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Posted

Steam Might Soon Let You Share Your Games With Your Friends

 

You can lend your friends a console disc. You can not lend them a game you buy on Steam. Or at least, you haven't been able to previously. That might soon be about to change.
 
Some code buried in the latest Steam client beta (pictured above), first spotted by NeoGAF poster Grief.exe but which I can also see in my directory, has revealed the presence of something called a "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."
For three lines of code, that seems to present a pretty clear plan: you can let other Steam users "borrow" your games, then take them back whenever it suits.
 
As it stands, right now once you buy a Steam game that's it. It's yours, tied to your account, and you can't trade it in, sell it or lend it like you could a physical console game.
 
Letting PC gamers share their games, then, would be amazing, though how Valve is selling this to publishers I have no idea. Maybe every single full game can now be its own demo as well? Maybe Microsoft's ten-person "family sharing" plan for the Xbox One, which sounds a lot like this, is helping soften the blow for this kind of stuff?
 
Or maybe it'll just be an option for publishers that almost nobody chooses to make use of. Or something the company is looking at/thinking about, but may never actually implement. Sorry to end this on a downer, but hey, that's business for you.
 
We've contacted Valve for comment, and will update if we hear back.
 
Source: Kotaku

 

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Posted

I doubt it.  They'd have to renegotiate with a lot of publishers.

 

Not that it can't or won't be done eventually, but I doubt it'll happen anytime soon.

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Posted

Gabe can do no wrong. This reminds me of the time they updated their tos to copy origin's policy of not stealing games from banned users.

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Posted

So, just like Xbox One!  But this will be innovative and the savior of the gaming industry. 

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Posted

So, just like Xbox One!  But this will be innovative and the savior of the gaming industry. 

Yep! Wait....ah yes I can go on Steam and typically get games at far lower prices.

 

Learn to troll better next time :).

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Posted

So, just like Xbox One!  But this will be innovative and the savior of the gaming industry. 

This is exactly like the Xbone, in that nobody knows how it will work.

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Posted

This would be amazing.   I'd like to be able to give the games I no longer want to people, that would be an awesome feature :) as I don't play every game in my Steam Library.   It'll be like Xbox one but at the same time without the intrusive and appauling DRM policies.

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Posted

Ja... this seems like a reaction to Xbox One and its DRM, it's almost like Valve saying "yeah... you want to disguise yourself as steam, we will simply then improve it to show you how to online games"

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Posted

So, just like Xbox One!  But this will be innovative and the savior of the gaming industry. 

Yeah, Microsoft copied Steam, but at least you don't have to be online every 24h on Steam to play games off-line. Microsoft could have got a lot less flak if they hadn't added that "feature".

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NinjaZidane, on 19 Jun 2013 - 08:55, said:

Yep! Wait....ah yes I can go on Steam and typically get games at far lower prices.

 

Learn to troll better next time :).

You understand that this DRM has been implemented so the cost of console games can go down, right? But keep resorting to ad hominems, it makes your argument seem stronger :)  

Yeah, Microsoft copied Steam, but at least you don't have to be online every 24h on Steam to play games off-line. Microsoft could have got a lot less flak if they hadn't added that "feature".

We don't know how Steam is going to do this yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a similar "feature" when the lending library is enabled. 

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Posted

Eh... All I really want to be able to do with Steam is transfer some of the games on my account over to my kids account, because I don't want them logging in to my account just to play them, and I don't play them myself.  That'd keep me plenty happy.

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Posted

So, just like Xbox One!  But this will be innovative and the savior of the gaming industry. 

except that you probably don't have to give them your username and password to play it (which may stop you from playing other games on your own console. Also you don't have to go to your friend's house to physically give them the game. So not like steam at all then really.

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Posted

Oh nice, now hopefully this happens, so that my fiance and I can share games with each other without having to buy two copies.. like we did with Modern Warfare 3, and Saints Row 3.. sheesh, that gets expensive. :/

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Posted

except that you probably don't have to give them your username and password to play it (which may stop you from playing other games on your own console. Also you don't have to go to your friend's house to physically give them the game. So not like steam at all then really.

What?  You don't have to give anyone your password or physically give them the game to share with Xbox One.

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Posted

I ain't holding my breath. 

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Posted

Steam is the poster child for the digital content model, so its not shocking to see them exploring these options. Digital content delivery is only going to continue to grow.

 

It also is interesting to consider the wider market. MS is taking a beating over its policies, but its interesting to see how they seem to be leading the way to improve the current digital content model that Steam pioneered.

 

If we step back for a moment and look at just the digital sales side of the X1, we see a program that has advantages over Steam. In fact, the X1 will offer you more control over the content you buy then Steam, while still offering all the benefits of a digital purchase. The 24hr check is the only difference I see, so if MS can phase that out, they will have an all around robust and effective digital content platform that easily competes with Steam.

 

If MS is willing to fix its policies in relation to content bought on discs and a proper offline mode like Steam, then we can actually start looking at the features and not worrying about drm.

 

In a weird way, if MS is successful, especially on the digital content side, it could force Steam to evaluate options to give us more control over digital content as well to compete. So I hope MS fixes the issues that have taken the focus away from gaming and are successful because of it, leading to more competition in the digital space.

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Posted

You understand that this DRM has been implemented so the cost of console games can go down, right?

Bull ######ing ######.

 

By what amount do you imagine their profits will increase, by implementing this DRM?

 

Now how much do you think the the cost of a game will decrease by?

 

If they are even

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Posted

I don't understand why this is such a complex issue. If there's a licensing system, then the solution to me pretty simple -- only one person per license can play at the same time. That would mean if you share your license with your friends, you and your friends can't play at the same time and whenever they'd be playing the game at exclusion of you playing, they're "borrowing" it. If both of you want to play at the same time, then you have to buy separate licenses.

 

That seems simple enough, doesn't it? Well, why can't the solution be that simple.

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torrentthief, on 19 Jun 2013 - 11:18, said:

except that you probably don't have to give them your username and password to play it (which may stop you from playing other games on your own console. Also you don't have to go to your friend's house to physically give them the game. So not like steam at all then really.

Thanks for establishing that you know absolutely nothing about Xbox One :) 

If they are even

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Posted

I don't understand why this is such a complex issue. If there's a licensing system, then the solution to me pretty simple -- only one person per license can play at the same time. That would mean if you share your license with your friends, you and your friends can't play at the same time and whenever they'd be playing the game at exclusion of you playing, they're "borrowing" it. If both of you want to play at the same time, then you have to buy separate licenses.

 

That seems simple enough, doesn't it? Well, why can't the solution be that simple.

The problem with that is that most games only take between 8 and 20 hours to complete, meaning that they can be completed in a matter of days. If you can then simply lend the game to a friend without any additional money going to the publisher then it will inevitably hurt sales, meaning that prices will go up or budgets will have to be slashed. It's very different to physical media, as in that there is an implicit trust and a necessity for physical proximity - with digital lending the risk is eliminated and the system is opened up to entire regions / the entire planet. It also negates the impact of sales, as why bother picking up a game for 50% off three months after release when you can play it for free a week after release?

 

Lending has the potential to have a positive impact upon the gaming industry but it has to be implemented carefully. With Microsoft paving the way with the X1 Valve is now in a better position to negotiate with publishers for game lending.

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Posted

The problem with that is that most games only take between 8 and 20 hours to complete, meaning that they can be completed in a matter of days. If you can then simply lend the game to a friend without any additional money going to the publisher then it will inevitably hurt sales, meaning that prices will go up or budgets will have to be slashed. It's very different to physical media, as in that there is an implicit trust and a necessity for physical proximity - with digital lending the risk is eliminated and the system is opened up to entire regions / the entire planet. It also negates the impact of sales, as why bother picking up a game for 50% off three months after release when you can play it for free a week after release?

 

Lending has the potential to have a positive impact upon the gaming industry but it has to be implemented carefully. With Microsoft paving the way with the X1 Valve is now in a better position to negotiate with publishers for game lending.

It comes down to the fact that you don't really own your licenses, I guess.

 

Can you already do what I suggested, btw, by sharing Steam accounts?

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Posted

This may also be a setup to comply with EU law about license transfer, and to give publishers option in the United States.

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Posted

This may also be a setup to comply with EU law about license transfer, and to give publishers option in the United States.

 

That would be transferral though, this is lending.

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Posted

Perhaps if someone wants to borrow a game off another person, then there could be a borrowing charge?

 

That way, the publishers would still get some money, and the borrower wouldn't have to pay as much.

 

I know borrowing usually means using something for free then giving it back, but as sharing digital content could be abused and lower profits for publishers, then paying say 10-25% of a full priced game could be a happy-compromise?

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Posted

So, just like Xbox One!  But this will be innovative and the savior of the gaming industry. 

Really?  I didn't know it was released, yet.  Where can I get one?

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