by Anna Roberts
Valve has announced details of their upcoming family sharing service for users of their digital distribution platform, Steam.
The Steam Family Sharing service will allow Steam users to share their library of games with other users on other devices and Steam accounts.
To share their library with other family members or friends, you must first authorise the PC or device. Up to 10 devices can be authorised for Family Sharing. Family members will then be able to access and download your Steam library through their account, with a place to store their own saves and achievements.
Those you share your library with will not be able to access your games at the same time as you, the account holder. If you access your Steam library, family members will be given a few minutes’ warning before being booted out. They will also be asked if they wish to purchase the game they were playing.
There are understandable limits on the games that can be shared this way. For example, those that require a third-party account or a subscription fee will not be available to play in a shared library. Region restrictions also remain in place.
Lender’s DLC will also be available for borrowers to use, but borrowers cannot purchase DLC for a shared game that they do not own.
The beta testing for Family Sharing begins next week with a pool of 1000 users. To be considered for the beta, you can sign up at the Family Sharing Steam group.
Valve will use Family Sharing to reinforce Steam’s position as the leading digital distribution service for games. EA’s competing Origin platform recently received a boost in users from the highly successful Humble Origin Bundle.
In other gaming news, a ninth Humble Indie Bundle launched today, featuring Double Fine’s Brutal Legend, as well as Trine 2 and Fez.