Buying Online Gifts in 2017

It’s coming up to Christmas, and I’m sure at least some of us are looking to get some gifts for others. Me not to much since I a. am skint and b. have already bought presents for my family, but that probably won’t stop me getting a few gifts for some close buddies. The problem is, the number one source of gifts for gamers seems to have become more and more of a pain in the ass when it comes to giving gifts.

You see, in the good old days of a few years ago, you could buy a bunch of games in a Steam sale then leave them in your inventory for a bit and give them out as and when you need to. You could still do that, but you need to wait a week before you can actually trade them. But even then, you might run into difficulties sending gifts if your friend is in another region, since Steam has been messing around with blocking gifts between different economic zones. You can still just go to the store and directly send someone a gift, but then you have to deliver it right there and then. That means being online and shopping on or immediately around Christmas.

The saddest thing though is the disappearance of things like gifting hats and cosmetics in games. It used to be that you could easily just open a trade, throw in whatever gift you wanted to give, everyone hits accept, and that’s it. Nowadays, if you don’t have the Steam authenticator on your phone, you have to wait fifteen days. Which means your gift, if you start the trade now, won’t arrive until after Christmas.

This can be somewhat alleviated by gifting DLCs via Steam, but DLCs can vary wildly in price compared to actual in-game items. The Warframe DLC packs are a great example of this, they are super expensive compared to buying Platinum. That being said, the Excalibur skin looks really,, REALLY nice, but it’s not really worth €9 or however much it is. I think a lot of game companies would prefer you buy items from them directly rather than via Steam.

So what else can you give people?

Well, there’s always Humble Bundles. Bought for however much you want, you can always gift them to other people, assuming you know their email address. You get a bunch of games rather than just a single game, and if they own a game in the bundle, they can give their spare code back to you or someone else. Unfortunately, you no longer get a copy of a game in your Steam inventory if you already own it, but I can see why – something like that could so easily be abused. Alternatively, you could gift a DRM-free game, meaning they get the entirety of the game without being tied to something like Steam or Origin or whatever.

Or you could not spend money on games and instead make something yourself. Actually, you could probably make a game for someone if you had the skill and time and effort. But really, a nice Christmas card with a nice picture on the front and a message of kindness is a perfectly acceptable gift to send to those you consider kinda friends but not really best buds. Just make sure to not copy and paste a message to everyone, take the time to personalize each card.

Either way, no matter what you do, it’s always best to get your gifts sorted now, before you unexpectedly get hit with an unforeseen thing which means you can’t send your gifts in time. I’m looking at you, local bank sending me a new card and invalidating my old one without telling me, then Steam basically saying I can’t buy gifts for people.

*sigh* such a pain in the backside.

Anyway, happy holiday shopping, y’all.

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