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I have a Steam product key for Just Cause 2 I got for free with the purchase of my video card. However, I already have a copy of this game attached to my Steam account. What will happen if I try to activate this other key on my account? Will Steam give me a copy of Just Cause 2 to gift to somebody else? Will it simply refuse to add it? Or will it eat the key rendering it worthless?

I don't want to try this only to have the latter happen, but it would be useful to be able to add it and gift it to somebody else.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I agree with corroded that you should just give them the key, but to answer your question:

If you purchase a copy of a game you already own, you may or may not receive a giftable copy to give to someone else. According to Valve, the only cases where you get a giftable copy are:

  1. Users who own Left 4 Dead and then go on to purchase "Left 4 Dead + Left 4 Dead 2 Bundle" will receive an extra copy of "Left 4 Dead"

  2. Users who own Half-Life 2 and go on to purchase “The Orange Box” or the "Valve Complete Pack" will receive an extra copy of “Half-Life 2”.

  3. Users who own Half-Life 2: Episode One and then go on to purchase the "Half-Life 2: Episode Pack”, “Valve Complete Pack” or “The Orange Box” will receive an extra copy of “Half-Life 2: Episode One”.

  4. Users who own Dawn of War II and then go on to purchase "Dawn of War II Gold Edition" will receive an extra copy of "Dawn of War II"

  5. Users who purchase the available four packs for specific Steam titles will receive three extra copies of that title to gift to friends.

  6. Extra copies may apply as a part of some limited time promotions. In that case, information on what will be included with your purchase will be listed on the storefront's transaction page.

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I'll warn you right now, it doesn't work with all games. I should own the game Overlord twice, as I picked up one copy when Overlord was on sale and one when the entire series was on sale (for cheaper than I could buy Raising Hell and Overlord 2 separately). I never got a giftable copy of it. – user2974 Aug 18 '10 at 16:51
@powerlord: Dang, that's good to know. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Aug 18 '10 at 17:06
Powerlord: this is really an answer, not a comment. That's exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks! – thekidder Aug 19 '10 at 4:12
@thekidder: Valve now has an official FAQ on this subject. See my edited answer. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Oct 12 '11 at 7:49

if you have the key then why don't you just give it to someone else instead of using steam to send it? Anyway, Steam games that you own will not need to be activated again so just give the key to a friend of yours.

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It really depends on the game. Even for Valve's own games, only some allow giftable copies: Half-Life 2, Hale-Life 2: Episode 1, Left 4 Dead, and Left 4 Dead 2.

For non-Valve examples: I should own the game Overlord twice, as I picked up one copy when Overlord was on sale and one when the entire series was on sale (for cheaper than I could buy Raising Hell and Overlord 2 separately).

I never got a giftable copy of it.

Conversely, I got a giftable copy of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition when I bought Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition as the second game's preorder bonus.

You're better off just giving them the key, like corroded suggests and avoiding the ambiguity.

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This was really more of a question born out of curiosity: "Can all steam games be activated twice and given/received as giftable copies?" It's good to know that they can't. Thanks! – thekidder Aug 20 '10 at 21:53

If you enter a steam key of a different copy of the same game you already own, your steam key won't be used. It will say that you already own the game.

The exception is when the game is included with others game in a bundle, in this case the key would be lost. Although I'm not 100%, I think that a free extra copy of Torchlight was given to me after activating a bundle in which the same game was included. There could be exceptions to the same exception. What a redundancy!

How do I know? Thanks to the Humble Bundle.

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This should be right according to this forum: – Victor Sergienko May 6 at 22:14

I just purchased Sniper Trilogy.

I already own Sniper Ghost warrior.

No giftable copy as I bought the bundle off-site.

Ghost warrior DID get an update though... (Gold edition?)

Got all the rest with all DLC's

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