Sharing guinea pigs

In a major development for PC gamers and digital distribution, Steam has announced Family Sharing. Yes, it’s only going into limited Beta, and there are plenty of restrictions, but this is a fantastic step in the right direction. Who wants to join my ‘family’?Steam announced their new Family Sharing program and it’s pretty awesome. It lets friends and family share each other’s games, earning their own Steam achievements and saving their progress to the Steam cloud. Well done, guys!

Now for the catches. According to the FAQs, a steam account can only authorize 10 devices at a time for Family Sharing. This will definitely help gamers determine who their ‘real’ friends and family are – who will you allow in your inner circle of Steam sharing?

Then there is the crazy part. When you authorize someone to join with you in Family Sharing, you give them access to your entire library. This library can only be accessed by one user at a time, and it is your entire library! So, if you want to spectate some Dota 2, you will have to kick your best friend out of FTL. As they explain:

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.

Still, at least this will allow people to test drive games, or play through brief games that are owned by friends or family. I would happily give up an hour of Steam time if it convinces someone of the awesomeness of Thomas Was Alone or Papers, Please – then you will be happy to go buy your own copy. Just don’t expect to run any marathon Civ 5 sessions.

Funny how Steam managed to add this feature that sounds so similar to what Microsoft was originally trying to do with the Xbox One, complete with the 24 hour check-in, but somehow, because it’s Valve, everything is dandy. Β Do you think this is a sign of things to come in the world of digital distribution? Are you prepared to start sharing your digital games?

Last Updated: September 12, 2013

1.1
was reviewed on PC

129 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief of Rivia

    September 12, 2013 at 08:00

    Awwwww yeah!!!!!!

    Reply

  2. Admiral Chief of Rivia

    September 12, 2013 at 08:00

    STOOOOOOM POWAAAAAAAA

    Reply

    • No Longer SIR Twakkus

      September 12, 2013 at 08:10

      Choo choo motherf… πŸ˜‰

      Reply

    • Skyblue

      September 13, 2013 at 21:45

      Finally read this (it’s been open in a tab since yesterday) and it’s actually BS. I would understand if I wanted to play the same game as a family member and only 1 instance of the title can run but to kick the sharing member out of a different game is rubbish. As it is I already “share” my library with my son for the SP and Indie titles and this proposed sharing system is exactly what we do atm.

      Reply

  3. Graeme

    September 12, 2013 at 08:00

    Bring on the sharing! All for this idea.Pity you would still have to both buy a game for multiplayer scenarios.

    Reply

  4. John on trial

    September 12, 2013 at 08:01

    Another reason why Steam is the best.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      September 12, 2013 at 08:06

      Best? Bestest? Foxhound?

      Reply

      • Its Just a Ride

        September 12, 2013 at 08:08

        dun dun dun…….

        Reply

      • Mossel

        September 12, 2013 at 08:08

        LOL!

        Reply

      • John on trial

        September 12, 2013 at 08:12

        Wanted to say that, but couldn’t get myself to.

        Reply

      • Otto_ki

        September 12, 2013 at 08:32

        Foxhound…
        Fox…
        F…

        WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY!

        Reply

        • John on trial

          September 12, 2013 at 08:41

          Gering ting ting ting ting ting ting

          Reply

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 09:09

            2 minutes of my life I will never get back…

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 09:18

            I kinda liked it, but not the chorus

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 09:55

            Regtig dude? It so… very… brain dead….

          • Major FoxHoundR - what the fox

            September 12, 2013 at 09:57

            i like the song it has a fat beet.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 10:00

            You forgot to activate the sarcasm-detector there Twakkie πŸ˜‰

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 10:34

            Damn this stupid thing. Must have pressed the wrong button!

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          September 12, 2013 at 08:44

          LOL

          Reply

        • Major FoxHoundR - what the fox

          September 12, 2013 at 09:51

          i say xbox one has won

          Reply

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          September 12, 2013 at 10:01

          EPIC AVATAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Reply

      • Major FoxHoundR - what the fox

        September 12, 2013 at 09:50

        bestsest

        Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:12

      You are implying its better than consoles?????

      BUSTED

      Reply

      • John on trial

        September 12, 2013 at 08:13

        It’s the best platform on pc. I haven’t had my coffee yet…give me a while

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          September 12, 2013 at 08:14

          Yesterday was but merely the warm up session, today, you will be broken

          Reply

          • John on trial

            September 12, 2013 at 08:16

            I bend, I don’t break.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 08:16

            We shall see πŸ˜‰

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            September 12, 2013 at 08:45

            Pretzels are bent & yet they too eventually break. mwuhaha MWUHAHAHAHAHHA… eish, where did that come from?

          • John on trial

            September 12, 2013 at 08:49

            Haha. I think we all harden eventually when put in an oven for a period of time.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 08:52

            I’m doing this for your own good, although the awesome steam news has me all giddy, so I need to become more seriaaaas

          • John on trial

            September 12, 2013 at 09:07

            Steam does that to a man.

      • SaintsRowLee

        September 12, 2013 at 08:20

        Hey, I am a console fanperson and even I have to admit Steam is quite cool. So no. No trolling took place…

        Reply

        • Mossel

          September 12, 2013 at 08:23

          lol @ fanperson.

          Reply

  5. DenDestroy

    September 12, 2013 at 08:05

    My laaitie is going to be like a kid in a candy store when I tell him about this. πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:11

      Hehehehe, let us know how that goes! So much win right here!

      Reply

  6. Hammersteyn

    September 12, 2013 at 08:07

    Good guy Steam!

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:11

      Aye, so much win here!

      Reply

  7. Mossel

    September 12, 2013 at 08:07

    This is truly fantastic! Now there is no more excuses for pirating a game to test it.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:11

      Indeed

      Reply

    • John on trial

      September 12, 2013 at 08:15

      Yes. But I still think we have to be very weary of that petition to not bring GTA V to pc. If we’re not careful it will reach 50 votes.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief of Rivia

        September 12, 2013 at 08:16

        Heh, good troll, I’ll let that one slide πŸ˜‰

        Reply

  8. A 2 Brute?

    September 12, 2013 at 08:10

    I would happily share my games with my friends and family members. If I am not playing at a certain time, why deny them the opportunity to experience something truly great, like Bioshock Infinite, or a whole horde of other games? I say three cheers for Steam!

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:10

      3 x 3 cheeeers!!!!

      Reply

  9. Admiral Chief of Rivia

    September 12, 2013 at 08:11

    I believe this will further boost sales, since it whets your appetite for an awesome game, then you wanna jam with your friends, then you buy buy buy!!!

    Reply

    • A 2 Brute?

      September 12, 2013 at 08:12

      Imagine the next summer sale o_0

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief of Rivia

        September 12, 2013 at 08:12

        BAJILLIONS OF SALES!!!

        Reply

  10. Mossel

    September 12, 2013 at 08:12

    I always struggle to get my friends to play something that I play. Now I can simply say: “Hey bru, like check it out, bru.”

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:13

      EPIC!!

      Reply

    • John on trial

      September 12, 2013 at 08:13

      Yea, that’s exactly how us cool guys speak

      Reply

      • Mossel

        September 12, 2013 at 08:16

        I know, right?

        Reply

      • Mossel

        September 12, 2013 at 08:17

        Or in Afrikaans: “Awe bra, check die kak, bra!”

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          September 12, 2013 at 08:18

          Or in real Afrikaans “Genugtig my vriend, ek het iets asemrowends om jou aan bloot te stel”

          Reply

          • Mossel

            September 12, 2013 at 08:22

            LOL! That could also work.

          • McDangerousZa

            September 12, 2013 at 09:08

            LOL? Lag Onophoudelik Luidrigtig?

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 09:18

            LKH, Lag Klip Hard

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 09:18

            Also, your avatar, so much lulz there!

          • John on trial

            September 12, 2013 at 08:22

            Respek

          • SaintsRowLee

            September 12, 2013 at 08:46

            Soos ‘n Baas gestel. (Klink net nie dieselfde nie)

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 08:52

            Haha

          • Mossel

            September 12, 2013 at 09:28

            Ek stem. Dit klink beter!

          • ZackFirst

            September 12, 2013 at 10:09

            loool no

  11. Admiral Chief of Rivia

    September 12, 2013 at 08:13

    When I read this last night I was so excited I had trouble calming down to go to bed

    Reply

  12. Alien Emperor Trevor

    September 12, 2013 at 08:14

    Steam has made quite a few major changes/additions recently. Big Picture mode, Steam Workshop integration, Community Hub updates, Trading Cards, now this – which is also a pretty cool feature.

    It seems a bit restrictive that if you share you library with a friend that he can’t play anything of yours while you’re busy, but I’d be surprised to see if that doesn’t change over time.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:15

      Its a good thing for their sales, else ppl would abuse the system

      Reply

  13. Admiral Chief of Rivia

    September 12, 2013 at 08:16

    Awesome header as well

    Reply

  14. No Longer SIR Twakkus

    September 12, 2013 at 08:20

    I think (I know, its dangerous when that happens) there are 2 reasons why this is received so well versus the Xbone saga:
    1. Steam is the god of digital distribution, all hail Steam and the mighty Gabe Newell.
    2. Microsoft did such a bad job at showing what they intend to do with Xbone online capabilities, except for TV, that they killed their own product before it was launched. Also they took away ALL of the cool features instead of only the always online crap.

    I am happy with this, except that I cant play my games when my brother plays, and is a huge leap in the right direction. Now I can finally convince them to buy ARMA and Borderlands, the cheap bastard πŸ˜‰

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:22

      You hit the nail on the head there sir twakkus

      Reply

      • Mossel

        September 12, 2013 at 08:24

        Has he earned his “Sir” title back?

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          September 12, 2013 at 08:25

          Indeed

          Reply

        • No Longer SIR Twakkus

          September 12, 2013 at 08:26

          Yes please, I am tired of being a peasant. I also want to come and sit at the cool table again πŸ™

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 08:27

            Most welcome brother, that comment was pure awesomeness!

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 08:32

            What is this wet stuff on my face!

          • Brady miaau

            September 12, 2013 at 08:37

            beer? Wine? spirits? Tea? coffee? Tea?
            Sweat from some manly activity, like mowing the lawn on fast forward or shaving in the car with an Ax.

            What else can it be?

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 08:42

            It must be the blood of the thousand decapitated foes I slayed before brushing teeth with a freshly shopped tree branch this morning… Hooha!

          • Mossel

            September 12, 2013 at 09:30

            Thats what she said!!

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 09:51

            Het so gewag vir daardie comment πŸ˜‰

          • Mossel

            September 12, 2013 at 11:52

            hahaha ek was actually verbaas niemand het dit gese voor my nie!

          • Unavengedavo (aka. Frik)

            September 12, 2013 at 08:33

            You can always join me at my table! Just remember, if they are cooler than you, then you are hotter than them ;P

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 08:42

            Except in my case πŸ˜›

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 08:50

            Make the circle bigger! I shall join your table as well and then we shall join them together and become the republic of Pangaea!!

          • Unavengedavo (aka. Frik)

            September 12, 2013 at 08:54

            No, you have it all wrong. We must make them want to join our table, and then deny them the privileged as they denied us!

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 09:10

            What shall we call our table dear sir?

          • Unavengedavo (aka. Frik)

            September 12, 2013 at 09:19

            Inalcanzable!

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 09:19

            Gezundheit

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 09:54

            Then I, as chair of Inalcanzable, hereby declare Inalcanzable a republic! Our national song will be “What sound does the Fox make”!

          • That Tall Twit

            September 12, 2013 at 11:16

            ROFL!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      September 12, 2013 at 08:22

      One thing everyone forgets with Steam – it’s free. So when they do something like this, it’s great, because they didn’t have too.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief of Rivia

        September 12, 2013 at 08:23

        True dat Trev, true dat

        Reply

      • No Longer SIR Twakkus

        September 12, 2013 at 08:29

        Well technically it is not free but I agree. They didnt have to do it. And thats one thing I appreciate about Steam and Valve. They are always trying to improve themselves and improve their customer relationship. Now if only they would release something that begins with H and ends with 3.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          September 12, 2013 at 08:41

          As much as I’d love HL E3, I think they shouldn’t do it, unless it’s a full fledged game release as opposed to an episode. Can you imagine waiting years for a episode lasting a couple of hours lol And it’ll never live up to expectations.

          Reply

          • No Longer SIR Twakkus

            September 12, 2013 at 08:51

            True, I expect they wont release E3 but make it a full fledged game. Otherwise the hype will kill it.

    • That Tall Twit

      September 12, 2013 at 10:32

      Can just imagine how pissed off Microsuck is knowing that Steam is pulling off something that they can not.

      Reply

      • No Longer SIR Twakkus

        September 12, 2013 at 10:38

        Can only imagine. Probably now throwing darts at Gabes’ face. To be fair, when Steam launched and made it mandatory to activate HL2, all hell also broke out. But they mad it that you could run it offline after activation. I think that was their saving grace.

        Reply

  15. SaintsRowLee

    September 12, 2013 at 08:29

    Wouldn’t this in effect then nullify Steam’s offline mode?

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      September 12, 2013 at 08:36

      That’s a good question. Wonder how they’ll handle offline mode – it has a 24 hour check in (for the sharing), but that could be easily circumvented.

      Reply

      • SaintsRowLee

        September 12, 2013 at 08:53

        How though? I cannot think it would be as simple as setting the PC clock back a few hours…

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          September 12, 2013 at 09:02

          Well once the sharing is set up, what’s to stop the owner from starting Steam in offline mode & playing their game, while friend is online playing something from the shared library.

          Reply

    • Unavengedavo (aka. Frik)

      September 12, 2013 at 08:42

      Agreed, that is a good question. I was thinking the same thing.

      Reply

  16. Alien Emperor Trevor

    September 12, 2013 at 08:47

    Also, that is the cutest header ever.

    Reply

  17. caponeil

    September 12, 2013 at 08:54

    Can you spell “Juggernaut”? Steam does a lot of good in brining Digital media to a mainstream market..Love it!

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 08:56

      S.T.E.A.M. I.S. T.H.E. B.E.S.T.

      Did I spell it correctly?

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        September 12, 2013 at 09:02

        No, it’s B.E.S.T.E.S.T.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          September 12, 2013 at 09:03

          Fox?

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            September 12, 2013 at 09:04

            Or maybe it’s the steamiest? I like the sound of that.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            September 12, 2013 at 09:05

            Die stoomste?

          • John on trial

            September 12, 2013 at 09:06

            This is starting to sound more and more like an ION header

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            September 12, 2013 at 09:08

            “PC gaming, where the fun is steamier…”

          • Unavengedavo (aka. Frik)

            September 12, 2013 at 09:23

            Think some people are getting the same reaction out of this news πŸ˜›

          • Mossel

            September 12, 2013 at 09:32

            F.O.X.

  18. PS4-HIPSTA

    September 12, 2013 at 09:34

    What BS is this? PS4 don’t have this junk family BS. Who wants to buy games online? Who wants to share their games with friends? Who has friends anyways?

    You don’t know where their hands have been before letting them touch games!!!!!!!

    This is just an evil plot by Microsuxxxxors to push digital game distro’s on errryone.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 09:39

      pfffff

      Reply

      • PS4-HIPSTA

        September 12, 2013 at 10:09

        Physical pffff to your digital pfffffffffffffff

        Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      September 12, 2013 at 09:40

      watch out buddy – them be fighting words in this ‘master race’ article!

      Reply

      • PS4-HIPSTA

        September 12, 2013 at 12:12

        According to other gaming sites, launching any game in a shared library will kick out the other user from whatever games you’ve shared with them.

        Reply

  19. FoxOneZA - X-Therminator

    September 12, 2013 at 09:38

    Good on Steam for pushing gaming forward.

    Reply

  20. Rudi

    September 12, 2013 at 09:51

    I am ashamed to admit that I once hated Steam (when I got Half Life 2 in Dec 2004) – now I cannot stop singing its praises, it’s the best thing since sliced bread! So, how many games do you guys have in your libraries? Just hit 192 this morning thanks to the Humble Bundle…

    Reply

    • Devourer of Small Bunnies

      September 12, 2013 at 09:54

      Everyone did. I had to use my stupid xperia to try and DL steam and activate, update the games and all that jazz. It was absolute murder. Viva dsl, am I right?

      Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      September 12, 2013 at 09:55

      I think everyone hated Steam back in those days. They certainly have come a long way!

      Reply

    • Major FoxHoundR - what the fox

      September 12, 2013 at 09:56

      I wasnt born than but ive never liked steam. it has a funny name

      Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 10:30

      Nice one, I’m only on 71….

      But I too, hated Steam back then, but for the wrong reason

      Reply

    • No Longer SIR Twakkus

      September 12, 2013 at 10:41

      Tell me about it. I tried activating my steam account for HL2 with a 52k dialup. And for some reason I could only go up to 80% and then had to start over. After that I pirated the game to play it. But now, like you, I cant stop singing its praise.

      Reply

  21. Devourer of Small Bunnies

    September 12, 2013 at 09:52

    There was word of this found in the source code not too long ago, perhaps June or so. So no, valve didnt copy xbone (thankfully)

    I think this will potentially help diminish the piracy scene somewhat within the master race. I know of too many folks who only pirate a game due to the fact that no one really trusts day one purchases or even online reviews. Give the game a quick dry run, and they either buy it if they like it or they simply just remove it. That being said theres still a load of folk who do it just for getting out a quick buck but I really like this idea. As with anything, if you take freedoms away people will falter, however provide them with said freedoms and most people tend to shine.

    On an unrelated note. All hail Gabe. Master of the universe, teaser of the trilogy.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      September 12, 2013 at 10:29

      “teaser of the trilogy”

      Indeed

      Reply

  22. Major FoxHoundR - what the fox

    September 12, 2013 at 09:55

    i like this but why wod i share with my family they can buy their own games. my dad buys my games for me so he can buy his own games im not sharing with anytone.

    Reply

  23. ZackFirst

    September 12, 2013 at 10:10

    good to see South Africans πŸ˜€ here :PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

    Reply

  24. Wesley Fick

    September 12, 2013 at 10:39

    I think this is a great option for families sharing a single computer. Buy one copy of certain games, share it between everyone – this would work really well in my household. I think this is also gearing up for a Steambox, because game sharing on a Steambox would be a requirement for Valve to compete with consoles.

    Reply

  25. DrKiller

    September 12, 2013 at 12:03

    Cool, so now we only need one Humble Bundle per “family” πŸ™‚

    Reply

  26. Lardus-Respect the beard

    September 12, 2013 at 13:32

    They make it voluntary with an “On/Off” switch…Microsoft wanted to force it on everyone with always online DRM. HUGE difference!

    Reply

    • Marc O Polo

      September 13, 2013 at 07:34

      the thing microsoft seemed to miss was that the complaints were not about what they were trying to achieve but how they were going about it. a simple “offline” mode in your setting that disables the sharing and there would have been no problem. the not being able to actually share your physical discs is another story thou…

      Reply

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