Valve has announced its Steam Family Sharing Plan, which will allow a user to share his/her complete library with family and friends on up to 10 devices. You can’t selectively choose which games an authorized user would have access to, it’s either all or nothing. The authorized user will be able to play games in the library as long as the owner is not playing ANY game at all, in which case the authorized user will be given a notification to either purchase the game or be disconnected in a few minutes. This may initially appear to be no different from just giving a family member or friend your user info and letting them log in as you, but there are some differences that I feel are a step in the right direction.
- Authorized users do not have access to your financial information or any other private information
- Authorized users still have access to their own library and will have separate achievements, save points, etc for all games you share
- You can be logged in on two different machines simultaneously and have access to your library
The first difference is extremely easy to understand and there’s no risk of items being purchased, accounts left open or anything else that would negatively affect you. If you’re big on keeping track of achievements, you’ll now be able to have your own achievements for games you loan or borrow. And in the case of some games, you won’t have to worry about saves being synced or overwritten. And the last one is somewhat of a workaround to the inability to be logged in at the same time on two different devices, a desktop and a laptop, even if you’re not playing any games. Now I can just create an account for my laptop and just share the entire library. I think this will make sharing games and even trying games before purchasing much easier. Valve’s Steam Family Sharing Plan is definitely a step in the right direction