Stop hoarding Steam games. Here’s how to share your library with friends

Steam’s library sharing feature has its pros and cons.

Taylor Martin / CNET

If you’re a PC gamer, Steam – Valve’s digital game distribution service – has an extensive library of games for you to check out. contrary to game subscription services (Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass), you can purchase individual games on Steam without a monthly commitment.

With its unconditional approach and a frequent sales schedule, Steam makes it easy for gamers to build large game libraries.

Another advantage of the service? Steam Family Sharing allows you to share your game library with others. While this feature is aimed at helping parents distribute and monitor what their kids are playing, it also allows you to lend games you love to friends. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to share your Steam library.

Protect your account by activating Steam Guard

Protecting your game library is a priority. This way, even if you share your account, everything will still be protected and under your control. For this to happen, you need to enable Steam guard. Steam Guard – which can be activated for free – offers an additional level of security that protects your account against unauthorized access.

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Brett Pearce / CNET

Here’s how to activate Steam Guard on your account with the desktop app or in the browser:

1. Go to the Steam home page and make sure you’re signed in.

2. In the upper right corner, click on your username.

3. In the drop-down menu, click Account details.

4. Scroll down to Account Security and click Manage Steam Guard.

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Enabling Steam Guard can help protect your account, even if you don’t share it.

Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

From there, you can choose between sending Steam Guard codes to your phone, emailing or completely disabling Steam Guard. You will also see the option to revoke authorization from any other computers or devices other than the one you are currently using that may have saved your login information. Steam recommends sending Guard Codes to your phone as a form of two-factor authentication.

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Sending codes to your phone provides a level of two-factor authentication.

Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

Share your Steam games library

Log in to your family member’s or friend’s computer with your Steam account to get started. You can do it from your app, here’s how:

1. In the upper left corner, click Steam.

2. To select Preferences in the drop-down menu.

3. To select Family in the side menu

4. Click on the box that says Allow library sharing on this computer.

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You can allow library sharing in the Steam app.

Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

This gives you the option to authorize all accounts that have also logged into the same computer. If no one else has, you will receive a message saying “No other local accounts found”. Once this is done, log out of your account and your friend or family member can reconnect to theirs. They should now be able to download and install some games from your library.

You can select up to five users who can access and use your library on 10 devices that you have authorized. While you can’t set up Family Sharing in the browser, you can check which devices and accounts have access to your Steam library. You can also revoke access. Here’s how to check on the browser:

1. Go to the Steam home page and make sure you’re signed in.

2. In the upper right corner, click on your username.

3. In the drop-down menu, click Account details.

4. Scroll down to Family settings and click Manage the sharing of the family library.

5. If any accounts or devices have access that you no longer want, you can click Revoke under Sharing Status.

Benefits of Sharing Your Game Library with Steam Family Sharing

  • Share your games with others.
  • Be able to try out games when your family or friends share their account with you.
  • Parents can have a little more control over what games their young children can play.
  • Easy to view and revoke access to who has access to your library.
  • Gives the user you are sharing a chance to try out a game without investing any money right away.

Cons of Sharing Your Game Library Using Steam Family Sharing

  • Steam’s sharing features aren’t perfect.
  • Only five accounts can access your game library from up to 10 different computers.
  • You need an internet connection to access the shared libraries.
  • Libraries can only be shared in their entirety.
  • Some games are not eligible for sharing because they require a subscription.
  • Shared games can only be accessed by one person at a time, so you won’t be able to easily play games together.
  • The account holder has priority access to their games. If you start playing a game when someone else is already playing, they will have the option of purchasing the game or ending the session.

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About Jennifer Schuman

Jennifer Schuman

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