Valve makes change to the Steam Family Sharing program to restrict access

Not many users have heard of it and even fewer users have gotten to test it out, but Valve has high hopes for its “Steam Family Sharing” program.

Currently only accessible to those invited to participate in the beta testing phase, Steam Family Sharing enables users to share their library of games with family members, friends, or even total strangers. The catch? Only one person at a time can access a shared steam library.

Previously, the sharing plan worked solely on a machine by machine basis. A user could authorize up to ten machines so that anyone with a steam account could access that user’s library of games on any one of those ten machines.

Now, as described in a brief forum post, Valve has changed the program so that only up to 10 authorized users may access a particular library on 10 designated machines. This will, Valve says, allow “lenders more control while reducing the risk of VAC or other bans resulting from an unknown user accessing and abusing shared games on an authorized machine.”

In the future, Valve likely hopes that Steam’s Family Sharing system will be one of the key differentiators that allows its upcoming Steam Machines to stand out among Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s latest consoles. Hopefully, the prospect of increased competition will encourage Microsoft to reincorporate its own digital sharing plan back into the Xbox One. 

Source: Steam Community | Image via softpedia.com

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft quietly ends support for Windows 7 dynamic themes

Next Story

Apple acquires rapid image camera company SnappyLabs

29 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Steam needs to make it ok to be logged on to multiple systems first. The fact I get signed out of my primary system when I start my laptop is ridiculous ....

I agree but the only way to do that is require you to be online all the time. Otherwise it's real easy to game the system to let as any people as you want play the game at the same time.

Scabrat said,
Steam needs to make it ok to be logged on to multiple systems first. The fact I get signed out of my primary system when I start my laptop is ridiculous ....

I agree, but it's all a work in progress as they transition.

dead.cell said,

I agree, but it's all a work in progress as they transition.

There's not really any work to be done. There's not a lot of options here. It's just a matter of choosing a licensing method, and they seem to be choosing exactly what everyone whined and complained about Microsoft doing and then calling it an exclusive feature.

"everyone whined"

And what exactly is it that you and many others here are doing? Seriously, we have this conversation all over this article and many other articles, even when they have jack crap to do with Xbox or Microsoft. I'm pretty sure we know where you guys stand already, hell I can list your names off the top of my head. Sheesh.

dead.cell said,
"everyone whined"

hell I can list your names off the top of my head. Sheesh.

Sad but true.

Why does it sign us out anyways? I log into Chrome on two systems. I log into Skydrive on two systems. It seems like an easier thing to do without being online all the time.

Last I heard, if you are sharing your library with a person and that person is playing a game from your library, it isn't possible for you to play a different game from your library at the same time. Does anyone know if this is still the case?

"Family Sharing allows selected accounts to use your game libray on authorized computers while you're not playing."

That's from the authorisation page so its still the same

It's much safer though than sharing an account, which is what many do anyway. I work a lot, but if this means I can share my almost... 200 games with someone else, then by all means.

The possibility of VAC bans are the reason I would never share my games with strangers. Who in their right mind would? However this would be really great for sharing with my family instead of having to buy multiple copies of games.

What I don't get is, the person you want to share your game with still has to login with his/her own account. So if I shared CS:GO with bob the builder, he still has to login with his account to play it. If he cheats, then HIS account should get the ban not mine.

Think of it a different way, bad player A lends game to bad player B.. B gets banned then makes a new account, A re-lends to B's new account then gets banned and repeat until valve get wise to what's going on.

Or they could just ban bad player A for lending it to someone who causes trouble and teach them to be more careful next time

Yeah I hadn't really thought it over that way but I guess they probably would be the one getting banned if they cheated. I still don't know if I would share my games with strangers though.

From the Family Sharing FAQ:

Q: Will I be punished for any cheating or fraud conducted by other users while playing my games? A: Your Family Sharing privileges may be revoked and your account may also be VAC banned if your library is used by others to conduct cheating or fraud.

So apparently you can indeed be banned if other people cheat when borrowing your games. That doesn't seem fair but as I feared in the first place it would be wise to share with extreme caution.

Mr. Hand said,
They key differentiator? So, we they also part of the PR campaign to get that feature disabled on Xbox One?

Not even really close, you can use steam in offline mode - you can't at all with the original XBone concept.

n_K said,

Not even really close, you can use steam in offline mode - you can't at all with the original XBone concept.

You can, for 24 hours.

n_K said,

Not even really close, you can use steam in offline mode - you can't at all with the original XBone concept.

Please, explain how the sharing would work without disabled the offline checkout.

n_K said,

Not even really close, you can use steam in offline mode - you can't at all with the original XBone concept.

You have to login to Steam first before you can go offline. And anyone it's shared with will also have to login. In case you don't know... that means using the internet.

NoClipMode said,

You have to login to Steam first before you can go offline. And anyone it's shared with will also have to login. In case you don't know... that means using the internet.


Obviously, you've gotta login to steam to download the games too or is that just something to ignore?

n_K said,

Not even really close, you can use steam in offline mode - you can't at all with the original XBone concept.

This is not true.. Leave Steam system offline and see what happens.

The XB1 was only going to require the users be connected at some point in a 24hr period, this was specifically to allow a check/unlock so rental games and shared games would not get locked to a user no longer authorized.

Lord Method Man said,

Right, the outrage over the ridiculous DRM policies that would make the likes of EA blush was all just "PS4 fanboys" trying to "sabotage" the Xbox One.

So, you consider being able to share your license with anyone on the Internet more ridiculous DRM than having a encryption locked optical disk you must pass around that dies with a scratch? Or do you prefer host ID locked where you can never install the game on a second piece of hardware if it dies or you upgrade?

n_K said,

Obviously, you've gotta login to steam to download the games too or is that just something to ignore?

Don't bother arguing. They love to exaggerate that being against Microsoft's DRM policies means everyone suddenly hates the internet. We could've likely had something better, but Microsoft didn't have time to allow for anything in between. It was either yes or no, otherwise, we'd have never gotten a 2013 release which (in my opinion) might have been a good idea.

Mobius Enigma said,

This is not true.. Leave Steam system offline and see what happens.

The XB1 was only going to require the users be connected at some point in a 24hr period, this was specifically to allow a check/unlock so rental games and shared games would not get locked to a user no longer authorized.

Mobius Enigma said,

This is not true.. Leave Steam system offline and see what happens.

Steam was offline on my end for pretty much 2 days January 3rd and 4th. Had no problem playing my games.