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Good news, Steam’s just introduced a better way to enjoy your library of dodgy smut and 6/10s with your grandparents


Playing video games with your family is definitely never a recipe for arguments, and Steam’s just introduced an improved way to definitely not get into such arguments. Steam Families, now available in beta, will let you do a bunch of stuff with your loved ones, including play very mid games at the same time.

If you’ve previously been using features like family sharing and family view, a number of elements of this latest addition to Steam won’t be new to you, but they’ve now been smushed together alongside some other stuff, in order to make managing your family a bit less of a hassle. Well, it’ll still be a hassle when your 10 year old inevitably wants to buy GTA 6, but at least now you should be able to play something relaxing while they’re on with it, to help you come up with PG explanations for all the bits they don’t understand.

That last bit’s arguably the biggest difference between Steam Families and the features that’ve preceded it. Gone are the days of being locked out of your entire family library if someone else is already playing one of the games in it. Though, you will need to own two copies of a game if you’re hoping to be able to play the same thing at the same time.

Valve’s provided a handy example using Half-Life and Portal 2 in its blog post about the new feature, but the gist is this. If, in the heap of shared titles that’ll be created as the up to five members of your Steam Family join it, there’s one copy of RoboCop: Rogue City, because one of you owns it, one of you will be able to play that, while another person will be able to play a different game in the library at the same time.

On the other hand, if you and your grandma want to play RoboCop: Rogue City at the same time, you’ll need to buy a second copy of it to add to the family library – at which point any two members will be able to play it simultaneously. Got that? Nice, but good luck actually explaining it to your grandma.

Oh, and if your grandma gets banned for cheating while using the family copy of Counter Strike 2, the family member who actually owns it will be banned too, so keep a close eye on her.

Aside from that, if you’re a concerned parent desperate to keep an eye on your kids, there are a couple of fresh features that’ll help you try in vain to stop their innocence from being eaten alive by dodgy things. First of all, the introduction of child purchase requests allows your kids to ask you to pay for a game in their shopping cart, allowing you to review it first and avoid having to mess around with gifting them stuff or handing over your actual credit card.

Then, there’s the ability to view “playtime reports” of users within the family who’ve had the child role assigned to them, so you can despair that your offspring’s managed to fit 100 hours of Assassin’s Creed into a week. That’s on top of the ability to set limits in terms of what they can access and how long they can play for, so you can stop them from wasting their life jumping off buildings and stabbing people..

Meanwhile, if you’re aiming to hide the weird stuff in your library from family members you might just be firends with on the platform, Valve made sure it’s got you covered on the front late last year.





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