The 2016 Steam Summer Sale is on now, and while most gamers seem to be running around throwing fistfuls of cash at anything that moves, an interesting anomaly has been spotted. You can snag Team-based FPS Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for half-price, but – unlike seemingly every other game on offer – if you buy it, you have to keep it. The option to gift the game to someone else has been removed.
A gamer first mentioned the inability to buy as a gift on Reddit, but before the conspiracy theorists could get stuck in, a Valve spokesperson stepped up to explain what was going on.
CS:GO will not be giftable during the sale. Our goal with sales is to grow the community and historically, during sales, the new users that stick around are mainly the ones that purchase copies for themselves.
To translate that a bit: CS:GO has an issue with alt-accounts, or in-game smurfing. It’s like pool sharking – someone who has spent countless hours in-game (and built up an impressive skillset), loads up a second account with zero hours on the clock, gets into lower-ranked competitive matches against genuine newbies, and proceeds to wipe the floor with their opponents. It’s a typical troll move, and it looks like Valve is making a bit of an effort to stop the problem – for the duration of the sale, at least, people can no longer buy additional cheap copies of CSGO on their primary account and then switch them over to alt-accounts as needed.
It’s an interesting move, even if it is just one that’s in place for the next two weeks, but what’s also interesting is the fact that Valve has not signposted this decision anywhere. There’s no warning in the store about the game’s ungiftability (that’s totally a word) – and even though you’re alerted to the fact before handing over any cash, it could still be a little frustrating for gamers who genuinely want to buy a copy of the game for a friend.
This year’s Steam Summer Sale runs until 10am PST on July 4.