Valve have announced a new service to allow family members and close friends to share their Steam game libraries, called Family Sharing.
Valve state that 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”. Anna Sweet of Valve explains:
“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. Family Sharing was created in direct response to these user requests.”
Family Sharing will work locally on a shared computer, and once a Steam device has been authorised, the lender can choose to make their library available for other Steam users on that same machine. Valve also explain that “while simultaneous usage of an account’s library is not allowed, the lender may always access and play his games at any time”. In this instance, if another user is borrowing a lender’s game, they will be requested to either purchase the game or quit playing.
Steam Family Sharing will be available next week through a limited beta of 1000 accounts. Users can register for the beta by joining the official Family Sharing group on Steam.