Valve have announced a new feature called as Steam Family Sharing. It is a new service feature that will allow your friends and families to share your Steam games.
In doing so each of them will earn their own set Steam achievements, saves and other app data to the Steam cloud. The feature is expected to become available next week, in limited beta on Steam.
“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.”
There are a few things that you need to take note of. Simultaneous usage of an account’s games is not allowed i.e. if your friend is playing the same game as you are, he will be given a few minutes to either buy or quit the game.
Valve have also released a Q&A which explains some of the finer details of this new feature:
How do I enable Family Sharing on my computer?
Family Sharing is enabled in one of two ways: You can either locally enable sharing in Account Settings, with Family Sharing & Devices, or remotely respond to a user’s Steam request to share your previously installed games via email.
Is there a limit to the number of devices I can authorize to share my Library?
Yes. A Steam account may authorize Family Sharing on up to 10 devices at a given time.
Can I share specific games, or do I have to share my whole library?
Libraries are shared and borrowed in their entirety.
Can all Steam games be shared with friends and family?
No, due to technical limitations, some Steam games may be unavailable for sharing. For example, titles that require an additional third-party key, account, or subscription in order to play cannot be shared among friends and family.
Can a friend and I share a library and both play at the same time?
No, a shared library may only be accessed by one user at a time.
When I authorize a device to lend my library to others, do I limit my own ability to access and play my games?
As the lender, you may always access and play your games at any time. If you decide to start playing when a friend is already playing one of your games, he/she will be given a few minutes to either purchase the game or quit playing.
Sometimes the games I’ve borrowed are unavailable for me to play. Why?
Borrowed games are only available on computers that have been authorized by the lender. A borrowed game will not be available on a computer running an OS unsupported by that game. Borrowed games may also be unavailable if the lender’s library is currently in use on another computer.
Who owns the DLC and in-game content associated with a borrowed title?
A borrower will have access to the lender’s DLC, but borrowers may not purchase DLC for a base game they don’t own. Any player may purchase, trade, earn, or otherwise acquire in-game content while playing a game, but in-game items cannot be shared between accounts. These items remain associated with the account that purchased or acquired them, whether borrowing or lending the base game.
Can region-restricted content be shared across regions?
No, any region restrictions will remain in place when borrowing or lending content.
Will I be punished for any cheating or fraud conducted by other users while playing my games?
Your Family Sharing privileges may be revoked if your library is used by borrowers to conduct cheating or fraud. We recommend you only authorize familiar computers you know to be secure.
Source: Press Release