Steam has unveiled a new Family Sharing Service that will allow for close families and friends to share their Steam game libraries and to create unique saves as well as earn achievements.
According to the press release sent by Valve, the new service will utilize the Steam cloud where the players can upload all their saves and application data. All Steam users will have to do is authorize the desired computer. However, players will not be able to simultaneously play the same game. The game lender will be able to play their game anytime and if another person is playing their game, that player will receive a notification to purchase the game or quit playing. Third-party games will also be ineligible for sharing.
According to the press release sent by Valve, the inclusion of sharing games was in direct response to Steam users, as explained by Valve spokesperson Anna Sweet:
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.
Valve is dealing in a constructive way a concern that has plagued PC games for a few years now and may plague next generation consoles for years to come. Microsoft received backlash for how they treated DRM and had to backpedal, but the more forgiving PC community – who never had a real (legal) way to share games with others thanks to cd keys – will surely praise Valve for their efforts.
Valve is only allowing a limited number of players to join the Steam Family Sharing beta, but you can go to the official webpage and sign-up for the chance to participate as well as view the FAQs.