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Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending

Valve announces Steam Family Sharing will launch next week in limited beta form, allowing players to lend games to family and friends. Here's a bit from the FAQ: "Family Sharing is enabled in one of two ways: You can either locally enable sharing in Account Settings, with Family Sharing & Devices, or remotely respond to a userís Steam request to share your previously installed games via email." Here's the announcement:

September 11, 2013 - Steam Family Sharing, a new service feature that allows close friends and family members to share their libraries of Steam games, is coming to Steam, a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC, Mac, and Linux games and software. The feature will become available next week, in limited beta on Steam.

Steam Family Sharing is designed for close friends and family members to play one another's Steam games while each earning their own Steam achievements and storing their own saves and application data to the Steam cloud. It's all enabled by authorizing a shared computer.

"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."

Once a device is authorized, the lender's library of Steam games becomes available for others on the machine to access, download, and play. Though simultaneous usage of an account's library is not allowed, the lender may always access and play his games at any time. If he decides to start playing when a friend is borrowing one of his games, the friend will be given a few minutes to either purchase the game or quit playing.

For more information about Steam Family Sharing and the beta program, please visit http://store.steampowered.com/sharing/.

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24. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 15:14 SimplyMonk
 
I was thinking if someone could abuse this by creating a new Steam account every time they purchase a title in order to get around the limitations of the 10 PCs and simultaneous playing of any two games in a single library, but then I realized you could already do this in the current environment with the added step of having to share the Steam account credentials with a friend.

All in all, this sounds intriguing, but not being able play any game in the library while my wife is playing any game in hers is very limiting. All you really are doing here is removing the need to pass around Steam Account credentials and earn achievements for your own account.

Obviously of benefit to people you don't feel comfortable giving your Steam credentials to or if you care about badges... But personally a little "meh".
 
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23. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 15:11 WaltC
 
Reading the FAQ, it looks like the lender can authorize up to a total of 10 devices (or computers) for the shared accounts, thus a "shared computer" is merely one that is designated by the lender and so doesn't apparently have to be in the same house, etc.

The next part is less than clear, but it *sounds like* what gets shared is the lender's *entire game library* which then becomes accessible to only *one* computer or device at a time, out of the total ten devices or computers the lender has designated as shared. If I read this correctly, it means that you cannot have ten people simultaneously sharing the same library but each playing a different game from that Library--if true, that sort of puts a damper on the whole concept, imo. It then appears that whenever the lender enters his own loaned game library and starts playing a game, the borrower is then booted out of the shared game he was playing and prompted by the Steam program to buy the game he was sharing with the lender.

It's *sort of* close to what actually happens when you loan out your game DVD to a friend: when you ask for your game back then the borrower either has to stop playing the game (presumably because of some sort of DRM that requires a disk in the drive--or the "honor system" *choke*) or else buy his own copy of the game. I say "sort of" because if someone owns ten separate game DVDs he could actually lend each one of them out to a different person and all ten people could play those games at the same time.

Apparently, when the Steam game library is loaned to two people then Steam has no way of stopping two people from simultaneously playing the same game at the same time since both are playing from an approved & legitimate game library. I guess that's why the "one at a time" rule is in force here. I guess we'll know more in a short while.

Should Microsoft ever decide to bring back xBone game library sharing it will likely work exactly like this. This may yet happen with the xBone once the public forgets what it was it *thought* Microsoft was promising...;) (ten people all playing from one person's shared game library at the same time, etc.)

 
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22. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 15:11 Verno
 
DangerDog wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 15:09:
Going to be creating new accounts for major game purchases, what do you think is a fair price to charge for renting a game for a few days?

Oh man, I didn't even think about that. All you need for Steam is an email these days, don't even need the CC anymore due to Wallet cards being sold at retail. I suspect they would get pissed at a bunch of account creations from a single IP though.
 
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21. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 15:09 DangerDog
 
Going to be creating new accounts for major game purchases, what do you think is a fair price to charge for renting a game for a few days?  
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20. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 15:02  Blue 
 
nin wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:51:
Is there a limit to the number of devices I can authorize to share my Library?

Yes. A Steam account may authorize Family Sharing on up to 10 devices at a given time.

Reading is fun!


Added this for clarity: "Family Sharing is enabled in one of two ways: You can either locally enable sharing in Account Settings, with Family Sharing & Devices, or remotely respond to a userís Steam request to share your previously installed games via email."
 
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19. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:55 Verno
 
As pointed out already nin, that just means you can have up to 10 authorized PCs to potentially share to. It is still one at a time for actually sharing which is the important part. I'm assuming it does this based on logins but I guess we'll have to see. It would kind of suck if I got home from work, took the PC out of sleep mode to idle and it gave the library share warning to whoever was using my stuff.

One thing is for sure though, slots to access Prez's gaming library are going to be like winning the lottery! Dibs Prez!

I don't think they have much of choice, Valve is the king of digital distribution and can bully publishers into it. If they take their games off of Steam their sales will suffer significantly.

Fortunately Valve uses this power for good instead of evil.

I don't know, I think it's more likely that the consoles are going to be doing this sort of thing anyway so the pubs went along with it. I know the PS4 and Xbox One both let you login on a friends console and access your entire library.

This comment was edited on Sep 11, 2013, 15:01.
 
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18. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:53 Warskull
 
nin wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:12:
Really amazed publishers went along with this - but it's also a great tool to get people to buy games, if they like them, but get locked out once the original owner wants to play...


I don't think they have much of choice, Valve is the king of digital distribution and can bully publishers into it. If they take their games off of Steam their sales will suffer significantly.

Fortunately Valve uses this power for good instead of evil.
 
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17. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:51 nin
 
Is there a limit to the number of devices I can authorize to share my Library?

Yes. A Steam account may authorize Family Sharing on up to 10 devices at a given time.

Reading is fun!

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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16. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:50 Verno
 
m00t wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:46:
The limitation that I think most people will run into is that only one person can use the library at a time.

IE, You're playing Counter-Strike from my library, and I log in to play Skyrim, you will get booted off.

I think it'll still be good for "Hey, you have got to try XYZ game!" or if you're a 2 PC household and one person is at work and you want to play the new game they just got without using their computer.

It's a (good) marketing tool and could be good for giving kids access to games for fixed periods of time without having to buy games for their account directly.

I guess this is good for those scenarios and things like playing a buddies games while hes on vacation or etc. I think it would be huge if they let you as the lender play your own library while someone else is doing so and simply didn't let you play the same games simultaneously. Seems like a better solution than all or nothing but they probably had a hard enough time getting the pubs on board as it is, so yeah baby steps.
 
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15. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:46 m00t
 
The limitation that I think most people will run into is that only one person can use the library at a time.

IE, You're playing Counter-Strike from my library, and I log in to play Skyrim, you will get booted off.

I think it'll still be good for "Hey, you have got to try XYZ game!" or if you're a 2 PC household and one person is at work and you want to play the new game they just got without using their computer.

It's a (good) marketing tool and could be good for giving kids access to games for fixed periods of time without having to buy games for their account directly.
 
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14. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:42 Verno
 
NKD wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:26:
ldonyo wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:20:
More than kind of useless. You may as well share your actual account, since only one account can use any one of the shared games at any time.

Yeah it's basically only useful for people who are already sharing one PC but just want an extra name to keep their friends lists separate.

Well it would be more like separate achievements, game saves, etc. There is some merit to the concept, we'll just have to see what the execution ends up like.


Yea- I just re-read the FAQ and it's not a single-PC scheme at all.

Yeah on further reading it seems like it could definitely be one authorized PC other than the account owner. I am a bit confused by this entry though:

Is there a limit to the number of devices I can authorize to share my Library?
Yes. A Steam account may authorize Family Sharing on up to 10 devices at a given time. Can I share specific games, or do I have to share my whole library? Libraries are shared and borrowed in their entirety.

So it sounds like you have up to 10 total PCs in the sharing list but only one authorized PC can access your library at the same time.
 
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13. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:41 Fibrocyte
 
NKD wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:30:
Silicon Avatar wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:29:
From what I understand of it this is exactly what I want. I can "lend" games to my wife on her PC's Steam account (or whatever) while I play something else on my Steam account.

She can play Skyrim on her PC, I can play Fallout on mine. We buy one copy instead of two (because why would I buy two copies for one household - that always bugged me).


Gotta use a shared PC bro.

Hmmm... it says that if I look at my son's game library and see a game that I want to play, then I simply send him an a request to authorize MY PC to play HIS games. Once approved, I can play his games.

Yea- I just re-read the FAQ and it's not a single-PC scheme at all.
 
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12. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:40 NKD
 
Ah, here we go, not QUITE as useless as initially feared. From their FAQ:

Yes. A Steam account may authorize Family Sharing on up to 10 devices at a given time.
 
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11. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:37 Necrophob
 
So does this mean I can play the couple of games I bought on an old account (that are installed on the same computer) on my main account? I don't have to log into the old account to play those games? I still wish I could just move them to the current account.  
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10. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:33 Silicon Avatar
 
NKD wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:30:
Silicon Avatar wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:29:
From what I understand of it this is exactly what I want. I can "lend" games to my wife on her PC's Steam account (or whatever) while I play something else on my Steam account.

She can play Skyrim on her PC, I can play Fallout on mine. We buy one copy instead of two (because why would I buy two copies for one household - that always bugged me).


Gotta use a shared PC bro.

That wasn't how I read it. If that is how it's setup it's totally useless. It sounds to me like you can authorize other PCs. I guess we'll see.

 
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9. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:30 NKD
 
Silicon Avatar wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:29:
From what I understand of it this is exactly what I want. I can "lend" games to my wife on her PC's Steam account (or whatever) while I play something else on my Steam account.

She can play Skyrim on her PC, I can play Fallout on mine. We buy one copy instead of two (because why would I buy two copies for one household - that always bugged me).


Gotta use a shared PC bro.
 
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8. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:29 Silicon Avatar
 
From what I understand of it this is exactly what I want. I can "lend" games to my wife on her PC's Steam account (or whatever) while I play something else on my Steam account.

She can play Skyrim on her PC, I can play Fallout on mine. We buy one copy instead of two (because why would I buy two copies for one household - that always bugged me).

 
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7. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:26 Beamer
 
nin wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:12:
Really amazed publishers went along with this - but it's also a great tool to get people to buy games, if they like them, but get locked out once the original owner wants to play...


I'm not too surprised. Most people already did this, they just shared accounts with family members. That muddled stat collecting. Now they can have individual accounts and not muddle the stats. And it still requires multiple copies for multiplayer.
 
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6. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:26 NKD
 
ldonyo wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:20:
More than kind of useless. You may as well share your actual account, since only one account can use any one of the shared games at any time.

Yeah it's basically only useful for people who are already sharing one PC but just want an extra name to keep their friends lists separate.
 
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5. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 14:24 Verno
 
NKD wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:13:
Kinda useless since you have to use the same PC to do it.

It's good for families and having friends over but yeah, seems more like a first step. I really just want to authorize a buddy to have my license to a game on separate machines and steam accounts. It's fine if usage isn't simultaneous and based on a license revocation system or whatever.

edit: yeah, it is more than 1 PC but it's total library and not simultaneous, argh.

This comment was edited on Sep 11, 2013, 14:56.
 
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