Steam Families puts game sharing and parental controls in one place

The feature is currently available in beta.


Steam is introducing a new way for your clan to play games together. The platform has announced Steam Families, a collection of game-sharing (and monitoring) features for parents and children currently available in beta. It takes the place of Steam Family Sharing and Steam Family View, rolling in some of their existing features alongside updates.

Each member of a Steam Family will have a section called "family library" in their games list where they can access shareable games. Ownership remains with the purchaser, but each new title bought will appear in the list. You can play another member's games even when they're online (as long as they're playing another game). Plus, you can save your own progress and achievements.

You can invite up to five other family members to your Steam Family account, with each member assigned the role of parent or child. Only adults can manage the account or implement parental controls, such as setting playtime limits (and reviewing requests for more), seeing playtime reports and choosing which games a child can play. Plus, they can control access to the Steam Store and chats.

Steam Families also streamlines the process of children getting parental approval to buy games (thus, ideally for Steam, making them more frequent). Children can now request an adult on the plan to pay for their shopping cart, which a parent can manage via email or phone by pressing approve or decline.

Steam Family is currently in beta and requires each member to join to participate. You can find the option to join under Interface and then choose Steam Family Beta in the Client Beta Participation dropdown menu.