For better or for worse.
Valve has completely altered the way Steam games can be sent from one person to another by removing the gift-to-inventory and gift-to-email functions altogether.
‘The gifting process has had a bunch of friction in it for a while, and we want to make it easier for you to share the games you love with friends’, the announcement on the Steam blog states. ‘Steam Gifting will now be a system of direct exchange from gift buyer to gift receiver’.
Users will also now be able to schedule games to be gifted in advance, to have it delivered to the recipient at a later date — something that would come in handy for pre-orders. Gifts that are declined by the recipient, as opposed to returning to the sender’s inventory, will now be refunded directly to the sender.
One small thing, though: you won’t be able to gift a game to a friend in another country if there is a ‘large difference in pricing’ between the two regions (emphasis because we don’t know what Valve deems to be a ‘large difference’ yet). This is most likely there so that users can’t start their own little — or big — black market.
The changes have been put in place and are already in effect. Gifts that are currently stored in people’s inventories will not be impacted.
This will obviously make trade on SteamGifts, G2A, and other websites of the like a lot more difficult, and will completely abolish purchasing games on sale and storing them in your inventory for a later date without implementing a replacement.