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I would like to buy a game to send it as gift to a friend. This is a Secret Santa though. It should be anonymous. I would like to buy legally a key on steam or any other official seller. Print this key of a postcard and send it by classic mail. How can I achieve that.

If it matters, I am looking for:

Related to (but not a copy because I am fine buying keys outside of Steam) Can I buy Steam Game Keys on Steam?

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    Before anyone does, I would recommend against using G2A. That harms developers at lot more than helping them, as the methods they gain their keys are shady at best. – Corsaka Dec 7 '20 at 11:33
  • I would note that a postcard is not secure enough for sending something like this. While it is unlikely that someone in the USPS will take a picture of the postcard, then type in the key when they get home, there's basically no way to stop that from happening, or fixing it if it does happen. As long as it's in an envelope, it should be fine, though. – user3757614 Dec 8 '20 at 17:50
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Nearly every digital retailer that isn't attached to a specific publisher sells steam keys. Humble Bundle, IndieGala, Fanatical, Gamesplanet,... nearly all of them sell Steam keys OR a key that is for a publisher-related platform. Pretty much the only platforms that do not sell Steam keys are Battle.net, Origin, Ubisoft Connect, Epic Games Store and GOG. These stores all have their own distribution platform built into their storefront and as such they do not offer Steam keys.

One thing I'd do different though is not print the codes, but if possible use "anonymous gifting". This is a feature of Humble Bundle and possibly other retailers that allows the person receiving the gift to redeem the game through an emailed link and then copy-paste the CD key into Steam instead of having to manually enter a complicated CD key into Steam by hand. It also means that there's less chance of the code getting intercepted somewhere by a malicious mailman or neighbor.

Note that many of these storefronts have frequent sales that may make one store or another more attractive to buy a certain game from. There are websites that track these sites and aggregate all the sales into an easily readable list. I personally use isthereanydeal, but there are other platforms that work just as well.

Something to keep in mind: there are key resellers out there like G2A or Kinguin that you should not buy from under any circumstance, especially for indie games. These key resellers acquire many of their keys through illicit means like stolen credit cards or physical copies from cheaper areas, and they do the absolute minimum necessary to stop this. There are many indie game developers who would rather you pirate their game than buy it from these key resellers, because if these games were originally bought using a stolen credit card, the eventual chargeback fees financially hurt the developer.

Generally speaking, if a site is listed on isthereanydeal or the /r/Gamedeals Subreddit, the site is an authorized storefront that follows proper commerce rules and should be safe to buy from. If the site isn't mentioned on there, you can probably assume it's an unauthorized key reseller that you should avoid buying from.

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  • If G2A is shady, can all the sites that are linked from isthereanydeal be trusted? – Andrew Savinykh Dec 7 '20 at 22:12
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    Shady sites like G2A and Kinguin don’t get listed on isthereanydeal, so it’s a pretty safe bet to check on there – Pingcode Dec 7 '20 at 22:32
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    For the record, the shady keys sold on those sites are not sold by the company themselves, but by other users. Those sites are more like Ebay. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Dec 8 '20 at 1:49
  • While the anonymous digital gifting is a neat suggestion, I disagree that there is any danger in mailing a physical code. (At least here in America) there is effectively no risk in mailing something like this. – ThunderGuppy Dec 8 '20 at 16:25
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    Worth noting is that there can be differences in games between Steam and publisher platforms. One platform where this is actually visible is EA Origin: I own two copies of Mass Effect Andromeda, both bought from Poland, from Polish IP and using a Polish credit card. The Steam copy allows me to freely choose the language while the EA Origin copy locks me to English audio with Polish text. – Jan Dorniak Dec 8 '20 at 18:25
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You can find the games mentioned on humblebundle.com.

  • There is no game : Wrong dimension
  • Goat Simulator
  • Unrailed

cart

On checkout, you have an option to get a giftable link. You can put the link on a QR Code and print it before sending it by postcards in an envelope.

checkout

This way may not be the best solution though.

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    Why "may not be the best solution"? It seems that it fits all criteria. – Federico Poloni Dec 8 '20 at 16:45
  • This is definitely a working solution, but maybe not the cheapest. Nzall's answer is more in depth. – aloisdg Dec 8 '20 at 22:44

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