Valve beats Microsoft to the Family Sharing feature

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Valve has announced Steam Family Sharing. The program will allow Steam customers to designate up to 10 devices on which to share a library of games. Sharing will allow separate cloud saves and achievements, so you don’t have to worry about your little brother mucking up your 60th level Bosmer in Skyrim.

“Our customers have expressed a desire to share their digital games among friends and family members, just as current retail games, books, DVDs, and other physical media can be shared,” explained Anna Sweet of Valve. “Family Sharing was created in direct response to these user requests.”

Before you think you can just group up with buddies and share your Steam accounts to get free access to everyone’s games, there are restrictions. A shared library cannot be used by two people at the same time, even if they want to play different games. The account owner will always have priority. If the lender starts playing a game, the borrower will be given a few minutes to save and log off before Steam closes out.

Steam Family Sharing will go into beta next week.