Steam Family Sharing allows you to give access to several accounts to a single gaming library. The connected users get to enjoy each other’s games and earn their own scores. Of course, all achievements and game progress get saved on users’ own Steam Cloud.
Enabling Family Sharing isn’t complicated and the platform’s UI is friendly and easy to navigate. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any problems to set it all up in a matter of minutes. So, let’s jump right in.
Before You Start
Prior to setting up Family Sharing, you need to enable Steam Guard for security. To do this, log into your steam account, and open the Settings menu. Then, select the Account option and click “Manage my account with Steam Guard security”. Once done, click OK at the bottom of the menu.
There is a “Don’t save account credentials on this computer” option at the bottom of the Account menu. It should be unchecked by default and it’s best to keep it that way.
When the option is checked, you won’t be able to access the games in Offline Mode. But this doesn’t apply for the shared games.
Setting Up Family Sharing
Steam allows you to enable Family Sharing on up to ten computers and multiple profiles. The key thing is that you don’t actually share the games globally. That is, you can’t just log into any computer and gain access to family sharing.
And the users that log into the family sharing won’t have access to your full profile, only the shared account and games. Here are the steps to enable this feature.
Log into your Steam account and click on Stem in the top left corner of the screen. Click on Settings in the drop-down menu and select Family from the pop-up window.
Look for “Authorize Library Sharing on this computer” in the Family menu and check the box in front of it. This is the first step for the first user you’re adding. Once done hit OK and exit to the main menu.
From the main menu, go to the top right of your Steam and click on your User Profile. Then, select “Log out of account” from the drop-down menu.
Thereon, log in with the second user’s credentials. The important thing is that you need to enable Stem Guard on both profiles for Family Sharing to work.
When the second user logs in, the process is similar to the one previously described.
To reiterate, select Steam in the upper left corner and choose Settings. Choose the Family option and check the box in front of “Authorize Library Sharing on this computer”. This time another pop-up appears at the bottom of the menu and you need to click the box under SHARE.
What you’re doing now is actually sharing games with the other user. Then, you can go to the Library tab, select that user’s name and the number of shared games appears in the drop-down menu.
Of course, you should repeat the process for all the users you want to add to Family Sharing.
What Are the Benefits of Family Sharing?
This feature is designed for parents who want to share their Steam Library with children. The main perk is that both users get to play a game without messing up each other’s achievements, progress, or saves.
This is also a great way to test out the games you might like and decide if they are worth the purchase or not.
The Limitations You Should Know About
As mentioned, you can set up Family Sharing on ten computers, if this isn’t the only thing. Shared libraries require an internet connection and there’s no Offline Mode. This is despite the fact you keep “Don’t save account credentials on this computer” unchecked.
In addition, there are certain technical limitations, and some games are subject to specific licensing agreements. This is why some games can’t be shared, and it’s usually those that need a subscription. For example, Ubisoft’s “The Division” is one such game.
However, the biggest drawback is that only one person can play a game at a time.
In other words, Family Sharing doesn’t allow a multiplayer option. And the person who’s the account holder has priority to access the games. This means the other user gets booted off the game the moment the account holder starts playing.
Okay, Steam doesn’t throw them off the platform right away. The gameplay freezes and there’s a pop-up window asking the player to purchase the game or end the session.
Steam Up Your Family Gaming
Even though there are limitations, Family Sharing is still a great option for everyone to enjoy a game and save some money. The only thing you need to agree on is when each user gets his or her few hours of gameplay.
What games on Steam would you like to share? How many users do you plan to add to your Steam account? Tell us more in the comments section below.