I was activating a bunch of keys from a Humble Bundle, when I accidentally tried to activate one for a game I already had. I had intended to give that key to someone else.

As I was clicking on auto-pilot, I may have clicked OK instead of Cancel. When I gave the key to the intended recipient, they said it didn't work. (Thankfully I worded it carefully, "hey, would you mind checking if this key works for you?")

Is there any way to use that key?

I have seen What happens if I activate a product key on Steam for a game I already own?, but that question focuses on getting a giftable copy of the game. That's not what has happened here, and is not what I'm looking for. I'm interested in knowing (and I'll check back with the intended recipient) if the key is still valid and usable.

  • I made that "mistake" several times, but I've always been able to activate those keys on another account. The key should still be useable because it was not properly redeemed.
    – LawPion
    Jan 6 '20 at 10:53
  • @LawPion yeah, I actually need to check with the recipient. What I left out for brevity, is that the Steam account is my kid's, and the recipient is his friend, so a couple of extra steps are involved.
    – SQB
    Jan 6 '20 at 10:57
  • 1
    @SQB Besides, the fact that you were able to activate it through Steam in the first place, indicates it is not an exact same version of the game, right?
    – Joachim
    Jan 6 '20 at 15:32
  • I thought that with Humble Bundle in particular, you are unable to gift keys for games that you already own.
    – Darren
    Jan 6 '20 at 18:50
  • Judging from the fact that you accepted the one answer instead of the other, you either phrased your question wrongly (and didn't really activate the wrong game), or already knew that was the answer (because Steam would have refused to activate it again). In both cases, it is indeed a duplicate of the question DrFish mentions.
    – Joachim
    Jan 8 '20 at 20:14

If you already have that exact game / game & DLC bundle then Steam will refuse to activate it stating that you already own it.

You are then free to give it to someone else.

However if you do not own a portion of what the key contains it may get activated and just give you the bits you do not own. E.g. if its a game and DLC you may get the DLC and lose the extra copy of the game.


Quoted from the Steam Refunds page, here:

Valve cannot provide refunds for purchases made outside of Steam (for example, CD keys or Steam wallet cards purchased from third parties).

You can try contacting Humble Bundle, though, as they seem to be able to revoke activated keys:

What happens after Humble Bundle revokes? Do they remove the game from the account? If you enable it in Steam they can't remove it, right?

Oh yes they can. A lot of people are scammed on trade forums, and keep trusting obvious scams, after which their games from Humble Bundle that they traded for TF2 keys are revoked. Maybe these scammers use Humble Bundle Support to tell "they activated game in an incorrect account" or something like this, or they just use fraudulent payments. Why would Humble Bundle Support remove the game and not make Steam revoke it from the account? What would be the point? People could just farm free games this way. [redacted for readability]

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