Valve announced yesterday that it would be making changes to Steam Gifting. So far, said changes have been met with extremely poor reception.
Valve’s new system is being touted as a change that will make gifting “easier” and “more straightforward.” When purchased, gifts will now be sent directly to the friend that you are gifting them to. Declined gifts will automatically be refunded to the person their senders. Additionally, if there is “a large difference in pricing” between the sender’s country and the receiver’s country, Steam will tell you that you can’t send them said gift before you purchase it. You can even schedule gifts to be delivered months in advance. However, in exchange for these new features, Steam is discontinuing the “Gift to E-mail” and “Gift to Inventory” gifting options, exempting gifts that were already purchased in this manner.
Users are, understandably, not happy. I’ve seen some voice concerns about situations such as buying several copies of a game to play with friends, but not knowing which friends will want to play with you at that point in time. In this situation, sending the gifts to your inventory until you find out who you’re going to send the gifts to is beneficial, especially if you’re buying the game during a launch sale. As was inevitable, another user has already started a Change.org petition.
It remains to be seen how Valve will respond to the criticism. I imagine that, as usual, they will opt to do nothing and simply let the dust settle. Many believe that this is a blatant attempt to stifle “grey markets” like G2A, which largely make money by buying games from regional storefronts where the price is lower and reselling them for a higher price that is still lower than that of North America and Europe. If this is indeed the case, there’s no chance that they will roll back these changes.
You can find the full announcement here.