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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 2: Click on the Steam tab and click Exit to log out your friend.
Step 3: Re-launch Steam and log in to your account and click on the Steam tab and then click on Settings.
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 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.
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!