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When you're on Steam, you're family.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 19, 2024

1 Min Read
Logo for Valve's Steam marketplace.
Image via Valve.

At a Glance

  • Steam Families offers more centralized oversight for parents, making it easier to monitor what their kids buy (or play).

Valve has introduced a new (and old) array of parental control and family-related features with Steam Families.

Under Families, multiple accounts can play games from each other's libraries, even if the original owner is currently playing. The feature evolves upon account sharing in a major way, and may impact a game's sales and player numbers.

Developers will have the option to choose whether their game will allow for Family Sharing. If activated, up to six family members and approved guests can play a game, with their own individual progress.

Should a Family library have multiple copies of a game, each member will be able to play it simultaneously. A list of current Sharing-enabled titles can be found here.

Currently in beta, Steam Families serves as a way to manage the games in a player family's library. It effectively replaces (and combines) Family Sharing and Family View.

Steam Families puts child players' choices in parents' hands

As for parental controls, Adult family members can choose which games can be played by younger Child members, along with their allowed play time per day/hour, and Steam store access.

If a Child requests more playtime or extra features, Adult members can approve or deny those requests, either on their computer or Steam mobile app.

Adults can also approve or deny a game their Child tries to buy. The feature should be particularly helpful for parents hoping to avoid surprise charges for in-game cosmetics or microtransactions.

Valve's FAQ on Steam Families can be read here. Interested parties can test the system in its beta period by opting into beta participation within the settings menu.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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