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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 user’s 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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64. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 17:12 Prez
 
This is a minor improvement over letting my kids log in with my account credentials on their machines, so yay! \o/  
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63. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 09:17 Verno
 
Tim1_2 wrote on Sep 12, 2013, 07:52:
This is actually a good feature, and a step in the right direction. People are complaining about it, but it's something Valve didn't have to do at all.

Steam will never let you give away games out of your library, or enable simultaneous use of the same game between accounts...that would just be a horrible business decision.

That's not what people want though, no one seriously thought they would get simultaneous usage of the same game, that's just silly. They want the ability to lend a game they are no longer playing to a friend or family member. It can have arbitrary time limits, could only be done once and other restrictions but at least it would be genuinely useful. Companies need to make money and people understand that but this doesn't need to impact their bottom line. People are complaining because they've been clamoring for that and instead you end up with a completely different implementation that isn't terribly useful outside of a few niche scenarios.

This is essentially account sharing without sharing the account password and it's arguably more awkward than the current workaround.

You're right though that it's a first step and things are moving in the right direction.
 
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62. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 07:52 Tim1_2
 
This is actually a good feature, and a step in the right direction. People are complaining about it, but it's something Valve didn't have to do at all.

Steam will never let you give away games out of your library, or enable simultaneous use of the same game between accounts...that would just be a horrible business decision.

Steam is pretty great, and while it didn't "save" PC gaming, it IS the reason why we have as many quality PC titles as we do.
 
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61. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 04:19 NKD
 
Iurand wrote on Sep 12, 2013, 04:05:

It could be very useful for people with one account per game.

People do this? I have hundreds of games on Steam...
 
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60. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 04:05 Iurand
 
NKD wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:26:
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.

It could be very useful for people with one account per game. They can share all them with one and never again relog and also playing one game will turn off only one of those accounts, rest should be perfectly available.

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).

Then it is exactly not what you want.

Can a friend and I share a library and both play at the same time?
No, a shared library may only be accessed by one user at a time.


avianflu wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 15:59:
It definitely creates awkwardness when your guest currently is playing a game from your library and then you login, effectively booting him off during that game?? So it is a pass for me. Unless I am misunderstanding how it works.

It wouldn't work with Empire Total War, because single engagements could take hours, but in Rome2 with ultra fast battles... Oh wait, no, turn times. Never mind then.

Cyant wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 16:24:
FINALLY I WILL KILL THE BOSS!!! YES YES!!!! *You have been kicked from the game because the owner of the library launched Super Meat Boy" NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Better get efficient with boss killing.

When I authorize a device to lend my library to others, do I limit my own ability to access and play my games?

As the lender, you may always access and play your games at any time. If you decide to start playing when a friend is already playing one of your games, he/she will be given a few minutes to either purchase the game or quit playing.

The Half Elf wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 18:50:
Ok where is Prez? I want to be his bestest friend ever

Ok. What's the deal with his library?

Ladron3dfx wrote on Sep 12, 2013, 01:47:
It's not your game library, it's theirs. You don't buy games on Steam, you buy subscriptions. You buy access.

I have a better solution.

Buy your games on GOG.com, any game, play it, burn it, lend it to a friend or gift it.

Yeah, except it could be kinda hard with steam games.

This comment was edited on Sep 12, 2013, 04:27.
 
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59. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 02:32 Dev
 
I got dibs on Prez's library!

Aw who am I kidding, my own almost 1000 game library is nothing to sneeze at.

Edit: More like 4th or 5th dibs. Oh well as long as its first 10

This comment was edited on Sep 12, 2013, 02:38.
 
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58. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 02:00 Flo
 
Steam Family Sharing sounds awesome. Where have I heard it before? Oh, I remember, when opinions on twitter staked MS with pitchforks at E3.  
Supporter of the "Chewbacca Defense"
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57. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 01:47 Ladron3dfx
 
It's not your game library, it's theirs. You don't buy games on Steam, you buy subscriptions. You buy access.

I have a better solution.

Buy your games on GOG.com, any game, play it, burn it, lend it to a friend or gift it.

No restrictions, no authentication, no 30 day offline mode limitation, no subscriptions, no DRM.

You can't even share one simple damn game on Steam, it needs to be the whole goddamn account!?!

This comment was edited on Sep 12, 2013, 04:13.
 
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56. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 12, 2013, 00:03 Mashiki Amiketo
 
NKD wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 14:13:
Kinda useless since you have to use the same PC to do it.
It's a pain, but I have my sisters PC in Alberta authorized for when I'm out there, and my home PC as well. But I'll be heading out there in a month or two, and with any luck I'll be able to see when I'm back on the east coast if it still works. I'm guessing it will, without too much of a problem.
 
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55. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 21:37 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
Aero wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 19:27:
All I want is the ability to transfer a license to a game I no longer play to another Steam user. I can't play it while they're playing it, which the client could easily enforce. That should all be perfectly legal.

Very simple. When it gets there and that simple, that will be a pretty cool thing. What they're describing now is way too unclear.


I want this also, but something tells me they will NOT ever allow this, as it'll encourage people to not buy games, but play a patient trading game. It'd be great for us, but not so great for Valve, so I can't see them really allowing it.
 
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54. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 19:27 Aero
 
All I want is the ability to transfer a license to a game I no longer play to another Steam user. I can't play it while they're playing it, which the client could easily enforce. That should all be perfectly legal.

Very simple. When it gets there and that simple, that will be a pretty cool thing. What they're describing now is way too unclear.

 
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53. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 19:10 Ray Marden
 
It's a good start, but I really want a way to enable two separate games on the same account to be played at the same time, even if there are some special restrictions/authorizations put in place.

Good news: My wife likes gaming - I can get away with a lot gaming or we'll even game together.

Bad news: My wife likes gaming - I have to maintain two PCs and buy additional copies of games I already own.

I have about 220 or so games, but I only have 30 or so actively installed. I have no problem restricting my access to the other 190 so she (or friends, down the road...) can play them.

Or why not a demo mode? If somebody is on my friends list, they can play a game I own for 2-3 hours (while I lose access temporarily) and then they are given an option to buy it at a discounted rate.
Stupid publishers.
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52. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 18:50 The Half Elf
 
Ok where is Prez? I want to be his bestest friend ever  
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51. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:54 Kosumo
 
Cyant wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 16:24:
FINALLY I WILL KILL THE BOSS!!! YES YES!!!! *You have been kicked from the game because the owner of the library launched Super Meat Boy" NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet, buy your own copy of Super Meat Boy if you enjoy it that much. Simple.

Or do you just want free stuff?
 
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50. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:52 Asmo
 
Cutter wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 17:35:
Looks like there's considerable confusion over this that needs to be cleared up as to the nuts and bolts of how it all exactly works.

Indeed, although I'm somewhat optimistic that at some point, they'll enable access so the owner can be logged in playing one game, and the borrower can be logged in playing another. Maybe some sort of check out/in system rather than access to the entire library.

The biggest boon from this for me is that I can set up a PC for my son which he can screw with to his hearts desire (staying away from my pristine unfucked games PC), and he can play my considerable library when I'm not online. Previously, I would have had to let him use my computer or buy a second copy. Certainly a step in the right direction for the enabling of users to share their content, particularly games they've already played and uninstalled.
 
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49. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:35 Cutter
 
Looks like there's considerable confusion over this that needs to be cleared up as to the nuts and bolts of how it all exactly works.
 
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48. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:27 LurkerLito
 
Redmask wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 17:17:
I can't really see that happening any time soon without many restrictions, that would be open to a lot of abuse. It would be very useful but people would definitely abuse the hell out of it with glorified rental services, game swapping accounts and more. To do it they would need to come up with some major restrictions to curtail that sort of thing.

Yeah I agree. If they did then people would stop buying the games even on sale. But if they did implement it then they would absolutely have to restrict how often you can add/remove people from your 10 sharing slots and add a bunch of other restrictions that might make it more of a pain so that people will prefer to buy it on sale than wait for one of their friends to get the game and play it that way.
 
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47. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:17 Redmask
 
LurkerLito wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 17:15:
It should be shared with 10 people and it should allow simultaneous access to games the owner specifies he is willing to share with that person and as long as the owner or another one of the 10 people are not already playing the game he wants to play, they should be able to regardless if the owner is logged into steam or playing a different game.

I can't really see that happening any time soon without many restrictions, that would be open to a lot of abuse. It would be very useful but people would definitely abuse the hell out of it with glorified rental services, game swapping accounts and more. To do it they would need to come up with some major restrictions to curtail that sort of thing.
 
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46. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:15 LurkerLito
 
avianflu wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 15:32:
Not remotely useful in real practice.

"simultaneous usage of an account's library is not allowed" = dealbreaker

Agreed pretty useless for me also. I am generally always logged into steam when my PC is running even if I am not playing games. That negates this as any kind of useful feature.

It should be shared with 10 people and it should allow simultaneous access to games the owner specifies he is willing to share with that person and as long as the owner or another one of the 10 people are not already playing the game he wants to play, they should be able to regardless if the owner is logged into steam or playing a different game.
 
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45. Re: Steam Family Sharing Announced; Will Allow Game Lending Sep 11, 2013, 17:10 Deathbishop
 
Krovven wrote on Sep 11, 2013, 16:42:
What happens if my Library is being shared (and in use) and I log in via the website or the mobile app? Will friends get booted then too? can I contact them via Steam message somehow to tell them I am logging in, save your game, etc?

I can see this being handy with a few longtime freinds on Steam, especially when some of us are working opposite hours, or just away from Steam for long periods, so a friend can play a game that I own or vice versa... (without sharing passwords).

I can see that. For example, my Steam library is currently dormant because I'm playing FFXIV.
 
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