How to Get Absolutely Free Games On Steam, No Surveys, No Tricks, No Spam, Simple Signup
What is "Steam"?
Steam is a software and game distribution / e-commerce platform developed by Valve Software, the people behind Half-Life and many other bestsellers for the PC.
You join Steam and install the client for free. From there you can purchase games and add them to your library. You can also purchase keys from third-party vendors and redeem them on Steam. Once added, you can download the game to ANY PC you are on and play there (subject to single-login and hardware restrictions).
Steam is also a social platform with chat, discussion boards, screenshot and game guide sharing, and much more.
With frequent sales and huge library of games, and its own social network, Steam is the most popular online game platform. Also available for Mac and Linux.
Who wants free games for their Steam library?
Answer: Everybody, of course.
How do I get the free games?
Answer Two places that are remarkably similar:
Oh, wait, you need a Steam Library that is worth at least $100 USD. This is to prevent spammers from creating a bunch of empty shill accounts to cheat the system. (NOTE: GalaGiveaways's minimum is $50)
Okay, what's the catch?
You are encouraged to buy some these games to give away (which indirectly gives you more entries to other people's giveaways), but usually they are indie bundles being sold at a heavy discount for charity or other good causes.
And of course, you get to watch the ads on those websites, which points you to some of these bundles and other great deals on the games.
Don't I need to enter my name or stuff?
Both sites let you login through Steam, which gives them access to your public Steam profile, and that's enough. One may require you to verify your email address in case they want to contact you about something (and to verify your account).
How does Steamgifts.com and GalaGiveAways.com work?
Simple. It's members giving to other members.
Some people have bought games, often via a "bundle", and have some games that they don't play. Others bought a multi-pack but can't find people to share with, They decided to be generous and give the game to others so they can be enjoyed rather than hoarded to no one's benefit.
It is hoped that people who receive such gifts will "pay it forward", by giving away games they themselves cannot / will not play, so yet other people can enjoy.
However, one cannot simply ask for "who wants free game"? As he will be spam-slammed by comments begging for games.
Thus, these two website, who will handle the posting, the entries, and picking the winners. They will post the offer, allow members to enter the lottery for the giveaway and track the entries. At the end of giveaway a winner will be picked automatically and the giver notified.
The actual giving is the giver's responsibility. Usually gifting is through Steam, though one can also email the CD-Key.
Can I get unlimited number of games?
Of course not. Both websites implemented a points system.
The exact details can be found on each website, but the idea is you can only enter limited number of giveaways based on your participation and other people's participation, determined by the game's "worth". if you give away an indie game worth $5, your contribution is obviously less than someone giving away a AAA level game worth $50.
This limits the number of giveaway you can enter, so you need to be more strategic about it.
How do I get more points?
By giving away games, and by other people giving away games.
How do I improve my chances of winning?
You don't. Nothing will improve your chance of winning, as only one entry per member is allowed.
EXCEPTION: GalaGiveaways have "extra odds" giveaway where you can "enter multiple times", by spending more points. If the regular entry is 15 points, you can enter 5 times (thus spending 75 points) and get 5x the odds of something who only entered once. Not all giveaways are of this type.
Here are some basic things to know BEFORE you go join either one:
- Both are based on "pay it forward". Give away your extra copies or games you can't play / won't play to encourage others to do so. So you are expected to give away a few games.
- No re-gifting. You win it, you keep it.
- You can only enter giveaways for games you do NOT already own on Steam
- You cannot enter giveaways for DLCs when you don't have the base game.
- If you win, you are expected to go back to website and let it know you got the game and it's great. This is a part of feedback system that adds to the gifter's reputation (as well as your own)
And if you want to give away games, here's a few things you should know:
- You cannot give away stuff that is already IN your Steam library,
- You can only give away stuff in your Steam inventory
- You can also give away keys you have obtained through third-party purchases that you have NOT added to your library.
- Games that were included in bundles, such as Humble Bundle, BundleStars, and such, are often worth less points
- You cannot give away accounts
- You cannot give away geographically restricted games
- Don't make "fake" giveaways. There is a reputation system and feedback. You can be banned for making fake giveaways and/or getting too many "no gift received" comments.
Some Tips for joining Giveaways
- Check the odds before entering. If 1000 people have entered for 1 copy, your chance of winning is 0.1%. That's pretty lousy odds. You may want to look for something with slightly better odds.
- Similarly, giveaways that have huge time windows, like for a whole week, will often attract thousands for entries and thus dilute the odds of winning. Look for giveaways with 1-3 day windows, or even shorter.
- Contributor giveaways, a.k.a. "thankyous" are for members who have given away certain amount of games, and thus is harder to get into and therefore less people will enter and offer better odds. However, you may not qualify.
- You really should go buy a cheap bundle and give away the individual keys, if only for all the enthusiastic "thank yous" you receive.
Some Tips for creating Giveaways
- Don't make the giveaway window too long. Personally, 72-hours (3 days) is about right.
- You can give away almost ANY game or DLC you have the code for. Seems people will enter almost ANYTHING.
- You should already have the key or gift ready when you make the giveaway. While you do have a whole week to send it, you really should do it within 24 hours of giveaway's end time.
- A good place to find cheap games to giveaway is the frequently offered "bundle" shops. While the games in the bundle are "worth less", the idea is to give them away and make people happy, not for the points.
- Here are a few such bundle places:
humblebundle.com is the first to do "name your own price" sales of bundles of games. However, they don't always come with separate keys.
bundlestar.com often have multiple bundles on sale for about $5, and generally includes 5-8 games of various qualities, and they always come with separate CD keys.
indieroyale.com have bundles of indie games for a few dollars. However, they don't always come with Steam keys. Some are direct downloads, and some are Desura keys (Desura is an indie-version of Steam)
indiegala.com is yet another indie bundle site that lets you pay what you want, though paying over certain amount unlocks additional games and/or bonuses.
- If you have friends, you can all put in money for two or four-packs of games and play together. You can sometimes find multi-packs on sale at Steam itself, and sometimes at third-party vendors like GreenManGaming.com and GamersGate.com
- You can always buy games on Steam when it's on sale, then mark it as a Gift when purchased, so it goes into your inventory instead of your library. Then you can give it away from your inventory.
As a potential recipient... Join Steamgifts.com and/or GalaGiveaways.com and you'll have a chance of getting free games! And perhaps you can give away a few games later!
As a potential giver... Did you bought too many games, and have games sitting in digital limbo, unused, and looking for a player? If you do, SteamGifts.com and/or GalaGiveaways.com may be the perfect place for it. Pay it forward, give them away, and make the world a happier and better place.
© 2013 kschang