Digital media in video games is moving forward with Valve announcing a new feature to Steam - The ability to share your video game library to close friends and family. They are calling it a game changer, and they could be right.
This feature allows you to share your whole Steam library with up to 10 Steam members. The owner of the library can set who can access their library, or other Steam members can request access. Once a member's computer gets access to a library, they can download any game and have their own set of achievements and game progress saved in the Steam cloud. Shared library are only available one at a time so if the owner wants to play a game, the one using it will be given the option to exit the game, or buy their own copy to continue playing.
“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.”
Not all games though will be able to use this feature. Games with monthly subscriptions and that require a third-party key can't be shared. You will also have access to the shared library's DLC, but you can't purchase any DLC without buying the base game.
The feature will hit limited beta soon and if you want to try it out, join the Steam Family group on Steam. An FAQ is up if you have any more questions regarding the feature.
This is a very ambitious move coming from Valve and if they pull this off and ease the idea smoothly to their community, this could change how we think about digital copies as a whole.