October 26, 2017 // 10:24 a.m.
Valve has launched digital gift card functionality in its Steam digital distribution platform, allowing users to send Steam Wallet funds to their friends - though the company warns that existing wallet balances cannot be used.
While Valve has allowed users of its Steam digital distribution platform to top up their stored-value wallets with redeemable gift card codes in the past, it has relied entirely upon physical plastic cards. The new gift card system, the company explains, does away with this requirement - though physical cards will still be available - by allowing users to send Steam Wallet balances directly to any Steam user who has been on their friends list for at least three days.
'The new cards allow you to send Steam Wallet funds to friends, who may then apply those funds toward the purchase of anything on Steam, from hardware to software, including games and in-game items,' Valve explains in its announcement. 'This expands on Steam's single-game digital gift service and the tangible Steam Gift Cards which are available from hundreds of retailers around the world.'
The launch does come with a couple of restrictions, however. As well as the previously highlighted need for the sender and recipient to have been on each other's friends list for at least three days, users cannot use existing Steam Wallet funds to purchase a gift card - only freshly added cash. Recipients also have the option to decline a gift card, in which case the buyer will be automatically refunded.
More information on the service is available on Valve's Steam Gift Card page.