My short bio: Not sure I'm really that interesting, but a few people have been asking for it now. For Christmas, I ran a free Steam game giveaway to everyone on Reddit.

For those who don't know, Steam is a video game distribution platform. You enter a code and you can redeem a video game.

I've spent much of October and November buying keys from bundles (where you can usually get 10-12 games for a few dollars) and planning this.

The announcement thread is here

The actual giveaway is here:

My biggest shock was waking up on Christmas with 3,000 comments. My original plan was for 1,000 keys, given or take a few hundreds. Little did I know, I would get completely obliterated by comments and free game requests.

This is what my inbox looks like at this very moment: Even a day after the giveaway has ended, I am STILL receiving private messages faster than I can reply to them and I don't think I will live long enough to read all those messags.

The hardest part by far was that I had to send keys manually, probably the biggest mistake or mis-estimation I've done in my entire life. Originally, I thought it would take me 5 seconds to send each key. 1,000 keys * 5 seconds = 5,000, a hour and a half. But the fact was that 6 hours later and one very painful hand, I had barely sent 500.

As of now, I am still sending keys to people who commented and this will most likely occupy my entire holidays. The whole thing was absolutely insane, but it really brought what I loved the most with Christmas and holiday times.

At the time of writing this, the thread has 44,000 comments and rising. I would have never been able to keep sending keys without people generously donating their keys to me. As of now, I have sent 750 keys of my original 1,000 and probably close to 2,000-3,000 keys I've received by PM. Despite a day and a half of work I've barely done 10% :$

Feel free to ask anything about logistics/weird PM I received. Thank you

Comments: 54 • Responses: 12  • Date: 

somebodynotanonymous26 karma

First of all, thank you for doing this for the community, OP. What prompted you to do this for the community? Also, do you have a rough estimate of how many keys you received from other people to give away?

graydoggames54 karma

Oh boy.

Getting sick of clicking to copy+paste so I'll take a break to answer your question in details. It's a long story.

I don't want to spend too much on this, but the last couple of years have been kinda harsh. Brutal, even. I don't want to get into all the details but I will say that at one point, I had completely given up hope. As in, there is no hope left in your life. At all.

You just wake up, wander around, and go to sleep. That's how I would describe my life in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Wandering.

In late 2017, things started going significantly better. I don't want to spend hours discussing it, but I got lucky. Met the right persons at the right time. Found a new job almost by accident. The small things and changes I applied in my life eventually added up and I started to see the things that I did or went wrong.

In 2018, things started to go a ton better. I'm not rich by any means, but I live a comfortable life now. As a kid, teenager and even a young adult, I simply could not afford video games. Like, I wasn't poor because I could still eat and all that, but the only entertainment I could get were, well, free entertainment. I had the bare necessities to survive and that was it.

In 2018, I finally had money and bought my first gaming PC. Then, the idea of doing a huge giveaway and helping people to free games popped up in my mind. This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time and I always told myself that if I ever "made it," I would do it. With that in mind, I never expected it to grow so big. I am completely overwhelmed, but also really happy that it worked.

I've stuck with my original 1,000 keys, which are mostly games that sell for $3-4 with the occasional $5-10. Keys were given at random from an excel spreadsheet. Obviously, I would have never gotten so big were it not from people PMing me free keys to give people away.

My estimations are : 750/1000 of my own keys sent, 2,500 keys from other people sent. I estimate that I have received another 2,500 keys from people, somewhere in my PM box. Am slowly going through it.

I know what it is not to have money for game and am super-happy I managed to do this. I'll conclude with a slightly maudlin line that you will hopefully forgive me, but one final reason I did that is that I realized there was too much hate in this world. Hate, hate, hate, there's hate in every single corner, every single nook. It's all around you, it pervades you and it suffocates you. Just look at the state of the world today. Everyone is so full of hate, all the time. I sure was myself for a while.

Giving out free keys to people was my way to fight back that.

mwizard7775 karma

How many keys have you given away up until this point?

graydoggames9 karma

I estimate that I am close to 4,500 right now.

Or around 10% of people who commented asking for a game


buffoon_of_spades5 karma

Merry Christmas, and thank you for doing the giveaway!

How did your reaction to the overnight popularity develop over time? You wrote that you were "happy the holiday spirit worked". Is this still the case?

Also, how did you keep sane through all this (if applicable)?

graydoggames9 karma



My very first reaction was despair because it was SO huge. When I made the announcement, I got something like 800 comments, and I thought it would be perfect. I am not sure how it got to 44k.

Now that I look at it (and still send keys) I feel happy and busy in a good way :)

Holidays spirits still working. I will most likely stop sending keys as the year end, hopefully I am done by then.!

Doctor_Leidenfrost5 karma

Do you have plans of stopping?

graydoggames17 karma

When I'm out of keys.

As of writing this, I am STILL getting keys (from people donating them to me) faster than I can give them out.

AlbertSPedersen4 karma

Are you planning on making a bot to do it for you, if you do decide to do something similar next year?

The bot should just check that the age of the Reddit account was older than X days to avoid to many hoarders.

I just want to say: Thanks for doing this, it’s amazing! Don’t let it become a chore, cause u gotta enjoy Christmas!

graydoggames3 karma

I wish, I naievely thought it wouldnt be so big, max 1,000 keys!

Wtfshouldicallthis4 karma

How much did this all cost?

graydoggames17 karma

I've spent roughly $1,000 USD so far.

LOVEDATCATowo3 karma

Hi you sent me something that had a bunch of numbers and letters? What's it for? Is it a link or something?

xlockii6 karma

It's a code you can redeem on steam and it gives you the game

graydoggames4 karma

^ This

awesomemangoes2 karma

Do you have any regrets of starting a big thread that exploded? Do you plan on locking the thread so less people can comment?

Thanks for doing this

graydoggames5 karma

At first, yeah, but I got into the pace now. I send 100 keys, I take a break. I wish I had an algorithm!

RazzyNathan1 karma

wow I cant imagine the finger cramps. I was late to the party so I probably wont get anything, but do you have a team of people helping you? How has this affected holidays at home? Any notable angry pm's?

graydoggames3 karma

Wrist cramp.

I am mostly alone for holidays so this occupy me :)

BtwItsTiger1 karma

Do you think you’re gonna get to everyone? Are you going to lock the post once you hit like 50,000 comments?

graydoggames2 karma

At this point, no. This is taking forever.

ScratchMapping1 karma

How long do you think this process of sending out keys will last for?

graydoggames2 karma

4-5 more days

ScratchMapping1 karma

Approximately how many hours a day would that be?

graydoggames3 karma

12-14 like i do now