Steam Announces Family Sharing

Steam LogoSteam Family Sharing, a new service feature that allows close friends and family members to share their libraries of Steam games, is coming to Steam. The feature will become available next week, in limited beta on Steam.

What does this mean? From early reports and what we can find on Steam’s forums, you will be able to designate family and close friends (not sure how many at this point) to be able to share your library of games. They will be able to install and store their own saves and application data to the Steam cloud.

Though simultaneous usage of an account’s library is not allowed, the lender may always access and play his games at any time. If he decides to start playing when a friend is borrowing one of his games, the friend will be given a few minutes to either purchase the game or quit playing.

Microsoft and Sony have been playing with the idea of shared libraries for some time now, but have not been able to find a good solution. Here’s hoping Steam’s foray into these uncharted waters pave the way for other platforms to follow.