Rumor: Game Sharing Coming To Steam

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Rumor: Game Sharing Coming To Steam

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Some buried code in the latest Steam client update has revealed something known as the "shared game library."

The "family sharing system," of the Xbox One is one of its most touted features, and will reportedly allow seamless game sharing between up to ten players on a single family account. Code diggers over at the NeoGAF forums have dug up a few lines of code suggesting that PC gaming platform Steam may be about to beat Microsoft to the punch.

The three lines of code allude to something called the "shared game library." Here are the relevant parts:

  • "SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicense_Title" "Shared game library"
  • "SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_OwnerText" "Just so you know, your games are currently in use by %borrower%. Playing now will send %borrower% a notice that it's time to quit."
  • "SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_BorrowerText" "This shared game is currently unavailable. Please try again later or buy this game for your own library."

From this it seems pretty obvious what the system is about. It looks like you will be able to put games in a "shared game library," which you can then allow your friends (or family) to access. Obviously, you can't both be playing the game at the same time, so if you want to go ahead and play that title it'll kick your friend off it.

Don't believe us? You can actually find the three lines of code for yourself to verify. Here's how:

  1. Update to Steam Beta. Steam > Settings > Beta Participation
  2. Go to you Steam/Public folder
  3. Open the steamui_english document

This sounds like some pretty amazing news if true. My friends are often trying to push various titles on each other, having the ability to just say "I'll lend you my copy and you can check it out," would be really great, and would ultimately lead to more copies sold.

Source: NeoGAF

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This is one of two things the Xbone looks to be doing better than Steam, and Steam is stealing it! Add a system that lets us trade our retail games (and maybe disable the required patching of single player games?) and we'll be friends again, Steam.

Maybe.

I think this is one of a few examples of a benevolent way to use DRM from a consumer standpoint. Great news if Valve chooses to implement it, and if it gets supported by publishers.

There are downsides as well, one could argue that this wouldn't have been necessary in the first place if the discs could be lended out. But the this digital solution makes lending more efficient.

Bostur:
I think this is one of a few examples of a benevolent way to use DRM from a consumer standpoint. Great news if Valve chooses to implement it, and if it gets supported by publishers.

There are downsides as well, one could argue that this wouldn't have been necessary in the first place if the discs could be lended out. But the this digital solution makes lending more efficient.

I don't know about you, but i'd much rather be able to instantly recall my lended game digitally, than have to deal with that one jackass who keeps telling you that he "forgot" where he put your copy of Rock Band

Someone needs to post that slowclap gif. There's never been a more appropriate time.

It would be flat-out hilarious if Valve had heard that Microsoft were going to put this feature in place, then set out to troll them by implementing the same feature themselves, first. Less funny if they'd actually had the idea earlier/of their own accord.

Either way, an improvement to Steam only makes my veiny throbbing love for them grow stronger.

oh happy days, this is good nes, there are a few games i have on Steam just for when my son visits, if the PC he has can handle the games we'll be using this.

well done Valve

Well gosh darn it there is at least one benefit coming from Xbox, while Valve already talked about sharing features about 3 years ago they probably didn't intend to put it in place for another decade.

Now we just need someone to push them into second hand games, which is also one of their very old ideas.

Excellent! Maybe I'll be able to lend Bioshock Infinite to my husband.

Oh cool!
This get's nothing but my approval.

Course, it could all go terribly terribly wrong..
I'm not the most optimistic person but I'm trying here!

I've always been fairly happy with Steam and so long as this is well done (which I have no reason to doubt it will be) I shall remain so. ;D

Wow, this is going to be AMAZING!

I really hope this feature makes its way through to release!

Oh snap, and this is after Major Nelson asked "Can Steam do that?". Well... yes... it will be soon, because Steam is a platform that is easily upgradeable.

Now if they added a way to trade-in games that we absolutely hate (or a 1-2h return shitty product window after first launch) or don't want anymore, that would be cupcakes.

PH3NOmenon:
Someone needs to post that slowclap gif. There's never been a more appropriate time.

Did somebody say slow clap?

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OT: It seems that Microsoft must have gotten one thing right, considering Valve is now using the idea for themselves. Course, it'll be hard to judge who did it better until Xbone comes out and someone does a report on it. though I am looking forward to lending some friends the Walking Dead. Depends on the process of this.

Steven Bogos:

Bostur:
I think this is one of a few examples of a benevolent way to use DRM from a consumer standpoint. Great news if Valve chooses to implement it, and if it gets supported by publishers.

There are downsides as well, one could argue that this wouldn't have been necessary in the first place if the discs could be lended out. But the this digital solution makes lending more efficient.

I don't know about you, but i'd much rather be able to instantly recall my lended game digitally, than have to deal with that one jackass who keeps telling you that he "forgot" where he put your copy of Rock Band

Yeah...I've had friends like that. Prick lost my copy of FF9. Wanker.
If steam do do this (heh, do do) it'd be nice to see them allow you to set a time limit or something so you can say "right you've got it for a week, now get to it"

"Hey, Gabe!"
pauses MLP* "What?"
"Microsoft finally gave us a reason to implement that sharing idea we had floating around."
"Alright, pull the programmers off Half Life three again and make it happen."

Solves a serious issue with Steam's extremely restrictive DRM. No downside

So, now all they have to do is shed some light on the Steambox and make this console war the most entertaining ever.

This is shaping up to be a very interesting year. New consoles is one thing, but to see a possible new system for Steam? Definitely didn't see it coming. Well here's hoping things work out. But gotta be curious about when they'd try it. For that matter if they'll have some kind of cooldown. Don't want you lending/sharing games out left and right. MS has that 30 days on Friends. Maybe something similar?

It'll be interesting to see what (if any) restrictions or limits Valve impose on this.

ScrabbitRabbit:
This is one of two things the Xbone looks to be doing better than Steam, and Steam is stealing it! Add a system that lets us trade our retail games (and maybe disable the required patching of single player games?) and we'll be friends again, Steam.

Maybe.

I think you can disable the patching of single player games though. I remember doing that with Half Life 2 back in my Dial Up days. I think you need to start in offline mode (unplugging the cable is easiest), then you should be able to right click on the game go to the Updates options and choose "never update" or some such. I have an uncapped plan now so I haven't had to use this option in quite a while. It should still work.

A percentage steam wallet refund for trading in games would be pretty easy to implement. I would think 33% should do it. How much do console games trade for percentage wise?

octafish:

ScrabbitRabbit:
This is one of two things the Xbone looks to be doing better than Steam, and Steam is stealing it! Add a system that lets us trade our retail games (and maybe disable the required patching of single player games?) and we'll be friends again, Steam.

Maybe.

I think you can disable the patching of single player games though. I remember doing that with Half Life 2 back in my Dial Up days. I think you need to start in offline mode (unplugging the cable is easiest), then you should be able to right click on the game go to the Updates options and choose "never update" or some such. I have an uncapped plan now so I haven't had to use this option in quite a while. It should still work.

A percentage steam wallet refund for trading in games would be pretty easy to implement. I would think 33% should do it. How much do console games trade for percentage wise?

I have done that, but it only works on games that are already installed unfortunately :[ At least that's how it is for me.

As a result, it takes me several days to install Shogun 2 from disc because it automatically begins downloading a 12GB update (which was *not* a part of the installation at launch). From what I can glean from the intertubes, it actually forces you to download the DLC so as not to fracture the online community. I do not play online and I think forcing people to download the DLC before they've even bought it is even more bullshit than on-disc DLC, so why can't I just play without it? D:

I thought microsoft would have put a patent on this already somehow. If not then go valve I guess.

What I'd like to see is just have every game be giftable, whether you bought it for yourself or as a gift, and whether or not you've already played it. That would allow players to trade games amongst themselves, and it would even allow something of a second hand market. It'll probably never happen, but having seen it work in practice with items from TF2 (heck, I actually "bought" a giftable game someone else got in a promotion and didn't want with TF2 items once), I really wish it would.

YESSSSS!!!! ALRIGHT!! Im super excited! best news ive gotten on the escapist for awhile.

Ed130:
It'll be interesting to see what (if any) restrictions or limits Valve impose on this.

This is Valve we're talking about here, there are obviously going to be restrictions.

I'm willing to bet game sharing will be restricted to a very limited number of titles, most likely Steamworks games or games that already have an integrated multiplayer/co-op mechanic. More likely, seeing as how AAA publishers are vehemently opposed to consumers passing around their PC games like a $2 whore, indie developers are probably going to be the most open to a sharing program.

Realistically, we're going to see something similar to what demos already do -- offer limited access to gameplay and features. There's no way in hell that publishers are going to allow non-paying players the full experience.

For Steam game sharing to work, Valve are going to have to find a way to reconcile it with their unhealthy DRM obsession. I don't think they can do it without setting some pretty severe limitations on the part of the user.

Damn, this is good news. There's going to be heavy restrictions on who you can lend to and which titles are available and for how long, I'm assuming, but this is probably as much as we're going to get from a service with DRM, and most games are cheap enough on PC that the lack of sharing hasn't been as big a problem as for console games anyway.

Steam saw what the xbone was doing with the shared game library, and was like "Fuck this we are not gonna let Microsoft beat us".

I foresee a +1 coming. They'll implement the System Microsoft has, only +1.
Lend it to 11 family (maybe a subgroup in your friends list) members, and lend it 2 times to other people that have been on your friends list for at least 29 days :D

KungFuJazzHands:

Ed130:
It'll be interesting to see what (if any) restrictions or limits Valve impose on this.

This is Valve we're talking about here, there are obviously going to be restrictions.

I'm willing to bet game sharing will be restricted to a very limited number of titles, most likely Steamworks games or games that already have an integrated multiplayer/co-op mechanic. More likely, seeing as how AAA publishers are vehemently opposed to consumers passing around their PC games like a $2 whore, indie developers are probably going to be the most open to a sharing program.

Realistically, we're going to see something similar to what demos already do -- offer limited access to gameplay and features. There's no way in hell that publishers are going to allow non-paying players the full experience.

For Steam game sharing to work, Valve are going to have to find a way to reconcile it with their unhealthy DRM obsession. I don't think they can do it without setting some pretty severe limitations on the part of the user.

if we look at the content of those two dialogues the restriction seems clear, if you share a game you actually want to play
you are going to have to choose between kicking your friend off or waiting for them to finish
i bet this will result in more sales not less even if you do get access to the full game

Ed130:
It'll be interesting to see what (if any) restrictions or limits Valve impose on this.

Well, to even add someone on Steam as a friend both parties need to have bought something. Anything.

Thats one restriction.

I would like having it being able to let at least the owner and 1 other guy play the same game at the same time like in the Xbone, but this way is also a very good advancement none the less.

I imagine there will be a fair few restrictions in place if this rumour is true, such as a limit of how many sharing of games per month, singleplayer content only, can't both play the game at the same time etc, still nice if this is added though.

given that the message implies that you both cant play the game at the same time i assume you have to be online for your shared games to be available?

or else i could just set myself to appear offline and my friends would have unrestricted access to my shared games

Someone should tell Microsoft to release a third episode of something on Xbone
Maybe Valve will still THAT idea as well.

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