Steam Game Sharing Begins Limited Beta Soon

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

My word, are we on Facebook? I haven't seen anything nearly this passive-aggressive since those little fights girls would have with each other, saying how much they hate it when some people act a certain way in their status updates. God I'm glad I left that site.

OT: Um, yeah, nothing left really to be said that hasn't already been said. It's a good idea, maybe they could change it to individual games instead of the whole library, but it's still good and definitely a right step in the right area. Hell, my friends are on their computers much more often than I am and plenty of times we aren't even on at the same time of the day, it'd be cool to let them try out some of the games I constantly pester them to play.

Agayek:

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.

Unfortunately, I think whoever implements it first will be forever remembered as an innovator, as opposed to whoever thought of it first. Still, I think it's possible that Microsoft could bring back a sharing option for the Xbox One, a "soft" option if you will. I predict that Microsoft will go ahead and bring back the sharing option by:

1.) Provide an "opt-in" option for participating in sharing, in which you can also send invites to friends.
2.) Require that participating Xbox One consoles connect online at a specific minimum interval.

I don't think that's unreasonable. If people want to try it, they can, otherwise they can continue playing offline and not share anything. I suspect this is the way Valve will do it as well.

Oh wow, I'd really love to try this out. What a shame that doing so will mean that if I lose my internet connection I won't be able to use my computer for anything until it is restored.

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?

the advantage is that when the person "lends" it does not use your username/account/savefiles/achievements/ect, so you keep all those seperate for each family member, unlike if you shared the account.
It also works on different machines, meaning you can easily lend games to your family which lives in another town.

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.

Not exactly.
The One's sharing was going to restrict on a game-by-game basis. If I'm playing game X, other people can play my copy of game Y or Z (but not X).
This restricts on a library basis. If I'm playing any game at all, my entire library is unavailable. On top of that, the

Yes, it's something. But it's not what I hoped for, and honestly, I don't think I'll get much use out of it.

sounds good, but i still rather have the option to sell games i dont want.

Shamanic Rhythm:
Oh wow, I'd really love to try this out. What a shame that doing so will mean that if I lose my internet connection I won't be able to use my computer for anything until it is restored.

Sarcasm?

I popped over to the community page and it looked like someone at Valve stated that you could borrow games indefinitely. There was no word about how Offline Mode would work although which is the first issue I have with it. The second is that my brother is going to start nagging me to share my library with him when he hears about this.

Strazdas:

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?

the advantage is that when the person "lends" it does not use your username/account/savefiles/achievements/ect, so you keep all those seperate for each family member, unlike if you shared the account.
It also works on different machines, meaning you can easily lend games to your family which lives in another town.

I have like 250+ games on Steam, so I'd pretty much never think about giving out my account info to someone. I like my (much) younger brother who lives with Mom, but I'm not trusting him to not get my account banned. This plan is perfect for that situation. He can play whatever he wants in my entire library without having to check in with me first with no threat to my account (except losing the ability to share), and I can still play whenever I want. As long as the borrower gets a reasonable amount of time to save their game, it streamlines that process. Before, you'd have to check in with the "borrower" to make sure kicking them out of Steam wasn't a problem.

On a side-note, it's interesting how different areas of the internet react to this. The response here has been pretty positive. On Ars Technica the comments read like Valve declared a Family Decapitation plan or something. This "Family Sharing" plan has some clear advantages for very specific problems, but doesn't deliver the Sharing Nirvana that some people want that will almost certainly never exist.

Ed130:

Shamanic Rhythm:
Oh wow, I'd really love to try this out. What a shame that doing so will mean that if I lose my internet connection I won't be able to use my computer for anything until it is restored.

Sarcasm?

I popped over to the community page and it looked like someone at Valve stated that you could borrow games indefinitely. There was no word about how Offline Mode would work although which is the first issue I have with it. The second is that my brother is going to start nagging me to share my library with him when he hears about this.

Well, you don't have to be nagged much, right? I mean, there's really no reason to not share your library with someone unless you have a hard time picking which 10 people to share with. As far as I can tell, there's not disadvantage to the owner of the library in sharing the games.

Hmm, well, unless you think your brother will then constantly bug you get off your account or not kick him out of a game. Yeah, actually that does sound both likely and very annoying ...

So, it only took them ten years to get this feature and Microsoft got there first (even if they didn't keep it)? Goood going Valve!

I assume it will only work with SteamWorks games, and they will have to be updated to support it.

Andrew_C:
So, it only took them ten years to get this feature and Microsoft got there first (even if they didn't keep it)? Goood going Valve!

FizzyIzze:

Unfortunately, I think whoever implements it first will be forever remembered as an innovator, as opposed to whoever thought of it first.

Except, from all indicators, Microsoft didn't get there first.

Putting aside that Steam is going to implement this feature before the Xbox One, the concept of library sharing appeared at virtually the same time as the Xbox One reveal in a beta update for Steam. Some intrepid code-junkies scanned some of the update files and saw several "shared library" command lines.

Now, which company thought of the idea first is debatable, but in either case it's clear Valve was working on the feature well before Microsoft revealed their plans for it.

Andrew_C:

I assume it will only work with SteamWorks games, and they will have to be updated to support it.

As is explained in the FAQ, this feature will work with any game that doesn't require access to an external service (Uplay, Origin, etc) or requires any external CD keys, authentication codes, or 3rd party subscriptions.

As excited as I was by the prospect of this feature, sadly the (current) implementation isn't very useful. As it stands, one can only lend out their entire games library at once. Now on a one-PC home for sharing between siblings/parents, it's fine. It means everyone can play each other's games (saying that, it's not like they couldn't before with the owner logged in. The only difference now is that they can play the game with their own login, which isn't in itself a particularly valuable feature).

Considering I'm generally logged in the majority of the time, I can't lend out my library. A better system would be the ability to "check out" a game from my library (making it temporarily unavailable to me) and allowing a friend or relative to "check in" the title. This behaves like lending someone my physical copy and doesn't prevent me from playing something else from my library like this system does.

Anyway, points to Valve for trying to do something positive, but sadly none for the finished article. Hopefully the Beta will demonstrate that lending individual games is really the way to go. As it is, a useless feature for me, but at least it's a positive useless feature. :-)

Vigormortis:

Andrew_C:

I assume it will only work with SteamWorks games, and they will have to be updated to support it.

As is explained in the FAQ, this feature will work with any game that doesn't require access to an external service (Uplay, Origin, etc) or requires any external CD keys, authentication codes, or 3rd party subscriptions.

So mostly only SteamWorks games and older titles, then.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea, but I wonder how useful it will turn out in the long run. I would prefer it if Valve made it easier to transfer and swap games on Steam.

EDIT: Also I think KingsGambit's idea above of "checking out" single titles is a much better idea than what Valve are going with. They could easily limit it to say 10 titles at a time (and even have a time limit) to prevent abuse.

Vigormortis:

Except, from all indicators, Microsoft didn't get there first.

It's also worth noting, aside from what you've mentioned, that the XBone version looked to be a Peter Molyneux deal. That is, despite being advertised s game sharing, the more we learned the less it seemed like it resembled the original, loft promises.

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)

Some time ago I took my netbook with me on a trip (no internet connection) and it ran Steam and all the installed games even though I hadn't even turned it on for over 2 months.

Zachary Amaranth:

Vigormortis:

Except, from all indicators, Microsoft didn't get there first.

It's also worth noting, aside from what you've mentioned, that the XBone version looked to be a Peter Molyneux deal. That is, despite being advertised s game sharing, the more we learned the less it seemed like it resembled the original, loft promises.

Fair point. Though given we haven't had any detailed specifics on the feature, it's mostly conjecture on how it would have worked on the Xbox One.

Still, my point was that, though Microsoft was the first to "officially" bring the concept to the public eye, it's become clear that a number of corporations have been working on similar features for some time.

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