Steam’s Family Sharing Feature Just Got Even Better

A family grows bigger

Steam Family Featured

Many Steam users are familiar with the Family Sharing feature, which allows them to share their Library with relatives. However, the system is getting a complete overhaul alongside Family View. Both are now merged into the new Steam Family system, an even better way to share your games.

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Valve announced today that this new system combines the best of both worlds by making it easier and better to manage family members and specific permissions. However, it is currently only available through the Steam Beta Client, to which not all users have access.

Once you set up a Steam Family and invite some family members, all the games they own are shared among everyone. For example, if a member wants to play Baldur’s Gate 3 but doesn’t own it, they can play it as long as any other member has the game in their Library.

But unlike the old Steam Sharing system, Steam will now treat you as if you have the game by creating your own save file, recording personal achievements, tracking playtime, and much more. This is a huge improvement over the previous system as all family members can have their own unique experience in a given game, especially single-player titles, without multiple save files.

Certain aspects remain the same, such as multiple members launching the same game. If you and your brother want to play Helldivers 2 together, at least two family members must own the game (not necessarily you and your brother). A full list of sharable games can be found here.

For online games such as Counter-Strike 2, you get banned permanently if someone gets banned while using your copy. For example, if you and your brother have a copy and you get banned, your brother can still play as normal in his old account.

Any six close family members can join your family at any time, with a one-year cooldown between joining a new family because, well, changing families does happen, but not that often. And if you happen to let your children join the party (as they’ll obviously want to), the Parental Control options are there to help you.

Adults can set up which games children can play and even set a limit for their playtime, so they won’t be playing anything considered inappropriate as long as you manage it.

Another new feature is the Purchase Requests, where an adult can allow or deny their kids to buy a new game through email or mobile notifications. This saves the adult the trouble of buying the game themselves, and the title is directly added to the child’s account.

All in all, the changes are very positive and make sharing your Library with your loved ones much easier than it ever was. The system is currently only available in the Beta Client, but it shouldn’t take long before all users can set up their own families. Will they actually be composed of relatives? I’m not entirely sure about that.

About the Author

Patrick Souza

Patrick has been working for Prima since 2022 and joined as a Staff Writer in 2023. He's been interested in gaming journalism since college, and that was the path he took once he had his degree in hands. Diligently ignores his ever-growing backlog to keep raiding in Final Fantasy XIV, exploring in Genshin Impact or replaying some of his favorite RPGs from time to time. Loves tackling hard challenges in games, but his cats are still the hardest bosses he could ask for.