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On May 3rd, Steam changed its gift system.

Prior to this change, I used to purchase several gifts during sales and put them in my inventory. I would send them to friends later, on birthdays or other holidays. Now, there seem to be two options:

  • Send the gift to a friend instantly. I don't want to do this, because I'm purchasing the gift intending to send it at a later time.
  • Schedule the gift for delivery. I'd rather not do this either, since I don't know when I want to deliver the gift. I want to be able to click a button at some point in the future to deliver it, not have it scheduled.

I was thinking that I could achieve what I want by scheduling the gift for delivery at some point in the very, very far future, like in a year or two. Then when I want the gift delivered, just go and reschedule it to the current date.

On the Steam forums there has been quite a bit of discussion about this. In this thread, one user reports having a "Manage gift" button that allows them to reschedule a gift. However, another user reports NOT having such a button.

side-by-side screenshot

Could someone who has a gift scheduled for delivery answer this once and for all? Is there a "Manage gift" button? When you click it, does Steam allow you to reschedule the gift?

  • Similar question here: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/311593/… If you can't reschedule the gift directly, you can cancel it and schedule it again. – user168635 Nov 3 '17 at 7:48
  • @Denelio Unfortunately, I believe the answer on that question does not describe the new system because it says "The gift is back in your inventory and wont be gifted." Under the new system, it isn't possible to purchase gifts to your inventory, so I doubt you could just schedule a gift, cancel it, and then have the gift in your inventory. That would entirely circumvent the "no gifts to inventory" restriction. – gfrung4 Nov 3 '17 at 13:12
  • @Denelio I am aware that you can issue a "refund request" and it will be immediately granted for gifts that haven't been delivered. In this way, a gift can be cancelled and purchased again, as you describe. However, instead of going to your inventory to be gifted again, the gift must actually be purchased again. This is a key difference, because the whole point is to purchase the gift when it is on sale, and gift it when it is not. Following that process, I would have to buy it again at full price. Of course, it's possible this is exactly what Steam wants with their new system... – gfrung4 Nov 3 '17 at 13:14
  • Oh, I see the differences. Will test it as soon as I'm at home. I think the point of valves new system is to prevent hobby-resellers from selling steam gifts they bought on sale. – user168635 Nov 3 '17 at 13:53
  • @Denelio I just tried it and made a full report. See my answer below! The information from that other post is indeed outdated. You can never return a gift to your inventory. You can reschedule, deliver now, or cancel. Note that some purchases come with gifts included (like 4-packs). It's likely that these copies, which do go to your inventory, still work like the old gifts. – gfrung4 Nov 3 '17 at 14:15
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I wasn't feeling too confident with what I had heard so far. Since the gifting system has changed so recently, a lot of the information floating around is outdated, and those spreading the information don't even realize it.

There are numerous games on Steam for $0.49 that I could use to test this. Worst case I lose a few cents. So I tried it out for myself. The information and screenshots below are from the Steam client as of November 3rd, 2017.


Gifts can be rescheduled.

After purchasing a scheduled gift, you can find it listed in the Manage Gifts and Guest Passes screen. Interestingly, gifts also appear in your Steam inventory, as they did before. Even though gifts can no longer be purchased to inventory, scheduled gifts go to your inventory.

In the Steam client, select the "Games" menu and then "Manage Gifts and Guest Passes"

Selecting a gift does give the option to Manage gift... The person I mentioned in my question that did NOT have this button was likely experiencing a glitch.

The "Manage gift..." button appears on a scheduled gift.

Clicking Manage gift... not only gives you the option to reschedule the gift, but also to just deliver it now, which is the exact option I was looking for.

After clicking on "Manage gift...", there are options to reschedule the gift, send it now, or cancel and get a refund.

So what are the limitations of this new system?

  1. Although you can reschedule the gift, you cannot change the recipient. The only way to do this is to refund and repurchase the gift, at the current full price. This prevents you from stocking up on sale prices for friends you don't even have yet (including selling to strangers on the Internet through unofficial means). You have to know who you want to send the gift to at purchase time.
  2. The gift has to have a scheduled delivery date. As mentioned in the question, I intend to purchase gifts and schedule them for delivery far in the future so that I can choose the "Send immediately" option when I actually want to send the gift. There is a risk here that I will forget about the gift, and then it will be automatically sent at the arbitrary date and time I chose when I purchased it. Unfortunately, there is no option to purchase a gift with no scheduled delivery date.

Also, the delivery date cannot be that far in the future.

Originally I selected December 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM as the delivery date, since that was the latest I could select. However, later in the process I got this cryptic error.

There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction.  Please wait a minute and try again or contact support for assistance.

Changing the delivery date to 2017 caused the error to go away, so there must be some limit on the time (maybe one year). I could have tried various times until I found exactly when the error appeared, but didn't do so.

It might be possible to keep a gift indefinitely by rescheduling it farther into the future every few months, however it is also possible that you can only schedule a gift for delivery one year from when it was purchased, in which case the system is slightly more limiting. If I don't find a time to give the gift within that year, my only option would be to refund it before it's too late.

  • If you schedule for a date, does the reciever recieve email before that scheduled date? – user158860 Nov 27 '17 at 0:34
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    @FarazAhmad No. The system can safely be used for surprise scheduled gifts. The recipient will only be notified when the gift is delivered. – gfrung4 Nov 27 '17 at 15:14
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Go to your inventory. Your gifts will be there. You can click on that gift and there is an option to edit the delivery date via manage gift if you made a mistake or want to change it.

I did the same thing with my brother gift. I found out I put in the wrong date. So I went back and edit them.

  • Did your brother receive email when you scheduled it or he will only recieve the email on the specified date? – user158860 Nov 27 '17 at 0:36
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    I will have to ask but he did indeed got them. – Vyndicu Nov 27 '17 at 4:53
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    He did get an e-mail about it. – Vyndicu Nov 27 '17 at 5:16
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    See my comment below. The recipient will NOT receive an e-mail until the gift is delivered. When @Vyndicu writes "He did get an e-mail about it." he must mean after the gift was delivered, not scheduled. – gfrung4 Nov 27 '17 at 15:16
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    Yep my brother birthday was back in October. It was sent at that date not when you brought it. – Vyndicu Nov 27 '17 at 15:52

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