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Valve announces Steam Family Sharing

Valve announces Steam Family Sharing

Valve is to allow Steam users to share their games library across up to ten devices, allowing friends and family access for free.

Valve has announced plans to introduce the ability to share your Steam library with family and friends, but it's worth taking the time to read the fine-print before getting too excited.

Apparently taking a leaf out of Microsoft's since-ditched plans to allow Xbox One games to be shared across multiple consoles, Valve has announced Steam Family Sharing. As the name implies, Steam Family Sharing allows users to share their purchased Steam games with family members as well as non-related friends - without either party needing to part with any extra cash.

The system will be compatible with PC, Mac and Linux Steam clients, and allows for a given library to be shared to up to ten devices including the device belonging to the original owner. When shared, all library content will be accessible except in the case of region-restricted titles crossing international boarders.

Initially, enthusiasm for the announcement was high - but as Valve updated its frequently asked questions page regarding the service, the fine-print began to cast a pall over proceedings. First, while the Family Sharing platform isn't restricted to actual family members, it is restricted to whole-library lending: if your sister, cousin, father or friend is currently playing a game borrowed from your library, you will be unable to play any game yourself - regardless of whether it's the game they're playing or not.

You won't be locked out of your Steam library altogether, of course: if you decide you want to play but one of your friends is already in-game, you can choose to kick them out - at which point they'll be given a few minutes to find a save point before being booted from the game, unless they pony up the cash to buy a copy for themselves.

Other restrictions include downloadable content - which, logically enough, can't be purchased for games you don't actually own, although if the owner has purchased DLC you'll get access during the sharing process - and any titles which were registered on but not purchased through Steam or which require the entry of a registration code.

The service is due to launch in beta format next week, with 1,000 members of the specifically-created Steam Family Sharing group to be invited followed by increasing numbers until the service is rolled out to all Steam users.

24 Comments

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Maki role 12th September 2013, 10:59 Quote
Sounds a bit rubbish to me, not being able to use another game whilst sharing one is simply frustrating.
Gareth Halfacree 12th September 2013, 11:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
Sounds a bit rubbish to me, not being able to use another game whilst sharing one is simply frustrating.
It's mostly targeted at families who have a single computer but multiple user accounts; obviously, you're not going to be trying to use the same library twice in that instance!

(Sadly, Valve seems to have missed the fact that, in my experience, the overwhelming majority of households don't bother to use - in most cases, don't even know about - multiple user accounts, just having everyone use the same administrator-privilege, no-password-required, invisible-login account.)
Woodstock 12th September 2013, 12:10 Quote
Would you rather the status quo, of not being able to share the games at all.
mi1ez 12th September 2013, 12:11 Quote
I like the idea of this. But then, I am about to move to Australia and the chances of me clashing with my brother or mates is more remote.
Quote:
at which point they'll be given a few minutes to find a save point before being booted from the game, unless they pony up the cash to buy a copy for themselves.
This is the clever bit. About to be kicked out of a game. Quick purchase and keep playing. Valve know exactly what they're doing!
GeorgeStorm 12th September 2013, 12:13 Quote
It's just a slight upgrade to sharing your login details with a friend or whatever, since I assume the owner can still use steam chat etc whilst their friend is playing one of their games.

Not amazing but better than it is now :)
lacuna 12th September 2013, 12:16 Quote
I think its pretty good actually and the limitations are perfectly reasonable. Valve is a business afterall!
AlienwareAndy 12th September 2013, 12:42 Quote
It doesn't sound any different to what you can do now. IE - just install Steam on another PC, put in your log in details, get your activation code, play your games on another PC (but only one instance).

This just sounds like a marketing ploy to me as I fail to see what else it offers over what we have now. I have my Steam account installed on my PC and my M11X (for low rent games) and I have no issues so long as I log out of one before logging into the other.
CrazyJoe 12th September 2013, 12:54 Quote
So it's basically a gimped but "legal" version of giving someone your username and password?
Gareth Halfacree 12th September 2013, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
It doesn't sound any different to what you can do now. IE - just install Steam on another PC, put in your log in details, get your activation code, play your games on another PC (but only one instance). This just sounds like a marketing ploy to me as I fail to see what else it offers over what we have now. I have my Steam account installed on my PC and my M11X (for low rent games) and I have no issues so long as I log out of one before logging into the other.
Re-read the article. This isn't about sharing your account on other computers, but sharing your library with other Steam users.
AlienwareAndy 12th September 2013, 13:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Re-read the article. This isn't about sharing your account on other computers, but sharing your library with other Steam users.

So how does that differ to what you can do now?

http://s72.photobucket.com/user/timmahtiburon/media/Alienstuff/nicolasgames.jpg.html

I already have my fiancee's games on my Steam account. All I need to do is double click one, put in her password instead of mine - bingo bongo ! - I can play all of her games.

So as I said it's no different to what you can do now. It may be laid out differently but it's tantamount to the same bloody thing.
GeorgeStorm 12th September 2013, 13:30 Quote
As I mentioned, one big difference (I assume) is that the owner doesn't have to log out for the other person to play one of their games.
AlienwareAndy 12th September 2013, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
As I mentioned, one big difference (I assume) is that the owner doesn't have to log out for the other person to play one of their games.

Yeah, but the bottom line is only one person can actually play the games .

So it's pretty much no different to now, they're just trying to make themselves sound good and bash on console games and Microsoft.

Which isn't a bad thing tbh. Apparently according to IGN PC gaming is on the incline.

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/09/04/why-pc-gaming-has-exploded

That is of course if you can bring yourself to believe a single word IGN say.
GeorgeStorm 12th September 2013, 13:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
Yeah, but the bottom line is only one person can actually play the games .

So it's pretty much no different to now, they're just trying to make themselves sound good and bash on console games and Microsoft.

Which isn't a bad thing tbh. Apparently according to IGN PC gaming is on the incline.

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/09/04/why-pc-gaming-has-exploded

That is of course if you can bring yourself to believe a single word IGN say.

True, but I know a lot of people (myself included) who don't just use steam to game.
I'm looking forward to it, it's a direct upgrade for me, means I can share all my games with my brother, and he can play them but I can stay logged in to talk to my friends as I normally would.
AlienwareAndy 12th September 2013, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
True, but I know a lot of people (myself included) who don't just use steam to game.
I'm looking forward to it, it's a direct upgrade for me, means I can share all my games with my brother, and he can play them but I can stay logged in to talk to my friends as I normally would.

Yeah I guess that is a nice bonus. TBH? sometimes I go for a month without even playing anything, just waffling away to my friends on there lol.
Gareth Halfacree 12th September 2013, 14:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
So as I said it's no different to what you can do now. It may be laid out differently but it's tantamount to the same bloody thing.
I guess it is, if you're happy giving your password to others and don't care about earning achievements, or badges, or trophies, or whatever the hell Valve call their incitements. Oh, and trust the person your sharing with enough to give them your password - which gives them complete access to your account, remember, meaning they can add and remove friends, post messages, chat, and make purchases on your account with your registered credit card.

That's a bit of a difference, no?
AlienwareAndy 12th September 2013, 14:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I guess it is, if you're happy giving your password to others and don't care about earning achievements, or badges, or trophies, or whatever the hell Valve call their incitements. Oh, and trust the person your sharing with enough to give them your password - which gives them complete access to your account, remember, meaning they can add and remove friends, post messages, chat, and make purchases on your account with your registered credit card.

That's a bit of a difference, no?

Well on the flip side of that any one I would share my account or games or whatever with I would trust. Right now that is my fiancee, however, I would have no issues giving any of my friends my details should they want them.

That's why they're my friends, because I can trust them with anything.

Otherwise why would I want to share my games with them?

Sorry if I seem rigid but that would be Asperger Syndrome. I just see it how it is, in glorious black and white.

My grandfather once told me that if, by the time I passed away, that I had two real friends I would be a rich man.
DbD 12th September 2013, 15:23 Quote
Seems fine to me - only 1 person can play a game library at a time, but you can share that library.

So if I go on holiday I can share my library with a friend who can play all my games under there name without mucking up my saves or stats or anything, and without me risking my pw.

Or if we organise a lan party and as always happens some can't make it and some don't have the games then those that can't make it can share their library with those that don't have the games for that night.

Plenty of ways its useful.
dyzophoria 12th September 2013, 15:48 Quote
I think I like the MS implementation on the xbox one better, MS should look back at that implementation, just remove the annoying stuff of course
SMIFFYDUDE 12th September 2013, 15:49 Quote
Meh pretty worthless to me
Gareth Halfacree 12th September 2013, 15:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
That's why they're my friends, because I can trust them with anything.
Last time I trusted my friends with unrestricted access to my Xbox 360, I discovered my avatar cross-dressing.
GeorgeStorm 12th September 2013, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Last time I trusted my friends with unrestricted access to my Xbox 360, I discovered my avatar cross-dressing.

It's the right thing to do.
Sloth 12th September 2013, 18:44 Quote
Seems great to me. Previously mentioned advantages over sharing login info such as not having shop access in my name and the ability to continue chat on my account are major benefits. I would be far more willing to share with people such as fellow Bit-techers who, great as they may be, are still quantum-like beings whose existence is in a superposition until being observed as online and are not to be trusted with account details.

(Minigame: guess what article I read before this one.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Last time I trusted my friends with unrestricted access to my Xbox 360, I discovered my avatar cross-dressing.
That's why I stay ahead of the game and cross dress preemptively.
AlienwareAndy 12th September 2013, 21:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Last time I trusted my friends with unrestricted access to my Xbox 360, I discovered my avatar cross-dressing.

haha thankfully my friends are like me and have a bit of a flat sense of humour :)

Mind you my childhood friends played some pretty horrific gags on me.

I will never forget waking up and going to pull up my hood, only to find that one of them had put a live frog in there. I've never jumped so high :D
Paulg1971 12th September 2013, 23:27 Quote
I think this is good, my lad want to play quite a few games on from my steam account, he plays team fortress 2 a lot and now he will be able to log on his own account and get his own achivements cause he is 10 he enjoys getting these. There will be no more of loads of saved games as well so I will welcome this.
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