Well, it was fun while it lasted, and we did plan to do it again, but…. that can not happen anymore. Changes Valve has made to the Steam Gift system have just rendered our yearly raffle impossible.
Yesterday, Valve dropped an announcement on changes being made to their gifting process. Several of these changes sound good on paper (at least) such as if someone declines a gift, it’s now a refund for the one who bought it and others that got their own sections in the announcement… but for us at the Red Sector, the first paragraph has left us and one of our favorite Extra-Life traditions dead in the water:
“Today we’re announcing changes to gifts on Steam. The gifting process has had a bunch of friction in it for a while, and we want to make it easier for you to share the games you love with friends. Steam Gifting will now be a system of direct exchange from gift buyer to gift receiver, and we will be retiring the Gift to E-mail and Gift to Inventory options. Here's a quick breakdown of benefits from the new system:”
That highlighted part says it all. To run the raffle, my process was always to buy the games on sale and stash them in my inventory so that one lucky donator could be deluged with games suddenly showing up in their email… but that can no longer happen as Steam will no longer allow us to add games to our items inventory. You are now required to either buy the game immediately for yourself or immediately gift it. Simply put, we no longer have a way to put games away to give on the big night, or anywhere!
To say that I am not happy is an understatement. I looked forward to making someone’s day/night each year in one of the most brutally direct way a gamer can. I know I am not alone in this (as the comments and community discussion is all about how much this new system sucks right now), but I simply can not continue the tradition without the proper tools.
I do have a few games put away for this year already and Valve has already said gifts bought already wont be effected, so we may be able to give away a few last titles but… yeah, Valve just killed one of the most fun parts of the big night.
So I will end this message with a thank you to everyone who was with us the past few years doing this, and a big sarcastic thank you to Valve for ending it.
UPDATE: And now there is no longer a chance of even what I have collected going into a (much) smaller raffle. While Valve will not take the games in your inventory away, they wont let you give them away by email anymore. You now need to have the person receiving the game in your friends list. As such, I can no longer give anything to anyone who won the raffle. So it’s just not happening at all this year.