So far, digital acquired games have all the comforts but lacks one major drawback – you cannot give or share with other gamers. Online retailer Steam puts an end to this limitation. Valve has officially announced the opening of the new Family Sharing Steam service, which will allow players to share their games on the popular digital platform with friends and family.
Family Sharing is the name of the new service that allows Steam users to share a game with members of their own family, using multiple accounts. The idea was initially proposed by Microsoft with Xbox One, before being discarded in favor of more permissive policies on permanent connection and DRM.
The new feature will be available from next week in a limited beta; it will allow Steam users to share their library of games with ten other devices.
The system will operate in a very simple method. You will need to authorize the various accounts, at most 10, and then share the collection of games. The authorized person in this way will have the opportunity to download the games and use them on their PC. If you can see a game you would like to play, you can e-mail the owner to authorize your PC–once approved, their games will be available for you to play. Valve will let you share whole libraries, rather than lending specific games.
“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.”
However, as it is easy to imagine, the new system includes within certain restrictions. Up to 10 separate users can be approved for Family Sharing, and where it is required third party CD keys, games won’t be available to share. Shared libraries can only be played by one user at a time, too.
Download content can always be purchased only for selling, but not for borrowed games. However, all players involved this download content will be accessible. Regional restrictions will remain, so it will not be possible to use a game by Family-sharing in a region for which the game is not released.
Family sharing mimics Microsoft’s plans
The idea of Steam’s Family Sharing reminiscent Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox One. Microsoft also wanted to make it possible for games that were purchased by download or on disks to give to close friends and family members. The Redmond company planned that up to 10 family members will be able to log in and play purchased Xbox One games from anywhere.
The unique proposition addresses concerns from fans about being able to play where they want, and when they want. But the idea was later pulled because of customer backlash over always-on internet requirements.
Not disappointing the gamers, the company announced that it may bring back the feature along with trading of downloaded games, at some point in the future. In a latest development this week, Microsoft said it is trying to implement the ability to trade and loan digital games with friends.