Why allow it on pre-orders but not bundles?
Because the pre-order game was a freebie and not a purchase. I don't agree with the policy, but I can see the distinction.
So as usual you are focusing on Valve as being the cause of the problem here, when most likely it's a Publisher decision
I am focusing on who controls Steam at the highest level, and that is Valve. Only a Valve fanboy would want to deflect that responsibility away from where it ultimately belongs. The evidence suggests it is not just a publisher decision because Valve doesn't allow bundles to be split up on its own games either with the exception of HL2 and EP1 in the Orange box. None of its other bundles can have parts gifted from what I've read.
Plus, whether or not Valve is the source of this problem isn't really the issue because Valve could rectify it in any case. Valve could certainly change the gifting policy for its own games, and even for third-parties Valve has had no trouble dictating terms on similar issues such as mandating achievements and setting prices with at least some indie developers' games. Valve has built up Steam's share of the PC game distribution market to the point where Valve wields a lot of leverage over third-party developers and publishers who want to put their wares on Steam. If Valve wanted to make Steam's gifting less restrictive, it could certainly do so even for third-party games.This comment was edited on Mar 29, 2009, 00:54.