Steam Announces Family and Friends Sharing Beta
9/11/2013 by: Anshel Sag
In a move to keep gamers happy and to pre-empt Microsoft's own implementation of family sharing, Valve, the parent company of Steam, announced that they would be opening up a beta version of Steam's own Family Sharing program. This program will enable users to digitally share their games with their closest friends and family. Of course, with any such program, there will be limitations on what can and can't be shared including regional limitations as well.
This extends a user's ability to play on their own account on multiple computers and in multiple places. However, Family Share will have the same limitation as the standard account, which means that nobody can be logged into the same account at the same time. Personally, I prefer this method of DRM since it basically means that you or anyone that you know can essentially play with your personal license. The biggest problem, however, is that family sharing will still suffer any regional limitations that the game may already have, according to Valve's own FAQ.
Additionally, borrowing users will also have access to DLC, meaning that they do not have to repurchase the DLC that you have already obtained via promotional codes or through purchases. Additionally, you cannot share individual games, but rather entire game libraries, meaning that a friend or family member will gain access to all of your games, not just the ones that you select for them to use. I would prefer to be able to give certain users access to certain games and not to others, but perhaps that is more difficult to implement at the time of launch and hopefully they will implement this feature later on.
You will also be limited as to how many friends and family members will have access to your full library of games. Currently, Steam is limiting the amount of users that can access your library to a maximum of 10 users. This means that you could have a mixture of up to 10 friends and family members that could be accessing your entire library of games at any given time. This could also present a money saving opportunity to some friends that want to share an account and split the cost of their games between themselves or a few other people and are okay with not playing at the same time. Admittedly, I don't see this happening often, but it would be a nice thing to be able to do for friends that want to play a game that you have already finished and would like for them to try out.
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