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Valve announces Steam Families as a new way to share Steam games with loved ones

Valve has just announced a major revamp of its family-sharing features on the Steam PC game service. The new version, which is available in the Steam beta client, is simply called Steam Families. It replaces the older Steam Family Sharing and Steam Family View features.

In a blog post, Valve says that a person can set up a Steam Families section, and then invite up to five other family members to join. After that, any member of that group can play any game that is owned by the six members of that group. If you play a game that's "owned" by another family member in that group you will get your own save games, achievements and access to any worship files you want to get for that game.

steam famlies

Also, you can play a game from another person's library of titles while they are playing another game. If a family member owns more than one copy of a game, multiple family members in the group can play that game at the same time.

In addition to the new game-sharing features, Steam Families also includes some parental controls for families with younger children. Parents can set up a number of different limits for their kids if they plan Steam games. They include:

  • Allow access to appropriate games
  • Restrict access to the Steam Store, Community or Friends Chat
  • Set playtime limits (hourly/daily)
  • View playtime reports
  • Approve or deny requests from child accounts for additional playtime or feature access (temporary or permanent)
  • Recover a child's account if they lost their password

In addition, there's a new system where a child in the Steam Families group can request one of the adults in the group to approve the purchase of a game.

If you want to try out the new system, go into your Steam client's Settings, then select Interface, then select the Select Steam Family Beta from the drop-down menu in the Client Beta Participation section. There's no word on when Steam Families will be available for all Steam users.

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