How to Trade Steam Games

Send a gift to a friend, or trade for a different game you want more

Steam allows you to trade games under particular circumstances. You can't trade games from your library, only those in your inventory. You can also swap various items in your inventory for games if you can talk your friends into making the deal.

You can't trade games on Steam if you don't have Steam Guard enabled. You can also be locked out of trading for other reasons, like changing your password or logging in through an unrecognized device. In each of these cases, you have to wait between 15 and 30 days for Steam to remove the lock.

What is a Steam Gift?

Steam calls tradable versions of games Steam gifts. These are extra copies of games that came due to a bonus, package deal, or promotional code. At one point, it was also possible to obtain Steam gifts by purchasing a game as a gift and then choosing to place it directly in your library instead of sending it to a friend.

You can check your gift inventory by clicking on your username in Steam, then selecting Gifts in the drop-down menu. If a Steam Gift has the tradable tag, that means you can trade it. If it has the marketable label, that means you can sell it on the Steam Marketplace.

A woman trades steam Games on her laptop.
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How to Obtain Tradable Steam Games

There are three different ways to obtain a tradable Steam game. You can trade steam cards and in-game items to someone else for their tradable copy of a game, you can purchase a multi-pack that includes gift-able copies, and you can choose to place a gift in your inventory instead of redeeming it.

When the Steam first introduced its inventory system, you could purchase any game and immediately store it in your inventory for later. You can no longer obtain tradable steam games with that method. If you have any games in your inventory that were purchased that way in the past, you can still trade them.

How to Trade a Steam Game From Your Inventory

If you have a tradable game in your Steam inventory, you can trade it the same way you would for Steam cards, in-game items, and other things in your Steam inventory.

If your friend gives you their Steam Trade URL, you can send them trade requests through it even if they aren't online.

Here's how to trade Steam Games:

  1. Launch Steam.

  2. Click FRIENDS & CHAT in the lower right corner of the window.

    Steam interface.
  3. Locate the friend you want to trade with, click the small arrow next to their name, and click Invite to Trade.

    Steam trade request menu.

    You can only trade with people on your friend list. If you want to make a deal with a stranger, you need to add each other as friends temporarily. Exercise caution when trading with strangers.

  4. Select a specific inventory from the dropdown menu.

    Steam trade window.
  5. Click and drag the game, in-game item, Steam item, or coupon that you want to trade into the trade window.

    Steam trade window.

    If you drag the wrong item into the trade window, drag it back to your inventory to remove it.

  6. Click Ready to Trade when you're ready.

    Steam trade window.
  7. Check to make sure that the item your trading partner has offered is the item you want. Move your mouse over each item and read the text that pops up.

  8. Click Make Trade when you're ready.

    You can't undo or cancel a trade after clicking Make Trade. Do not click Make Trade unless you are sure you want this trade to go through.

  9. If the trade is successful, you'll see a confirmation window.

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