Friday, August 29, 2014
Out Of Nowhere, Valve Introduces Steam Family Sharing

Out Of Nowhere, Valve Introduces Steam Family Sharing

Share your games purchased on Steam with family and friends with Steam’s new feature: Family Sharing.

It seems you’ll be able to lend and borrow games to and from friends liberally, and the feature allows for the games to be downloaded, with Steam’s cloud storage handling the saves. If, however, you want to play a game that you’ve borrowed to a friend, and that person is playing the game, they’ll be given a few minutes to either quit the game or purchase it via Steam.

Sounds interesting, and very much familiar with Microsoft’s former Xbox One game-sharing feature which it cancelled when it abandoned its DRM and used game blocking features. Microsoft has said that it could bring back the feature in the future, however little was said as to when or how it’ll return.

Press Release:

Steam Family Sharing – Players who share computers can also share their Steam games

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

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to try this! How can I join the Family Sharing Beta?

To express interest in beta participation, join the Family Sharing Group on the Steam community. The Family Sharing beta will begin in mid-September, when a thousand Steam accounts from this group will be granted access to share their Steam libraries. You’ll know you’ve been selected when you receive an email from Steam inviting you to try out the new feature.

How do I enable Family Sharing on my computer?

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.

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.

Can all Steam games be shared with friends and family?

No, due to technical limitations, some Steam games may be unavailable for sharing. For example, titles that require an additional third-party key, account, or subscription in order to play cannot be shared between accounts.

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.

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.

Sometimes the games I’ve borrowed are unavailable for me to play. Why?

Borrowed games are only available on devices that have been authorized by the lender. Borrowed games will be unavailable on even an authorized device when the lender’s library is currently in use on another computer.

Who owns and can access the DLC and in-game content associated with a borrowed title?

A borrower will have access to the lender’s DLC, but borrowers may not purchase DLC for a base game they don’t own. Any player may purchase, trade, earn, or otherwise acquire in-game content while playing a game, but in-game items cannot be shared between accounts. These items remain the property of the account that purchased or acquired them, whether borrowing or lending the base game.

Can region-restricted content be shared across regions?

No, any region restrictions will remain in place when lending or borrowing content.

Will I be punished for any cheating or fraud conducted by other users while playing my games?

Your Family Sharing privileges may be revoked if your library is used by borrowers to conduct cheating or fraud. We recommend you only authorize familiar computers you know to be secure.

About Ernice Gilbert

Ernice Gilbert here. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Gamesthirst. Thanks for stopping by, make yourself at home!
  • Wolf1888

    Wow, this is awesome, but, won’t they loose a crap-ton of money doing this? I have a LOT of good friends with a lot of games that I am sure would not mind at all to share their complete game library with me.I was considering buying some of these games one day, as I wanted to try them, but now I won’t have to buy them? Strange.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is extremly amazing for the consumer, but on a business perspective, I believe it will stop their money from flowing in.

  • ernicegilbert

    Great points, Wolf. Another way to look at it is a Valve may be getting ready for the release of the official Steambox and what better way to get gamers interested in your console than an incentive like this.

  • Wolf1888

    You’re right, I didn’t think of the Steambox… It makes more sense, then.

  • ernicegilbert

    Yeah, looking forward to what Valve has to offer. At least to see what new it brings to the table.

  • Wolf1888

    Yeah, same here.