With its thousands of games, Valve’s Steam offers a way for its users to share its game library to a family member or friend conveniently. Mainly, this is to allow parents and kids to share games without interfering with each other’s progress, achievements, or saves. The other purpose is to extend access to someone outside a family circle like a friend. This feature, called Family Library Sharing, is useful if you want to test a game that your friend owns to see if buying it is worth it.
Enable Steam Guard Security
Before you can start using Family Library Sharing, you must ensure that Steam Guard Security is activated on your account. If you haven’t tried it yet, follow these steps:
- Open the Steam client.
- Log-in to your Steam account.
- Click on the Steam tab at the upper left.
- Click on Settings.
- Click on the Account tab.
- Select MANAGE STEAM GUARD ACCOUNT SECURITY.
- Follow the prompts to complete the process.
Sharing your Steam games
Time Needed : 5 minutes
Once you’ve taken care of your Steam Guard feature, you can start doing the steps to share your games. Follow the steps below.
- On your friend’s or family member’s computer, log in to your Steam account.
Open the Steam client and log in to your account.
- Go Steam menu.
Click on Steam tab at the upper left.
- Select Settings.
Click on Settings option.
- Open Family tab.
Click on the Family tab option.
- Authorize the computer you’re using.
Select the box for Authorize Library Sharing on this computer.
- Grant permission for an account.
You should see a list (if there’s more than 1 accounts) of accounts in the box below. Select the account (your friend’s or family member’s account) you want to authorize.
- Log out of your account.
After selecting the account to authorize, log out of your own account and let your friend or family member log back in to his or her account.
- Windows PC, Internet connection, Installed Steam client, Steam account
Afterwards, the account should be able now to download and install the games from your library. You can authorize up to 10 computers and a maximum of 5 accounts to access your game library.
Restrictions of Family Library Sharing
There are a number of limitations for Family Library Sharing. For one, you must have internet connection in order to share or access the shared gaming library. If your friend tries to access your Steam gaming library and the internet connection stops, he or she will receive an error and access will be denied.
Also, not all games can be shared due to technical limitations. That’s because some game publishers may refuse to grant Valve sharing privileges for their product. If you try to share a game and you receive an error about Family Library Sharing not having permission to share, then that game is most likely not shareable at all.
Lastly, no two accounts can use the same game at the same time. This applies to a Steam game you share but is not free-to-play. For example, if you shared NBA 2K20 game to your friend, he or she can only use it when you are not actively playing the game. If you load the game on your computer at the same your friend is using it, he or she will lose access.
Games under the free-to-play category like Dota 2 need not be shared as individual accounts can download them for free. If you shared a free-to-play game to another account, both accounts can play the game at the same time.
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