How to Share Steam Games

avatar

How to Share Steam Games

Steam

Lend your Steam Library to up to 10 of your friends for free

It’s finally here! Valve's long-awaited Steam family sharing feature has finally hit the masses. You can now share your games with up to 10 friends or family members. Sharing Steam games isn't as easy as just clicking a share button, unfortunately. Your friend will initially need to log into Steam on your PC to enable the sharing process. To help guide you through this process, we've compiled a step-by-step guide on how to enable the Steam sharing function.

Note: A shared Steam Library may only be accessed by one user at a time. What this means is that two users cannot use the same Library to play two different games at the same time.

Step 1: Launch Steam on your computer and have a friend log in to their account. After they try logging in, they will be prompted to enter a Steam verification code (sent to them via email). Once you enter the verification code, your PC will be granted access to their Steam account. 

Step 1

Step 2: Click on the Steam tab and click Exit to log out your friend.

Step 2

Step 3: Re-launch Steam and log in to your account and click on the Steam tab and then click on Settings.

Step 3

Step 4: Click on the Family tab and the accounts you can authorize (your friend's, for instance) will be listed below in the Authorized Accounts column. Go ahead and authorize their account. 

Step 4

Step 5: When your friend launches Steam on their computer, your games will show up at the bottom of their library. Note: Only the games you don't already own between you and your friend will be displayed here.

Step 5

If you’re playing a game that belongs to a friend, that title will have its own independent cloud save and achievements for each account. We like this feature as you won't have to worry about your friends overwriting your personal saved data, but we dislike the fact that you can't just lend out individual games to friends, and you have to lend your entire library instead. The good news is that if your friend is playing a game that you want to play, you can simply boot them out. We also don't like the authentication method, which is very clunky and a little confusing as it took us a while to figure out. In addition, it requires the presence of your friend to phyiscally log on to your computer initially. If your friend has a lot of trust in you, however, they can provide you with their Steam login/password to avoid the initial step, but we only advise this if both parties can be trusted. 

Valve has made a very smart pro-gamer move to attract more people to PC gaming since new PC gamers will be able to borrow a friend’s massive Steam Library for free. It will be interesting to see how PC game sales will be affected by this.

What do you think of Valve's new Steam sharing feature? Let us know in the comments below! 

Follow Chris on Google+ or Twitter

52

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Cancer_Ridden_Lung

Quote:
"
Note: A shared Steam Library may only be accessed by one user at a time. What this means is that two users cannot use the same Library to play two different games at the same time.
"

So yeah...the whole thing is pointless.

I have over 200 games and my friend has over 200 games.
We share each other's libraries but we can't play each other's games if (god forbid) both of us wants to play at the same time.

Steam family share is worthless in it's current state.

That said...here is how to cheat the system...put your account in Steam's offline mode and your friend can still leech off of your library.

avatar

stradric

This feature is not intended to share your library with your friend across the country like it was originally billed as by the media (partially Valve's fault, btw). It's intended so that a parent who has a personal Steam library and gamer kids doesn't have to have their kids use the parent's Steam account, which interferes with game saves and achievement progress and what not.

In other words, if I'm at work and my kids want to play a game that's in my library and not theirs, previously they would have used my account with my friends list and my achievements. Now they can use their own account with their own friends list and their own achievements. It's a big step in the right direction, but not the game sharing feature most people want (i.e. the one Microsoft wanted to have with the Xbox One before the gaming community called for its death).

If this feature was intended to share individual games with friends, it would not be called "Steam *Family* Sharing" and would probably lead publishers to quit enabling amazing pricing in Steam sales.

I'm not sure why people get so angry that this feature isn't what they expected. It's still progress.

avatar

Upyourbucket

I am more comfortable going out and buying a disc then buying something internet based.This way I control whats done with it. I don't like having a service in control of my games that I bought and should be able to control. Its always nice to look over at your physical copy and be able to have something worth a salt.

avatar

stradric

To each their own I guess. Personally, I loath physical copies. Most of the time they are just installers anyway with a key that grants access through a DRM platform like Steam, Battle.net, Origin or Uplay. The only thing your physical copy buys you is saving a few minutes from having to download the files. It's great if your internet connection is slow, but now the disc just takes up room and collects dust on a shelf somewhere.

Also, once the key is loaded into the DRM platform, the disc doesn't really have any value unless you're trying to scam someone.

For older games that require the disc to play the game, the disc is even worse. Now your ability to play the game is tied to both the condition of the disc and the functionality of your optical drive. Should the disc get damaged or lost in a move, you can never play that game again. Digital distribution services solve that problem.

avatar

maleficarus™

I agree with you on this one. Physical copies of games are a thing of the past. People still hanging onto this mentality are still stuck in 90's when game boxes were the size of DVD players. I can't count how many game discs no longer work due to a scratch or two. Actually this just happened to me the other day. I wanted to play one of my all time favorite game titles called Homeworld 2. After an hour of looking I finally found the game buried away in a box. I plopped the game disc in and guess what? It would not read at all no matter how many times I tried. I looked at the disc and there was a nice ulgy scratch from one side to the other. So much for that as basically the disc is nothing more then a paper weight now...

If that game was in my steam or Origin application all I would have to do is simply download it and play!

avatar

maleficarus™

I used to think that way to until my physical copies no longer worked due to scratches. LOL

avatar

Renegade Knight

I used to think that until I realized that for 5 bucks I've invested little enough to where I don't care. Normally I lose 10-20 bucks buying new and selling it when I'm done. However paying 10 bucks for a game I could lose doesn't sit well.

avatar

vrmlbasic

Oh Steam, now to play a game between my 2 computers (and their unique steam accounts) I'll have to connect to the internet and send data thousands of miles to do what I used to be able to do by simply moving a disc from one drive to another.

This doesn't really break my heart, unlike the death of LAN gaming in modern games. GOG's modern games have really played into Steam's hands with that one as, if I must play online, Steam beats the alternative.

avatar

ochimo

It sounds to me like your saying that when you enable this feature, you have to copy the files to the other computer...? So that your family member can play? That is not correct.
If you enable this for your family member then they download the game from steam.

avatar

dragonfang18

couldnt you copy the game from the local files and just paste it into the other computer? Then when you select to install it should detect those files, maybe changing some user files since it is the only difference?

avatar

Scatter

I find it completely pointless for me and my family.

All I want to be able to do is what I'd always been able to do with gaming for the past 30 years. I want to be able to play one game that I purchased on my PC while my wife plays an entirely different game that I purchased on her laptop at the same time.

avatar

Rictus

Huh? That's exactly what you can do. We have 3 steam accounts at my house. Mine and my two kids. I can play any game on my computer that they own and I don't own, as long as they aren't playing it at the time.
If you do it correctly all their games show up in your steam account.

avatar

chriszele

Scatter is correct. You can't play two games from the same Library at the same time.

avatar

Rictus

I was almost certain we had done this. It says "shared library". Not all games are capable of sharing, so does this mean you can play a game that isn't shareable while somebody else plays one that is?

avatar

Carlidan

But I thought you were able to do that? Could of at least let on of your friend play while your playing too. But guess asking too much.

avatar

Scatter

According to the Family Sharing FAQ only one person can access a single Steam library at the same time. So even if I'm playing Civilization V my wife couldn't play any other game in my library at the same time.

avatar

maleficarus™

After you finish the cheese with the wine just play at different times already and stop your bitchen...

avatar

ziggyinc

the whole point of having multiple computers is so that you don't HAVE to get off your computer when your kids and wife want to play. This added functionality is little different that logging my account in on my sons computer.

avatar

Scatter

That's like saying that both you and your wife can have your own cars but you can only have on of them on the road at a time.

avatar

ziggyinc

ikr

avatar

thomasomalley13

Can you use this feature to play multiplayer games with your friends simultaneously?

avatar

LatiosXT

If the original owner launches the game, it boots whoever's using it. So no.

avatar

thomasomalley13

Aww..
I guess you could use it to recommend stuff though.
Thanks for the reply.

avatar

ziggyinc

I thought Oh Cool now I can share my games with my son. However he cannot play a game if I play a game. I want to play euro truck sim 2 and he wanted to play Angry birds space, and it kicked him out. even if we want to play different games it won't allow it....... whats the point?

avatar

Rictus

You probably did something wrong. You can't be logged into the same account at the same time. Either that or it was just a early hiccup. You should be able to play different games at the same time on two different accounts.

avatar

chriszele

You can only play games on one Library at a time. If your friend is playing a game on your Library and you log on to your account and launch a game from your Library too, he/she will be booted from the game they are playing.

avatar

Rictus

Well then, I'll have to agree...that kinda sucks.

avatar

maleficarus™

Play at different times then. How is this any different with a physical copy on a console? Only one disc to share right...

avatar

ziggyinc

Because I own multiple computers, but we can only play one game at a time. Total fail.

avatar

Biceps

Mal, I appreciate and share your enthusiasm for this new Steam feature, and agree Steam is generally awesome. That said, your comparison is incorrect. This is a great feature, but is not the same as having each individual disc... it is more like having all your game discs superglued together and so being able to use all of them or none. This feature is really cool, but not as awesome as it would be if my buddies could play my copy of Company of Heroes 2 while I played my copy of Starbound. If Steam did implement that level of "sharability', though, I think they might go out of business. I will be happy with this, since no other digital platform is offering it.

avatar

maleficarus™

If every time you loaded up steam you got a free blow-job you guys would still bitch because you did not get 2 blow-jobs. Why all the complaining about being able to share games with your family?

It is cool and free stop crying about stuff like this!

avatar

Carlidan

I think most are complaining because the way vavlve made most people think they could play a game and another of friend could play another game in their library as long as it wasn't the same game. That was what most people thought and they find out it wasn't the case.

avatar

Scatter

If both my wife and I each owned our own Xboxes we would both be able to play different games at the same time.

avatar

maleficarus™

And that would cost a grand to play a game with two consoles. How does that even come close to making smart sense?

avatar

ziggyinc

2-3 grand for each of the computers that my wife and I use..... your argument holds no water Mal.

avatar

Scatter

you're the one that brought up consoles and said that it couldn't be done. Both my wife and I own our own computers. I have my PC while she owns her own laptop. We're not supposed to be able to use them at the same time?

avatar

LatiosXT

I think the keyword here is "Family". This way Bob's parents don't have to buy him a copy of a game they bought for Alice's birthday. It's no different than if they bought Alice a PS3 game and made her share with Bob.

Otherwise, the "friends" portion of it defeats the purpose. I'd like to play the games on my friends' library... but they're not local.

avatar

Carlidan

I'm think you could give your friend your username and password and just email the conformation number. Or vice versa. If you trust him. It should be able to work. If I've read it, he just needs "you" to login on his computer for it work and add you to his share list. After he's done that, I would just change password on your account.

avatar

LatiosXT

As much as I trust my friends... I don't trust them that much ;)

avatar

Carlidan

I don't even trust my siblings :) with my steam.

avatar

John Pombrio

This was non trivial for me as the Steam instructions said nothing about having to log in to the other person's account. Then there was the E-Mail that gives a code word that you need to type in and go to the other machine to retrieve the e-mail and code word. Then you need to log out and authorize the account. The same procedure needs to be done on the OTHER machine so that their games will show up. Oh yeah, I had to repeat the other login as somehow the first time did not "catch".
It should have been a 5 minute procedure but it took a good 2 hours and a lot web searching to figure it out. FRUSTRATING!

avatar

jbitzer

It never ceases to amaze me that a computer engineer has so much trouble with simple tasks. Of course if it's a chance for John to down Steam....

avatar

John Pombrio

Oh Yeah? How many software engineers does it take to change a light-bulb? None, it's a hardware problem!
I have my degree in electronics, not computer software. I fixed million dollar test and measurement sytems, not programming them. I have a minor in programming, Cobol, Snobol, APL, and Assembler, I hated them all!
Yeah, this was a 5 minute procedure that took me over 2 hours to do, not one of my finest accomplishments! There was also a LOT of swearing and cursing involved, luckily no cats were harmed in the the procedure.

avatar

Renegade Knight

It was fairly quick. I logged into my account on the machine and authorized it for family sharing. Done. When I gave it back and they logged in to their own account they had access.

avatar

John Pombrio

Well NOW you tell me!

avatar

JosephColt

Keep in mind to only do this with people you fully trust, and read the following:

"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. In addition, VAC-banned games cannot be shared. We recommend you only authorize familiar Steam Accounts and familiar computers you know to be secure. And as always, never give your password to anyone."

"Any game with a VAC ban will not be able to be shared."

avatar

maleficarus™

Steam is simply the best and stuff like this just backs this up!

avatar

jimmthang

It's definitely awesome for gamers. I just wonder if it might backfire on Valve...I hope it proves to be financially viable for the company.

avatar

JosephColt

This isn't an issue because both users cannot use the same library at once, it will be unappealing for the masses, and with sale it will kind of pointless. This is for a very small niche.

avatar

maleficarus™

This works perfect for families. I have 2 step kids that now have the ability to play all my steam games for free!