Valve has made a number of changes to its Steam Gifting system, which may help in the crack down on key resellers.
The firm's new system only allows for a direct exchange from a gift buyer to a receiver. Consumers can still gift items from one region to another, but if there is a significant price difference between regions then gifting will not be available. Customers on the retailer's forum report that Valve has set an acceptable price difference of 10%, although this hasn't been stated directly by the company.
Steam users can no-longer do 'Gift to Email' or 'Gift to Inventory' (which allowed customers to buy games that they could then pass on at a later date).
This is a potential blow to key resellers and marketplaces such as G2A. It means consumers will be unable to buy games from countries where the prices are cheaper and then sell the code on to higher-priced territories - because there is no-longer an option to receive a code. This code reselling is controversial and widely disliked by developers, as we saw during the recent Reboot conference.
Unfortunately, Steam's community is not so happy with the changes. The comments thread under the update - which now has over 1,600 comments - is full of disappointed gamers.
One user wrote: "This is ridiculous. While I probably understand why they did this (Unauthorized gift sellers from other regions? Price glitches?), this heavily impacts the Steam User experience. Unplanningly buying a game on sale for a future event, as example a birthday, is not possible anymore, now you have to plan sending something for a future event."
Another said: "This is nonsense in my opinion. Steam has real problems, but taking away features that people use and enjoy like storing games to gift later is just silly and sad. I bought 5 copies of Titan Quest Gold when it was $5 and gifted them to random friends on my Friend's list over time as surprises, it's always a really cool feeling to hook someone up with something they wouldn't have bought themselves, but will usually try it out as a gift."
However, there were some commentators that understood Valve's position. One customer wrote: "Too many people buy games with stolen credit cards and sell them on for quick cash on dubious sites. this was bound to happen sooner or later."
While a user with the name Shizalk wrote: "I don't get why you guys are so surprised about this change. It's been being abused for so long, so Ateam, developers, companies are losing money because of it."