Trade on Steam: How to Trade Games

Trading games on Steam is actually pretty simple
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

Valve has shown interest in providing players with a way to trade games on Steam, but Gabe Newell, founder, has admitted that the company is unsure how to approach a more trade-based economy within the platform.

Recommended Videos

In the meantime, Valve has enabled players to trade unplayed games through the gifting system. Here’s how.

Buy the game as a gift

This sounds simple enough, and really, it is. When purchasing your game, in your cart, choose to purchase the game as a gift. On the next screen, you’ll see this option:

By selecting it and completing your purchase, the gift will show up (uninstalled) in your inventory. Your inventory is not the same as your library–if you install this purchase on your account, you will not be able to trade it later.

Initiate the trade, and then send it on over!

Trade it away for any multitude of things: cards, other games, icons, backgrounds, whatever. Initiate a trade through the chat window like so:

There’s no restriction on what you can trade these games away for. This creates a safe, easy way to trade within the platform, and you don’t have to go through any shady third-party processes (trust me, they exist).

What if I change my mind?

See the button on the right panel that says ‘Add to my game library’? In the event that you decide you actually want the game, you can choose to hold on to it. By adding the game to your library, you can now install and play away.

Cool! Where can I trade?

There are an insane amount of groups on Steam that are trading-focused. They exist for trading cards, games… you name it. Most of these groups are full of nice people, but some are full of spammers… so just be careful.

Don’t stress about trading with strangers, either. The trade is set up in such a way that each party must approve any changes made throughout the process before the trade can go through. There’s no real way of ripping someone off or being ripped off. Besides, I know you aren’t that person.

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Katy Hollingsworth
Katy Hollingsworth
whale biologist.