Family Game Sharing Finally Comes to Steam

Well it's about time. Valve Software announced on Wednesday that Family Sharing has finally arrived on Steam, a new service that allows users to share their games with friends and family. The drawback, for now, is that users must share their entire library rather than lend out a specific game. Thus, Family Sharing may not be an ideal solution for parents wanting to share specific titles to their children.

"Our customers have expressed a desire to share their digital games among friends and family members, just as current retail games, books, DVDs, and other physical media can be shared," explained Anna Sweet of Valve. "Family Sharing was created in direct response to these user requests."

So how does this new feature work? It requires the lender's account and the borrower's account. The PC can be local or remote, but it must be authorized by the lender to receive the games. Once that's done, the lender's library is shared with the borrower in its entirety until the lender decides to play a game. At that time, the borrower will be asked to purchase the game he/she is currently playing, or given a few minutes to exit.

"See a family member's installed game that you want to play? Send them a request to authorize the computer," Valve said. "Once authorized, the lender's library of Steam games become available for others on the machine to access, download and play."

A Steam account may authorize Family Sharing on up to 10 devices at a given time. Due to technical limitations, some Steam games may be unavailable for sharing, such as titles that require an additional third-party key, account, or subscription. Borrowed games will be unavailable on even an authorized device when the lender’s library is currently in use on another computer.

"A borrower will have access to the lender’s DLC, but borrowers may not purchase DLC for a base game they don't own," Valve said. "Any player may purchase, trade, earn, or otherwise acquire in-game content while playing a game, but in-game items cannot be shared between accounts. These items remain the property of the account that purchased or acquired them, whether borrowing or lending the base game."

Valve said that Family Sharing privileges will be revoked if the lender's library is used to conduct cheating or fraud. Steam customers are recommended to authorize only familiar computers that are deemed secure.

Family Sharing for Steam will be rolled out as a limited beta next week. To participate in the program, head here. Additional information regarding the new service can be found here along with the company's group discussion.

  • moonzy
  • edogawa
    Pretty cool, but looks like you need to take caution who you share with.
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Your move, lolsoles.
  • cats_Paw
    Well, i got another way: I just run the game and let me cousin sit and play it...
    I know, kinda oldschool but still works.
  • quilciri
    hardly more useful than simply sharing your account itself.
  • unksol
    11523963 said:
    hardly more useful than simply sharing your account itself.

    Yea... I mean. There's the fact that you can easily revoke access. And they can't try and change your password. Or log back in with your password and kick you out. Or buy games with your account. Or get stats under your username. Or post as you. Or mess with your profile. But other than all those huge things yea. Hardly more useful than just handing out the password to your account.....
  • lpedraja2002
    "Borrowed games will be unavailable on even an authorized device when the lender’s library is currently in use on another computer."

    Wait so basically you, the lender needs to be offline for the other person to play any game from your game library? I love it that Valve is deciding to implement something like this since its been a requested feature for a long ass time but If I understood correctly that limitation its basically the same as sharing an account while another being offline or worse, it forces you to be online and kicks the other person out.

    Also, I assume this will only work for steamwork games?

    After reading the official page I realized that this is a bit better than sharing an account since you never have to worry about the other person ever doing anything stupid with your account like deleting your game profiles, giving away your items or worse stealing it.
    Can't wait to try this out, considering I only game about 3 days a week, I can share with a friend and try his games, hopefully without much trouble.
  • oczdude8
    This sounds great! This is basically what you can do if you have a hard copy of a game. Now, you can loan your games to your friends from across the world, without worrying that they will scratch your disk.

    I just hope they make it so you can loan out just some games, as opposed to everything.
  • Narcissistic_Martyr
    I was hoping to be able to borrow a couple games from my friends but since we work different shifts these days it ought to still work.
  • kinggraves
    "Your move, lolsoles." What I find funny about this statement is that this was the original Xbone family plan, basically. In other words the 'lolsoles' are the ones that had the idea first. The problem was that Microsoft PR was so terrible that instead of highlighting what people would've liked they announced the ways the Xbone failed and were forced to change plans. Gaben, not being a complete imbecile, took advantage and implemented the idea himself.