Why Steam Family Sharing Equals Awesome
The announcement of Steam Family Sharing is a huge deal… Even though it really means you can only “share” your library of excellent PC games in an all-for-one manner with only one other person using the shared library at a given time. The move—in beta for now—means that something we own digitally (which is not our pop music iTunes library or some kind of device-locked Kindle book) can be shared with friends and family without stepping on any legal toes.
Under Steam’s Family Sharing plan, 10 users can share from a single library. Meaning, you can loan a friend a glorious PC game like the next Call of Duty, BioShock, or Saints Row. However, you can’t resell the game, and if your friend is playing and you try to play any other of your Steam games, said friend will get a polite message that play will end… but still. This is where it all begins, where digital media ownership gets ever closer to physical media ownership. But that’s still a ways off yet.
What Family Sharing Means For Me and Mine
Honestly, one of the best parts of gaming, a part that has not meshed well with Steam, has been sharing with younger generations. Now, when two generations of PC gamers want to share games, hallelujah, Family Sharing is the best way.
Before, as much as I might have wanted to introduce the kids to various new and classic PC games, not every one of those games catches their attentions. It has been easier to share 360 and PS3 games (even digital ones) with them.
With Family Sharing, I don’t have to buy them games that they might only play for 30 minutes before losing interest. Not only can I keep my Steam account for myself without having to give out my log-in info, but now the kids can earn their own achievements.
As for not being able to play at the exact same time, it’s not the end of the world. First, being the account holder gives me priority in an even greater way than if we were sharing a hard copy. Second, my schedule differs greatly from the kids, and if for some reason we all want to play the same game at the same time, then I can purchase another copy or two.
So, yeah, for me and for PC games in general, Valve’s Family Sharing feature, while limited in scope, just equals awesome.