Valve makes Steam Family Sharing even better with latest update

Steam and Family Sharing logo in front of a Steam library background
Credit: Valve

Steam and Family Sharing logo in front of a Steam library background
Credit: Valve


  • Valve has released a new Steam Client Beta update that improves Family Sharing on Steam
  • The new Steam Families feature will let you invite five other members to your family
  • Steam Families also features Parental Controls and Child Purchase Requests, as well as a shareable game library

Steam is, undoubtedly, the biggest PC games storefront, thanks to the great bargains you can grab during Valve's notorious sales, as well as a bunch of Quality of Life features that make it great. However, Family Sharing has always been a fairly lacklustre feature for the app, but thankfully, it's now being improved in multiple ways.

Announced on the Steam Twitter account, Valve has rebranded the feature in the new beta client update, streamlining it down to "Steam Families". However, it's not a simple rebrand for those on the best gaming PCs or the best gaming handheld, but an improvement across the board in terms of accessibility and features.

With the new update, you can create a family and invite up to five family members to join, setting different members up as adults or children. You can adjust it via the Steam Client on your desktop, or via the website and mobile app.

The biggest feature of Families is the ability to share your games library. Only one of you can access a "shared game" at a time, but each of you has your own save files, achievements, and most features that you'd have if the family member bought the game themselves.

Of course, the decision on whether a game is "shareable" is set by publishers or developers, and third-party games that require an additional app or key to play won't work. Subscriptions aren't shared either, so if your family loves playing Final Fantasy XIV together, you can't just pay for one monthly subscription for the family.

There's also two new and exciting features that most parents or families would love to have - Parental Controls and Child Purchase Requests. The former lets you limit the content a "Child Member" of the Steam Family can access, set playtime limits, approve or decline increased playtime, and very importantly, recover a Child's password. The latter will let the children in your Steam Family request a Steam game to buy, and you can decide whether to let them or not.

Unfortunately, there's a few problems that need to be ironed out. If you leave a Family as an Adult account, you can't create or join a new one for a whole year. It's understandable, and likely to limit those wanting to play new games by paying someone to let them join their Steam Family, but as things change in life, it may annoy some users.

It would also be interesting to see if it works for external apps in the near future, such as using Steam Link for Quest or the general Steam Link app on mobile devices. However, there's no doubt that these features are a great improvement over the Family Sharing, and we can't wait to see it enter the full Steam Client.

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