for their country, they will not be able to play their received gift until that time.
Yes, you can gift game packs the same way you would gift an individual game. Four packs of games cannot be gifted.
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.
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.
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.
You can give as many gifts as you'd like at one time, but only to one friend per transaction.
You can not gift games that were previously purchased on your Steam account to friends.
Please see this guide.
Steam Gift Purchases can not 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.
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.
You can view your gift history by going to your Steam Inventory > Click on Pending Gifts > View Gift History: