Steam Introduces Family Sharing

Beta begins the middle of this month.

On their official blog, Valve has announced Family Sharing for Steam. Steam users on the same computer can now share games with each other.

Anna Sweet explains that Valve has implemented the new system after hearing from customers who want to share their digital games between friends and family in the same way they share physical media, such as books, DVDs, etc.

Steam Family Sharing has been set up in such a way that people will be able to play each other’s games, while keeping their save data, application data (such as sharing to Facebook), and Steam achievements separate from each other.

To get Steam Family Sharing, users will authorize a shared computer. After authorization, said user’s game library will be immediately available to other people to access, download, and play. Two users will not be able to use the same account at the same time. In the unlikely case the lender accesses a game that is being played by someone else, the other person gets the choice to either save their game or purchase it then and there.

The FAQ shares even more details. Family Sharing extends to a maximum of ten devices. Libraries are shared in their entirety, but not all games are available. Certain limits apply in terms of regional restrictions, purchased DLC, subscriptions, 3rd party keys, and so forth. If you would like to be part of the beta, you will have to join the Family Sharing Group in Steam’s community section. The beta starts in the middle of this month with one thousand accounts.

We still don’t have all the information needed on the system yet. For example, how many user accounts can a lender share their games to? Does ten devices mean ten user accounts? Still, this is definitely a welcome development, and maybe something similar services like EA’s Origin would want to copy in the future. I don’t think Valve would mind.

Source: Steam blog