I am planning to buy a physical copy of tf2 but I already have TF2 on Steam. Is there any way to transfer it to the physical one?
Assuming your copy of TF2 in your library is currently 'Free-to-play', and you're simply wanting to upgrade it to a Premium account, I would recommend against purchasing a physical copy of the game (for the purposes of activating TF2). According to the Team Fortress 2 FAQ:
Q. How do I convert my free account to a premium account?
Make any purchase of any amount in the in-game Mann Co. store.
Q. Will I need a credit card to play?
No. However, to make purchases from the in-game Mann Co. Store you will need to use one of our accepted payment methods.
Q. What is the Mann Co. Store?
The finest virtual item store in the world, easily accessible from within the TF2 game client.
Whilst the option above is the easiest & most common way to get a Premium account so long as you have a Credit/Debit card, there are other ways to do so which don't require a card (and are not listed on the FAQ):
- A friend can gift you an Upgrade to Premium Gift item, which you then activate from within your TF2 Backpack to become premium.
- In some countries you can purchase a 'Steam Wallet' recharge card at a local retail store, and use this money to then purchase an item on the Mann Co. store.
Otherwise, if you're after the 'Proof of Purchase' hat, then yes, you can either activate a retail copy of the game or a gifted version of the game (note that a gifted copy of the game on Steam is different from the 'Upgrade to Premium' TF2 item):
This hat is given to players who purchased Team Fortress 2 before the Über Update on June 23, 2011, those who receive a gift of the game, and those who activate a retail copy of the game, such as purchasing the Orange Box.