Want to Share Your Steam Game Collection? Beta Starts Next Week!

sharing-is-caringDirect from the horse’s mouth:

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 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.

Sound too good to be true? Well, that’s because you didn’t read the FAQ at the above link. Third party games using a unique key or account cannot be shared. Additionally, while you can authorize 10 other computers to share your library, only one, including yourself can actually use a given library at a time. Regional restrictions may also apply. Still, even with the fine print, it is once heck of a wonderful step forward for digital distribution.

Of course, Steam REALLY needs parental controls now!

One thousand applicants will be selected for the beta program starting next week with Steam Family Sharing going live for everyone whenever the heck Valve feels like it.

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