Steam announces Family Sharing beta, for lending out your digital downloads

You probably thought family plans were just for cellular data. Well, sir or madame, you are wrong. Soon enough you'll be able to share games you purchased through Steam with your friends and family, as well. The king of downloadable gaming has just announced Steam Family Sharing, which will allow customers to authorize certain devices to access their library of lendable titles. The same way that you're able to loan out a physical copy of a game or a book, you'll now be able to lend your digital downloads to others. And, if you see that your brother has a game you've been on the fence about, you can request access and try it for yourself. There are, of course, limitations. Your library can only be used by one person at a time. So if you, the primary user, log in to spend some quality time with Call of Duty Ghosts, your buddy checking out Bastion ahead of Transistor's release will have only a few minutes to either save and quit, or buy the title for themselves. Family Sharing will be launching in a limited beta next week, and you can sign up for it at the source link.

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Steam Announces Family Sharing
Coming Soon: Players who share computers can also share their Steam games

September 11, 2013 - Steam Family Sharing, a new service feature that allows close friends and family members to share their libraries of Steam games, is coming to Steam, a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC, Mac, and Linux games and software. The feature will become available next week, in limited beta on Steam.

Steam Family Sharing is designed for close friends and family members to play one another's Steam games while each earning their own Steam achievements and storing their own saves and application data to the Steam cloud. It's all enabled by authorizing a shared computer.

"Our customers have expressed a desire to share their digital games among friends and family members, just as current retail games, books, DVDs, and other physical media can be shared," explained Anna Sweet of Valve. "Family Sharing was created in direct response to these user requests."

Once a device is authorized, the lender's library of Steam games becomes available for others on the machine to access, download, and play. 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.

For more information about Steam Family Sharing and the beta program, please visit