Steam is the go-to platform for PC gaming, boasting a huge selection of both AAA and indie games along with a social element that allows friends to join each other in their favorite games.
However, Steam doesn’t allow multiple users to log into the same account at the same time, making game sharing a rather daunting process. Don’t be discouraged, though, as Steam Family Sharing will help alleviate some of these problems and let you share your game library with friends and family.
Here, we explain the pros and cons of Steam Family Sharing and how to share games on Steam using it. We’ve also got a guide on how to play Steam games on your TV, if you like.
Family Sharing on Steam: Pros and Cons
So, what exactly is Steam Family Sharing and what does it allow you to do? In its simplest form, Steam Family Sharing was developed so that family members – such as two children – could both play games purchased on the platform without having to pay for the game twice. . It makes sense, especially since some premium games on Steam can go as high as £50 at a time.
While the name suggests the functionality is limited to family members, those of you who want to share your game library with friends can do so for free. In fact, you can share your game library with up to 10 different users.
Although there is a catch, for both friends and family who want to play your game.
Your shared library can only be accessed by one user at a time. This means you can’t have two people playing games from the same library at the same time, and users who want to play games online together will still have to purchase multiple copies of the game. It’s not ideal for online games, but can save a bit of cash on smaller, story-focused games.
But what if one person is playing and another is logged in? If you are the owner of the game in question, other users have five minutes to save and exit before being booted out of the game. Of course, the owner always takes precedence. However, it’s not like the other way around, as the user can’t start the owner if they’ve already played the game.
How to share games on Steam using Family Sharing
If the fact that only one person can play Steam games at a time isn’t enough to get you to disable Family Sharing on Steam, here’s how to set it up.
The first step is to enable Steam Guard, Steam’s built-in security feature, if you haven’t already. If you have Steam Guard enabled, proceed to the next paragraph. If not, open Steam and go to Steam > Settings > Account. From here, select Manage Steam Guard Account Security and then the feature should be enabled.
Once Steam Guard has been enabled, it’s time to set up Steam Sharing. Just click the Steam menu > Settings and select the Family tab. From here, you’ll be able to see a list of all the Steam accounts signed in with your PC. If the Steam user you want to share with isn’t already on this list, ask them to sign in and log out again on your PC – then that user will appear on the list.
Next, simply check the box next to the user(s) you want to allow access to your library and click OK. The users mentioned will then be able to access your library while playing the game on your PC – but what if they want to play on another PC?
To allow users to access your game from their own PC, you need to first grant permission to the device in question. It’s a simple process, but requires you to log into the PC in question. After logging into Steam, just go to Steam > Settings > Family and click Authorize This Computer.
And that’s it! Authorized friends and family members will then be able to access your Steam game library. Just remember that only one person can use it at any given time before you give it to your team!
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