Steam Game Sharing Begins Limited Beta Soon

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Steam Game Sharing Begins Limited Beta Soon

Valve was listening when Steam users asked for a way to share games.

Valve announced their new game sharing feature, Steam Family Sharing, in a press release today. The feature allows people to share their game libraries by authorizing a shared computer and storing different users' saves to the Steam cloud.

According to Valve's FAQ for the feature, a user designated as the lender can share his or her entire Steam library -- not a specific game. When the lender wants to play a game in his or her library, the borrower has a few minutes either to buy the game he or she is playing or to stop playing while the lender is logged into Steam. The Steam library can be shared with up to 10 devices. To enable Family Sharing, the user can either locally enable sharing in the account settings or remotely respond to a user's Steam request.

The service "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," the press release states.

However, not all games can be shared. Games with an additional third-party key cannot be shared between accounts, and regional restrictions will remain the same.

Steam users interested in the feature can join the limited beta next week by joining the Family Sharing Group on the Steam community. The first 1,000 people interested will be granted access to the beta.

Source: Steam

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This...wow...OK, I've always been the first person to point out when Valve does something wrong. Let me be the first person to point out that they've done something utterly brilliant. All hail Valve.

This proves this feature can be implemented without adding a 24-hour check-in requirement. See this, Microsoft? Learn from it.

P.S. Thanks

Very snazzy. My younger brother will be thrilled to hear this.

The important bit of missing information is how it handles being DC'ed from the internet. You can't be kicked from simultaneous play if Steam can't get info from the internet, so I can't imagine you'll be able to play forever without an internet connection. Hopefully you'll be able to at least keep playing for a little while after the connection drops so you don't get suddenly booted because of terribad internet.

This is pretty awesome. It's a great first step toward reclaiming property rights for digital property.

My only real complaint with it is that only one game in any given library can be in use at a time. What that means in practical terms is that I can't be playing game A I own while my buddy plays game B from my library, and I find that restriction kinda stupid. I could see the argument for making sure that both I and my buddy can't be playing the same game (essentially, "but if it was physical there'd only be one copy to use!"), but there's no reason other than catering to the DRM nuts to restrict the entire library to one game at a time. I should be able to lend my buddy whatever games I'm not playing (hell, I could see a restriction where I can't have them installed on my machine), but it shouldn't block my buddy from playing a game I'm not when I want to play something completely different.

Despite the seeming negativity of my post though, I really am rather excited to see this in action. I'm really, really hoping it will catch on and become the standard. We as a culture really need to push for more digital property rights, especially since the world is more and more headed in that direction.

Falterfire:

... You can't be kicked from simultaneous play if Steam can't get info from the internet, so I can't imagine you'll be able to play forever without an internet connection...

Not forever, as the Steam client will still want its standard ~1/month check in. (which is mighty reasonable, all in all)

Say what?, Xbox One lets you "share" games?, I can't hear ya, I'm dancing out of pure joy at these news.

I said it before and I'm saying again, if you want copy Steam, then F*ING COPY STEAM!.

Aristabulus:

Falterfire:

... You can't be kicked from simultaneous play if Steam can't get info from the internet, so I can't imagine you'll be able to play forever without an internet connection...

Not forever, as the Steam client will still want its standard ~1/month check in. (which is mighty reasonable, all in all)

That's a fallacy. Once Steam is set into Offline Mode, it never needs to check in. The only occasion where it might have to is if, for one reason or another, the local account credentials are lost or corrupted.

But if that occurs, it's likely due to a system error and not Steam "deleting" the credentials.

I still don't get where people get the idea that Steam requires a check in. Some say it's once a week. I've heard others say once a month, once every three months, so on and so forth.

I can personally vouch for the lack of a check in. I have two primary PCs for gaming, one of which is setup specifically for older games. As a result, I keep it offline much of the time, only ever going online when I plan to buy a re-released older game from Steam, GoG.com, etc.

There have been times where I've had that computer disconnected from the internet for over a year. Well over. Steam never required a check in. It always booted into offline mode without issue.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On topic: This is fantastic news. I knew Valve were working on some kind of sharing feature for months now. The code leak during one of the beta updates months ago hinted at it. Even so, I'm almost ecstatic to see it actually being realized. It's a step...nay, a leap in the right direction for the industry.

It's not quite as far as I'd like in terms of this sort of feature, but it's definitely something to "get the ball rolling".

Not sure how this is such a huge advance. Because it's the whole library it shares, what's the difference between "sharing" your game, and just having the sharing member come up and use your computer? I mean, it's not like you can play TF2 while your friend is playing Skyrim from your account.

Hell, they could have done this simply by changing the Terms of Use code such that your account was simply restricted to one user per time, whether that user was you or someone else.

Can someone tell me what I'm missing here?

Kwil:
Not sure how this is such a huge advance. Because it's the whole library it shares, what's the difference between "sharing" your game, and just having the sharing member come up and use your computer? I mean, it's not like you can play TF2 while your friend is playing Skyrim from your account.

Hell, they could have done this simply by changing the Terms of Use code such that your account was simply restricted to one user per time, whether that user was you or someone else.

Can someone tell me what I'm missing here?

Well, not everyone lives with their friends and family, so them using your PC isn't always an option, and any saves and achievements are associated with the account of the person using it, not the account of the person who owns it, so if the person trying out a game decides to buy it, they haven't lost any of their own progress.

Also, why are people actively trying to find problems with this? Sharing your games with limitations is better than the current situation of not being able to share them at all, so we now have something positive added without any negatives imposed to make up for it.

Good. I'm always glad to lend my games out, and this'll make this that much better. The fact that there doesn't seem to be any limitation other than no more than one person playing a game from a certain account's library, which admittedly could be better but is still pretty fair, is a good sign.

I imagine this would be great for somebody who tends to play a lot of online games that aren't part of their Steam account, ie World of Warcraft.

My biggest worry is account security. What if, say, somebody I once lent my game library to has their account hacked? Will my account be more vulnerable because of that?

Sounds good but...is it implying that you can't share games while you're logged into Steam? Like even if I'm playing a different game or not playing a game at all? If so that doesn't sound like much of a step up from just having one person in offline mode, and not nearly as flexible as what Microsoft had planned.

That's not me throwing in with the "you've ruined the Xbone by taking out the DRM" crowd. Just saying I was expecting more from this. Maybe it will improve over time, it's at least a step in the right direction.

Kwil:
Not sure how this is such a huge advance. Because it's the whole library it shares, what's the difference between "sharing" your game, and just having the sharing member come up and use your computer? I mean, it's not like you can play TF2 while your friend is playing Skyrim from your account.

Hell, they could have done this simply by changing the Terms of Use code such that your account was simply restricted to one user per time, whether that user was you or someone else.

Can someone tell me what I'm missing here?

Nothing. You're seeing it for exactly what it is. Permission to do what you've already been doing for nearly 10 years anyways.

I can't see any difference between this and just lending your account, except maybe for achievements :/

I've been thinking about this feature since it was announced and here's what i think is the ideal scenario for this type of sharing.

Imagine a Single PC - Multi User household. Each member of the family has their own Steam account, but they have to share the one computer. if one account purchases a game, then all of the other accounts can play it as well. Each account gets its own set of achievements.

I remember when StarCraft 2 was released and there was big uproar about multiple accounts. Each copy would allow for a single user account. So, if my wife and i each wanted a starcraft 2 account, we would have to purchase two copies of the game, even if we used the same computer. Why would we want our own accounts? Because she doesn't want to play on my ladder account and i don't want to play on hers.

What Valve has done is allow most steam games to have multiple accounts. My wife can play Portal 2, track her own achievements and other goodies like that, and i can do the same, but we don't have to buy 2 copies of the game.

Again, this only seems really beneficial on single machines with multiple users/steam accounts. I really hope that Valve will allow individual game sharing next. That way, my wife and i can each play the Witcher 3, on our own systems, but only have to purchase it once.

Baby steps are better then nothing.
With the lender having to stay completely offline instead of it being game by game basis this is no more then just lending your account, I guess the difference is you don't get instantly banned when they figure it out.

This is clearly a hoax. After all, it can't be done because the publishers would hate it.

Is there anything to stop the lender simply launching the game from the executable, as opposed to through steam? I know not all games work like that but last time I checked a good number- Elder Scrolls games for one- did. Seems like it could be open to exploitation.

So it's essentially what the XB1 was going to have before MS acted like a spoilt child and took it out with the DRM?

Thought it was a neat idea then, still a neat one now. Hopefully if it does well, it'll put a bit of pressure for the likes of MS to put it back in.

Stevepinto3:
Sounds good but...is it implying that you can't share games while you're logged into Steam? Like even if I'm playing a different game or not playing a game at all? If so that doesn't sound like much of a step up from just having one person in offline mode, and not nearly as flexible as what Microsoft had planned.

That's not me throwing in with the "you've ruined the Xbone by taking out the DRM" crowd. Just saying I was expecting more from this. Maybe it will improve over time, it's at least a step in the right direction.

It's not "logged in". It's "actively playing a game". Only one person can be playing a game from a single library at a time, but that's about it. If you're just logged in but not doing anything, your buddy can then play any of your games, until such time as you start playing a game. Then they get kicked off.

Fractral:
Is there anything to stop the lender simply launching the game from the executable, as opposed to through steam? I know not all games work like that but last time I checked a good number- Elder Scrolls games for one- did. Seems like it could be open to exploitation.

As long as the game doesn't get flagged as being open by Steam, it should theoretically work under this system. Assuming, of course, that they don't implement a system to catch something like that.

Kwil:
I mean, it's not like you can play TF2 while your friend is playing Skyrim from your account.

Actually it should be exactly like this, as long as the Skyrim playing dude keeps the account offline.

I find it magnificent, it will allow me to lend my 200+ game library with some close people which don't live with me, and since they are offline gamers will cause zero hassles. But can see how it might be an issue for some people, I would say spoiled people, but I am a bad mannered sob.

Man, kinda nice to see how Microsoft spurred on a new way for Steam to make its customers happy.

Props to both Microsoft for the idea and Steam for refining it.

UnnDunn:
This is clearly a hoax. After all, it can't be done because the publishers would hate it.

Well now, that's fairly passive-aggressive of you, don't you think? Linking to a 3-month old thread, using it in a sarcastic manner without the OP's knowledge, just to take another jab at them? I've read your comments and you're pretty intelligent. This is beneath you and you know it.

Look, I would love to see Microsoft implement the family sharing feature on the Xbox One as well. It would be nice to see something different out there. I honestly think that Valve would never have tried this had it not been for Microsoft, and now Microsoft may very well carry through with their original plans.

FizzyIzze:
Well now, that's fairly passive-aggressive of you, don't you think? Linking to a 3-month old thread, using it in a sarcastic manner without the OP's knowledge, just to take another jab at them? I've read your comments and you're pretty intelligent. This is beneath you and you know it.

Look, I would love to see Microsoft implement the family sharing feature on the Xbox One as well. It would be nice to see something different out there. I honestly think that Valve would never have tried this had it not been for Microsoft, and now Microsoft may very well carry through with their original plans.

I may be wrong, but if memory serves, there were rumors of Valve working on this from several months before the XBone's reveal. I could easily be wrong, but I vaguely remember hearing about it.

Then again, Newel is a former Microsoft employee and both companies are based in the same city. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he, or someone else that works at Valve, had a source inside Microsoft that leaked the news early and they latched onto it.

Tanakh:

Kwil:
I mean, it's not like you can play TF2 while your friend is playing Skyrim from your account.

Actually it should be exactly like this, as long as the Skyrim playing dude keeps the account offline.

I find it magnificent, it will allow me to lend my 200+ game library with some close people which don't live with me, and since they are offline gamers will cause zero hassles. But can see how it might be an issue for some people, I would say spoiled people, but I am a bad mannered sob.

Does it? Do you see somewhere that a shared library is allowed to go into offline mode? Because I certainly don't. And were I trying to keep multiple people from playing the same game at the same time, that would seem to be an obvious restriction to impose.

Although the point made about being able to maintain your own achievements is a decent one. As I really don't give a crap about achievements, I didn't think of this, but I suppose some people must -- otherwise they wouldn't offer them.

UnnDunn:
This is clearly a hoax. After all, it can't be done because the publishers would hate it.

On Xbox, everyone assumed it would be simultaneous play, which is why they mentioned taking an Xbox to their friend's house for co-op, among other things.

Steam isn't allowing that. One copy can be active at once, and one only. Heck, only one LIBRARY can be in use at any given time.

And that makes aaaaaaaall the difference on the publisher's side.

And hey... if the publisher doesn't like it, all they have to do is add a CD key to remove their game from the program.

Mothhive:

Kwil:
Not sure how this is such a huge advance. Because it's the whole library it shares, what's the difference between "sharing" your game, and just having the sharing member come up and use your computer? I mean, it's not like you can play TF2 while your friend is playing Skyrim from your account.

Hell, they could have done this simply by changing the Terms of Use code such that your account was simply restricted to one user per time, whether that user was you or someone else.

Can someone tell me what I'm missing here?

Well, not everyone lives with their friends and family, so them using your PC isn't always an option, and any saves and achievements are associated with the account of the person using it, not the account of the person who owns it, so if the person trying out a game decides to buy it, they haven't lost any of their own progress.

Also, why are people actively trying to find problems with this? Sharing your games with limitations is better than the current situation of not being able to share them at all, so we now have something positive added without any negatives imposed to make up for it.

I wasn't trying to find problems with it, I was trying to figure out why people seem to think it matters since you could always just share your account info with people before.. albeit against the terms of use.. but hardly a huge advance to recognize that that's happening and legitimize it.

That said, the point you made about save games and achievements is a valid one. Not one I think that deserves the level of praise it seems to be getting.. but still valid.

This seems fantastic and all, but I was reading the FAQ and it said it said that you couldn't share games

that require an additional third-party key, account, or subscription

and I've got a shitload of games that require keys (although oddly Steam would pop a message showing them, but the game would never ask for them, or in the case of Borderlands the game would freeze the moment I start a DLC campaign and demand I insert the key). Not trying to spoil everyone's day, but it's worth keeping this in mind. Don't expect everything to be able to share absolutely everything around.

I also have my doubts whether the borrower will be able to be offline, too. No point kicking the borrower off when the lender wants to play a game, then letting the borrower play it offline so that his computer will never know...

That and the beta's only open to the first 1000 people. The group handing out the beta has 77000 members now. Damnit...

UnnDunn:
This is clearly a hoax. After all, it can't be done because the publishers would hate it.

I read the article you mentioned. Quite funny, really. UnnDunn, I disagreed with you in many ways, but even though I think you may have a point here, come on. As someone else has said, you must be capable of expressing your opinion in better ways than making a cheap, snarky stab at someone who said something you didn't like about your favorite console.

Oh, and while you're here, can you send me a link to footage showing the Kinect 2.0 being used in-game, please? I've searched the internet and pestered other hardcore Xbox fans for it, but all I've gotten are corporate promises about how wonderful the thing is going to be, opinions from random people and the occasional tech demo. I know this is incredibly off topic, but you would have thought that they would have revealed Kinect Adventures 2 or something by now, to prove that the system is as wonderful as they're claiming...

Andy Shandy:
So it's essentially what the XB1 was going to have before MS acted like a spoilt child and took it out with the DRM?

Thought it was a neat idea then, still a neat one now. Hopefully if it does well, it'll put a bit of pressure for the likes of MS to put it back in.

As I recall, the XBone game share was more a glorified Demo service, this, sounds more like ye olde 'borrowing your friends disk/cartage'

Lunar Templar:

Andy Shandy:
So it's essentially what the XB1 was going to have before MS acted like a spoilt child and took it out with the DRM?

Thought it was a neat idea then, still a neat one now. Hopefully if it does well, it'll put a bit of pressure for the likes of MS to put it back in.

As I recall, the XBone game share was more a glorified Demo service, this, sounds more like ye olde 'borrowing your friends disk/cartage'

Except that in this case it's more akin to carrying your entire cartridge library to your buddy's house for one specific game, and to play a game (any game in the pile) back home you have to carry the entire collection back. Don't get me wrong, micro baby steps are fabulous, but why can't it be game by game basis? Meaning, while the borrower is playing the game is disabled from your account. At any point the lender can reclaim posession of the game, booting out the borrower.

shiajun:

Lunar Templar:

Andy Shandy:
So it's essentially what the XB1 was going to have before MS acted like a spoilt child and took it out with the DRM?

Thought it was a neat idea then, still a neat one now. Hopefully if it does well, it'll put a bit of pressure for the likes of MS to put it back in.

As I recall, the XBone game share was more a glorified Demo service, this, sounds more like ye olde 'borrowing your friends disk/cartage'

Except that in this case it's more akin to carrying your entire cartridge library to your buddy's house for one specific game, and to play a game (any game in the pile) back home you have to carry the entire collection back. Don't get me wrong, micro baby steps are fabulous, but why can't it be game by game basis? Meaning, while the borrower is playing the game is disabled from your account. At any point the lender can reclaim posession of the game, booting out the borrower.

>.> you should really only have to worry about getting booted if your friend is an asshole. fortunately, my friends (the ones I'd be borrowing from) are not :3

Lunar Templar:

shiajun:

Lunar Templar:

As I recall, the XBone game share was more a glorified Demo service, this, sounds more like ye olde 'borrowing your friends disk/cartage'

Except that in this case it's more akin to carrying your entire cartridge library to your buddy's house for one specific game, and to play a game (any game in the pile) back home you have to carry the entire collection back. Don't get me wrong, micro baby steps are fabulous, but why can't it be game by game basis? Meaning, while the borrower is playing the game is disabled from your account. At any point the lender can reclaim posession of the game, booting out the borrower.

>.> you should really only have to worry about getting booted if your friend is an asshole. fortunately, my friends (the ones I'd be borrowing from) are not :3

Your friend doesn't have to be an asshole. He just has to want to play a game on their library while you're borrowing one. This is likely if you and your friends have similar schedules or are in the same time zone. I get that this plan is thought up mainly for people having to share the same computer (hence the "family plan" name), so they couldn't even be physically using the device at the same time. It's the right direction, just still not an analogy for physically lending out the game disc. Maybe we won't get there soon, since it could potentially cut down of games sales (10 people pool resources to build up a shared library instead of more individual sales).

Kwil:
Does it? Do you see somewhere that a shared library is allowed to go into offline mode? Because I certainly don't. And were I trying to keep multiple people from playing the same game at the same time, that would seem to be an obvious restriction to impose.

Although the point made about being able to maintain your own achievements is a decent one. As I really don't give a crap about achievements, I didn't think of this, but I suppose some people must -- otherwise they wouldn't offer them.

I see it detailing what you can and can't do, it is reasonable for me to assume any feature non listed will be granted as it goes into detail of what you can't do with DLC and Regions, and because as you said yourself it seems just to be a way to legalize having the same account on multiple computers, as such would make no sense to disallow that mode.

I don't see why you think it won't, but if it isn't will certainly make it a bit less appealing. At any rate, the answer for your question would still be yes even without offline for the moochers accounts, if only because TF2 is free.

Edit: As for the prize, you say it's just "legitimizing" sharing PC games... I don't think you realize... it was always just about that and that is a big deal itself. As a PC user I can download for free almost any game in the PC history, have been able to for more than a decade, or as you said we can bypass most restrictions on multiple installs; it has been never about being able to but being legally able to and with convenience, that last word in capital letters. Steam has always been about convenience, and this is a great step in that direction.

As for the "big deal"... you remember the xbox one fiasco? You realize it "didn't changed anything" as you could always mod or rootkit your xbox? It didn't changed legislation, it did nothing at all but slightly inconvenience users. This is the same, a big move that changes nothing but makes life a bit easier for the consumer, although it does set a bit of a legal precedent about software use i think.

I feel as if some more info needs to be released first and/or we try it out. This is definitely a step in the correct direction. However, if only one person can be using your entire library at once that is quite lame. I have a plethora of games that aren't even installed on my computer because I've finished them. However I have some friends that would like to try the games out without dedicating any money to it. So, in an ideal situation games can be played by your borrowers on a game by game basis. Worst case scenario, we have to we wait a little longer for this to happen. Ohh noooeeesss

Not gonna lie, this looks pretty awesome. I look forward to friends saying, "I love this game. TRY IT NOW. T_T" and then forcing me to play. :3

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