Steam Introduces Family Sharing

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#51 Edited by LucidDreams117 (344 posts) -

Ummmm. Valve needs to be a lot more clear on this.

correct me if I'm wrong, but this doesn't seem that big. Isn't this essentially what the Xbox One should be able to do at launch. One console, anyone can sign in as their own account, one Gold membership, everyone can access the same games. Hell, isn't it just the equivalent of what you can do on 360/PS3. Multiple accounts, one system. Everyone gets their own saves and achievements?

Now, if it is in fact multiple computers which can access your library, than this sounds like it's the same as if the games were on disc and you can lend them around to your buddies. Only one person at a time type of thing. Valve seems to have solved what Microsoft was trying with Family plan thing they had. Their problem was mixed messages and DRM for consoles which is hard to sell. Now for Steam, it's easier. They've been around long enough. Taken enough shit early on and are now a trusted business. I guess in that sense this feature can be big.

#52 Posted by fwpx (26 posts) -

@rayeth: You're right. It's definitely a step in the right direction for all of us. But let's face it, this is really just a way for you to do what most people are already doing (giving people access to their steam accounts) without the security risk of someone changing your password or getting you banned in a multiplayer game.

#53 Edited by White (1152 posts) -

Well, considering majority of us don't play games 24/7 (cause of homework or after-work leisure), there's definitely some use there to let your friends try some games that they normally wouldn't otherwise.

You can also probably share with friends from different timezones too such as Asia and the US (which is >12 hours difference).

#54 Edited by LucidDreams117 (344 posts) -

Ummmm. Valve needs to be a lot more clear on this.

correct me if I'm wrong, but this doesn't seem that big. Isn't this essentially what the Xbox One should be able to do at launch. One console, anyone can sign in as their own account, one Gold membership, everyone can access the same games. Hell, isn't it just the equivalent of what you can do on 360/PS3. Multiple accounts, one system. Everyone gets their own saves and achievements?

Now, if it is in fact multiple computers which can access your library, than this sounds like it's the same as if the games were on disc and you can lend them around to your buddies. Only one person at a time type of thing. Valve seems to have solved what Microsoft was trying with Family plan thing they had. Their problem was mixed messages and DRM for consoles which is hard to sell. Now for Steam, it's easier. They've been around long enough. Taken enough shit early on and are now a trusted business. I guess in that sense this feature can be big.

#55 Edited by 014 (341 posts) -

Whether it's a little good or a lot of good, it's all good. Why complain? It sounds cool to me. It will allow some people to benefit from it. Heck, I see myself telling a cousin or friend to borrow a game of mine to try it out while I'm not using my account. It's like a free rental.

#56 Posted by Hunter5024 (5187 posts) -

I'm glad they're exploring this frontier. I hope they continue to explore it until they come up with something useful, because this isn't. Not to me at least.

#57 Edited by noizy (641 posts) -

So it's providing the same benefits and limitation to the currently illegitimate practice of sharing an account (which I don't do), except that people have their own accounts so they aren't booted off Steam if someone else were to log in; but it block you from all playing from the shared library at the same time. That's what I understand. That's not bad. I'd use it for myself if I had multiple gaming devices or kids in the house.

It;s great for families who share a single gaming PC, every kid in the house gets their own account, achievements, friend's list, save games. It's a nice concession, and it can't be abused by 10 buddies who just want to play the same license.

To all the people who say this is useless, you don't have a family. It's not meant for you.

#58 Edited by hermes (1270 posts) -

@katelyngadd said:

@yesiamaduck said:

@katelyngadd

Maybe useless if you're the sort of person that plays games all the time, but I can allow my friend to play some single player games when I am at work or not about a vise versa without him needing my log in details

True enough, but as you mention that's possible already if you give him your steam credentials. That's why I say this is basically just multiple sign in. It doesn't really enable any new use scenarios, it just makes one or two slightly better.

Maybe I got it wrong, but it seems like some account (the one that own the library has privileges over the other), so while he might see and access your shared list, he will be kicked out the moment you try to enter a game in that list.

While not exactly revolutionary, that would mean they facilitate sharing by removing the need to contact someone you shared your list with, to let them know you want to use it.

#59 Edited by hermes (1270 posts) -

@wh1terav3n said:

@lordofultima said:

@zombie2011 said:

Guys we should hate this! Remember when MS was going to do this and you all bitched and moaned.

That's not why people bitched and moaned. They took it away as some imaginary crux, like we can't have both used game sales AND family sharing. lol

Which was entirely true. You couldn't have both.

EDIT: Man, they even took the EXACT NAME from the Xbox One version of this idea. (Though the Xbox One version was WAY better than this), both the owner and the lendee could play the same game, multiple lendees could play different games off of someone's account. Man, that would've been awesome.

I still haven't seen a compelling technical reason why the removal of "mandatory, always online" controls also removed the chance of having a "privileged" friends list with access to my purchases. What is more, if features like this became popular in the following generation, I can definitely see MS and Sony including it on some extend on their architecture.

That will be a blast for all the people that called it impossible, like the sixaxis and dualshock in a single controller in the last generation.

Besides, that is hardly the same example. Microsoft tried to introduce new controls that banned a lot of interactions between gamers and their purchases, while Steam tries to introduce features that are not available at the time. Does those features make it more on par with Microsoft original pitch for the XB1? Yes. Is it unfortunate that Steam had to consider a special scenario of their use cases to create parity with something Microsoft announced? Sure. But people where not happy with MS because of the new restrictions, not because of the sharing implementation. When they created restrictions instead of loosing them up, people bitch and moan...

#60 Edited by personandstuff (70 posts) -

If you look at the actual website it is fairly clear that this is merely sharing on a shared computer. AKA if you have your steam games on the family computer, your brother can play them.

#61 Edited by Pixeldemon (244 posts) -

It's a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the fact that two people can't play different games simultaneously means this isn't a big deal at all. You can already accomplish this by sharing your account/password with a family member.

All this does is reduce the risk of having your account hijacked by someone you shared your password with, while also letting Valve mine you for more marketing data.

I just read Valve's post, and it's strange that they're talking about "Share your computer", rather than "share your games/account". Seems weirdly ambiguous.

#62 Edited by MarkWahlberg (4501 posts) -

Now I just need a family to share it with.

Social media: reminding you of the crushing loneliness of existence that drove you to it in the first place.

#63 Edited by cikame (926 posts) -

Steam is the only place this could be experimented with properly, it's important we do stuff like this to figure out how digital distribution can evolve for the future.
That's not a slant against Microsoft for trying to do it first, the correct way to describe this right now is "unproven concept", and basing their entire console, network and market structure on an unproven concept was wrong.
Small steps don't hurt anyone.

#64 Posted by geirr (2386 posts) -

Seems like a lot of fanfare for nothing.

#65 Edited by Oscar__Explosion (2161 posts) -

@fwpx said:

I was super excited when I read the first few paragraphs, but this actually makes my particular scenario worse.

My wife loves Dragon Age: Origins. Loves it. She's probably beaten it 8-10 times now. She's always asking to play it, it's on my Steam account, so I let her just log on and play it. She is super against (and logically so) me buying her a copy because it's a waste of money. Why would we spend money on a copy for her if she can type 8 digits into steam and get access to it? So I thought this plan would finally solve that, until I read that only one user can access the library at a time. Now, if she's playing DA:O and I want to play a game, i just log in and boot her off of steam and the game keeps running. With this, she would be forced to quit out? Dumb.

This is just a more restrictive, more secure way to share your games. No thanks.

Dude that game has been $7.50 mulitple times. (with all the DLC) just get buy her a copy.

#66 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (4464 posts) -

This sounds great. Now I just need ten friends or family who give a fuck about games.

#67 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@pixeldemon said:

It's a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the fact that two people can't play different games simultaneously means this isn't a big deal at all. You can already accomplish this by sharing your account/password with a family member.

So they aren't letting people exploit the system, so what? If more than two people could play the same game at the same time it would just result in friends sharing games all the time instead of buying them, yeah as a consumer that would be a nice thing to exploit but let's not pretend it wouldn't also be problematic at the same time.

#68 Posted by Nardak (457 posts) -

But dont we need the power of the cloud for this? I tought only Xbox One was able to do this.

#69 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

Wait, is it one person can play a specific game from a library at a time (sensible), or one person can play from a specific library at a time (no different than sharing your password)?

#70 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3599 posts) -

@sooty said:

@pixeldemon said:

It's a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the fact that two people can't play different games simultaneously means this isn't a big deal at all. You can already accomplish this by sharing your account/password with a family member.

So they aren't letting people exploit the system, so what? If more than two people could play the same game at the same time it would just result in friends sharing games all the time instead of buying them, yeah as a consumer that would be a nice thing to exploit but let's not pretend it wouldn't also be problematic at the same time.

That's not how it has to work though.

It could be you can share a game in your library and play a different game as the owner. This is the ideal scenario to me.

And if that's so problematic, I guess you think friends lending physical games is problematic? That's what I've done with my friends plenty before.

From what was clear about the original Xbox One system, this is how it was supposed to work. This Steam set up is perhaps a step in the right direction, but doesn't have much of a use case at the moment.

@brodehouse said:

Wait, is it one person can play a specific game from a library at a time (sensible), or one person can play from a specific library at a time (no different than sharing your password)?

One person playing in a given library at a time. If you want to play any game in your library, you boot out anyone playing any of your shared games. Legit but also more restrictive than password sharing.

#71 Posted by believer258 (11063 posts) -

This seems like it'd boost the sale of multiplayer games drastically over single player games. Which could be really bad for single player games considering they already sell less.

Also this little excerpt is worrisome to me:

You cannot just share a single game but the whole library. Let’s say you authorize your brother. If your brother wants to playPapers, Please through your shared account but you’re down for some Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 at the same time, he’s kicked off and told he has to purchase Papers, Please on his own account. If you’re not playing, though, he can keep going.

@patrickklepek could you clarify what this means if you know? To me it sounds like if Guy A is playing any game whatsoever than Guy B won't be able to play any games he doesn't own from the shared library.

This all sounds awesome and really exciting but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Yeah, I read that sentence a few times. If that's so, then this is more comparable to having multiple profiles on one Xbox than it is having multiple Xboxes with one profile sharing its games with another profile.

This would be handy if you share a computer with a family member or something so that you can keep separate sets of saves, but it's not very handy if I want to loan a friend a game. Seems like if I do that, I can't go home and play something else.

#72 Posted by Animasta (14466 posts) -

@spraynardtatum said:

This seems like it'd boost the sale of multiplayer games drastically over single player games. Which could be really bad for single player games considering they already sell less.

Also this little excerpt is worrisome to me:

You cannot just share a single game but the whole library. Let’s say you authorize your brother. If your brother wants to playPapers, Please through your shared account but you’re down for some Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 at the same time, he’s kicked off and told he has to purchase Papers, Please on his own account. If you’re not playing, though, he can keep going.

@patrickklepek could you clarify what this means if you know? To me it sounds like if Guy A is playing any game whatsoever than Guy B won't be able to play any games he doesn't own from the shared library.

This all sounds awesome and really exciting but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Yeah, I read that sentence a few times. If that's so, then this is more comparable to having multiple profiles on one Xbox than it is having multiple Xboxes with one profile sharing its games with another profile.

This would be handy if you share a computer with a family member or something so that you can keep separate sets of saves, but it's not very handy if I want to loan a friend a game. Seems like if I do that, I can't go home and play something else.

It also sounds like you can't access Steam at all, which, if you're primary social network is on steam...

#73 Edited by Animasta (14466 posts) -

@spraynardtatum said:

This seems like it'd boost the sale of multiplayer games drastically over single player games. Which could be really bad for single player games considering they already sell less.

Also this little excerpt is worrisome to me:

You cannot just share a single game but the whole library. Let’s say you authorize your brother. If your brother wants to playPapers, Please through your shared account but you’re down for some Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 at the same time, he’s kicked off and told he has to purchase Papers, Please on his own account. If you’re not playing, though, he can keep going.

@patrickklepek could you clarify what this means if you know? To me it sounds like if Guy A is playing any game whatsoever than Guy B won't be able to play any games he doesn't own from the shared library.

This all sounds awesome and really exciting but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Yeah, I read that sentence a few times. If that's so, then this is more comparable to having multiple profiles on one Xbox than it is having multiple Xboxes with one profile sharing its games with another profile.

This would be handy if you share a computer with a family member or something so that you can keep separate sets of saves, but it's not very handy if I want to loan a friend a game. Seems like if I do that, I can't go home and play something else.

It also sounds like you can't access Steam at all, which, if you're primary social network is on steam...

#74 Posted by Marokai (2640 posts) -

This seems only mildly more convenient than sharing passwords.

#75 Edited by Crunchman (369 posts) -

Being able to only play one game at a time per library is a bit much to be very useful for active users. I lament not many modern games having demos though, so this is potentially cool for having friends try out games they might wanna buy or, more importantly, seeing how well it'll run on their machines.

Hopefully it'll evolve and perhaps enable more freedom for games that support it. DRM-free is movement that people have gotten behind (GOG.com) but has been subverted by Steam's DRM but otherwise excellent service dominating the market. In it's current form, it's still changing Steam's DRM policy in a more liberating direction.

#76 Posted by SoothsayerGB (1468 posts) -

This is nice. Steam making moves against consoles?

To be honest, the only Steam feature I am interested in is owning my own games and playing them without the steam DRM. One can dream.

#77 Posted by TheRealTimesplitter (61 posts) -

PC + steam FTW!!!

#78 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1452 posts) -

Can all Steam games be shared with friends and family?

No, due to technical limitations, some Steam games may be unavailable for sharing. For example, titles that require an additional third-party key, account, or subscription in order to play cannot be shared between accounts.

...

That rules out a lot of games from the start ... pretty much everything from big publishers.

#79 Posted by Dezinus (169 posts) -

Sweet! Now my friends and family can also stare blankly at my games list and not decide to play any of them!

#82 Posted by JoeyRavn (4889 posts) -
@fwpx said:

I was super excited when I read the first few paragraphs, but this actually makes my particular scenario worse.

My wife loves Dragon Age: Origins. Loves it. She's probably beaten it 8-10 times now. She's always asking to play it, it's on my Steam account, so I let her just log on and play it. She is super against (and logically so) me buying her a copy because it's a waste of money. Why would we spend money on a copy for her if she can type 8 digits into steam and get access to it? So I thought this plan would finally solve that, until I read that only one user can access the library at a time. Now, if she's playing DA:O and I want to play a game, i just log in and boot her off of steam and the game keeps running. With this, she would be forced to quit out? Dumb.

This is just a more restrictive, more secure way to share your games. No thanks.

Uh... I don't get what you're complaining about, since you're not better or worse than before. While your wife was using your account, you couldn't use it. Now, you can't either. It's the exact same situation. How does it make your particular scenario any worse?

It's not a "more restrictive" way to share your games, since 1. you weren't supposed to share them before and 2. even if you did, again, you would still be locked out of your account, since another person would be using it. The only way you could consider this to be "more restrictive" than something else is if you are somehow coming up with an imaginary situation in which Steam lets you share all the games you want with anyone you want and let everyon play them at the same time... which is not the case, so, again, big deal.

Also, Dragon Age: Origins with all the DLC is like $10 or $15 by now. If she plays it so much, it's totally worth the purchase.

#83 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3599 posts) -

Can all Steam games be shared with friends and family?

No, due to technical limitations, some Steam games may be unavailable for sharing. For example, titles that require an additional third-party key, account, or subscription in order to play cannot be shared between accounts.

...

That rules out a lot of games from the start ... pretty much everything from big publishers.

If anything I'd feel like indie's might go that way more, but maybe I'm wrong.

I know if I'm the studio making "Gone Home" for example, or a small game with a small price that doesn't take too long to finish, this would probably be pretty bad for my business.

#84 Posted by Luddite (71 posts) -

Meh, doesn't seem like a really big thing. It'd be great if the ladyfriend could play stuff on my account while I was playing a different game on my account, but as it is it's just a way to have a marginally more secure method of more than one individual using a set of login credentials.

#85 Edited by leebmx (1876 posts) -

Wait, is it one person can play a specific game from a library at a time (sensible), or one person can play from a specific library at a time (no different than sharing your password)?

Seems like the latter. I don't see what is so exciting about this to be honest. You've been able to do it on an Xbox for years.

#86 Posted by DragonBomb (23 posts) -

Gotta say I can't really agree with Patrick about this. Currently PSN has a better 'sharing' solution than Valve does and you can play a game simultaneously. Having everyone else kicked out when the master account logs in makes this useless for 99.9% of the people. Especially for hardcore gamers like ourselves.

#87 Posted by oldskooldeano (100 posts) -

"strangers things have happened."

What're ya sharin' Stranger?

#88 Posted by subyman (562 posts) -

I access Steam through 4 different devices right now, will each device consume a shared slot? This seems more about authorizing only a limited number of devices instead of a great sharing scheme.

#89 Posted by manbot47 (195 posts) -

dividing is inviting

#90 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@artisanbreads: @leebmx: Yeah this just dropped from cool to extremely limited functionality. My example of me playing my girlfriend's Saints and her playing my DMC holds true, that could work. But if I want to play her Saints and she wants to play her Outlast, one of us is being booted off and that's ... already how it is.

#91 Edited by Wandrecanada (387 posts) -

You still get kicked off if you're playing a game and the "family" member logs in. That means it's great for households with a single computer but don't bother trying to log in with multiple systems at once.

Oh i want to see Microsofts reaction.

They'll probably just say, "Yep we've been doing that for years now."

It's not a library share so much as a multiple user login to a single account.

#92 Posted by ICantBeStopped (319 posts) -

@fwpx said:

I was super excited when I read the first few paragraphs, but this actually makes my particular scenario worse.

My wife loves Dragon Age: Origins. Loves it. She's probably beaten it 8-10 times now. She's always asking to play it, it's on my Steam account, so I let her just log on and play it. She is super against (and logically so) me buying her a copy because it's a waste of money. Why would we spend money on a copy for her if she can type 8 digits into steam and get access to it? So I thought this plan would finally solve that, until I read that only one user can access the library at a time. Now, if she's playing DA:O and I want to play a game, i just log in and boot her off of steam and the game keeps running. With this, she would be forced to quit out? Dumb.

This is just a more restrictive, more secure way to share your games. No thanks.

Have you tried logging into Steam, restarting it in offline mode on the machine she wants to play on, then logging onto Steam on a different computer? I do this all the time to keep a little time wasting game up on my laptop between loads and breaks on bigger games on my desktop.

#93 Posted by Nashvilleskyline (187 posts) -

Funny on how this comment under the news title about steam ( this could be big ) was never mentioned in any of Patrick's news about the xbox one original idea back in May.

Oh well

#94 Edited by Funkydupe (3293 posts) -

Just imagining all the angry posts and calls and e-mails Steam support is going to have to deal with now when people are wondering why they can't share their games while playing one of their own games in the same library. Just judging from a lot of the people saying this is so awesome.

Baby-steps. :)

#96 Posted by Celestatiune (7 posts) -

It's not the greatest innovation in the world, but say you have a friend who plays, and really likes, Remember Me. Let's say you're vaguely interested and kind of want to see what it's about but don't want to just straight up drop 50-60 dollars or whatever that game was at release. He/she could temporarily add you as a family member, give you a few hours with the game at the cost of not being able to steam game himself, then if you ended up liking it, you'd probably be at least a little more likely to eat the full price of the game than wait for the inevitable 50% off steam sale 6 months down the road.

Not exactly changing the landscape of intellectual property rights management or anything but I can't really see a huge downside for anyone. I guess there's some potential for abuse but honestly it sounds like the way it's set up if you want to be dishonest it's way easier to just grab a torrent of the game than to try and schedule who's allowed to play on the account when.

#97 Posted by Sergio (1775 posts) -

How come I get a feeling the same people that Buuh'd the Xbox One DRM stuff are going to Hurray! at this news... It's an odd world, the world.

I don't think anyone "Buuh'd" the sharing feature, just the always online aspect ("DRM"). I know people like to connect the two because Microsoft did.

#98 Posted by tourgen (4257 posts) -

a step in the right direction

I'd still like to see a digital lending system, on a single game license basis. If you could set a # day limit up front too that would be great. basically I'd like to be able to do whatever I could do previously with a disk. Why does "teh internets" mean I have to give up ownership rights? Fuck that. An 8hr license deactivation period on either end of the lending operation would even be fine with me.

#99 Edited by myketuna (1631 posts) -

@celestatiune said:

It's not the greatest innovation in the world, but say you have a friend who plays, and really likes, Remember Me. Let's say you're vaguely interested and kind of want to see what it's about but don't want to just straight up drop 50-60 dollars or whatever that game was at release. He/she could temporarily add you as a family member, give you a few hours with the game at the cost of not being able to steam game himself, then if you ended up liking it, you'd probably be at least a little more likely to eat the full price of the game than wait for the inevitable 50% off steam sale 6 months down the road.

I can see my friends and myself doing something like this. Considering we all have complementary schedules, while one of us is at work/school, we can share something. It will also be a nice way to test games on some of my buddies' older PCs. One of my friends wanted to know if Bioshock Infinite would run acceptably on his machine and ultimately decided to risk it and buy it to check. Ended up running fine, but if we had this option, he could have just borrowed my copy.

#100 Posted by Uberjannie (283 posts) -

Now my nephew suddenly got access to soon to be 500 games! This is sick! O.o
I need professional help to rid myself of my steam-game hoarding -.-

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