Stream Launches Game Sharing Via Computers
Through a program called Steam Family Sharing, users will be able to borrow computer games from their friends, and vice versa. The feature will be entering Beta next week (read the press release below). Up to ten friends can share digital games, but there’s a catch (there always is, isn’t there?):If a user allows a friend to be his/her sharing buddy, he can download any game off of that user’s account and play online. This includes saving files and game ranks. The catch is that you won’t be able to play the same game simultaneously. So as long as your friend is playing your favorite game, you won’t be able to join in the fun until your friends is done playing. It’s the same situation as if your friend is playing the game right from your computer, so it would make sense if you couldn’t play at the time. If a user tries to play the game while his sharing buddy is playing, a blurb will pop up suggesting that the game be purchased, or you will be booted out of the game.
One other thing that might be worth noting, is that not all games an be shared due to technical limitations. For example, games that require third party keys or subscriptions in order to play can’t be shared amongst friends.
Check out the press release from Steam:
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.
This idea might sound a little familiar to some of you, because it’s quite similar to one of the features that was supposed to launch with Xbox One in the ‘Family Sharing Plan’ before it was cut from the final release (although it come back one day).
For more details or to sign up during the beta phase, check out the official steam site here.