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Steam Family Sharing Now Requires You to Whitelist Accounts, Not Just Machines

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Posted on January 6, 2014 AT 10:48am

Steam has updated the policies behind its Family Sharing feature with stricter criteria designed to better protect lenders.

Previously, Steam users could authorize up to ten computers to borrow their purchased games, after which any account logging into a whitelisted computer would be able to access their library of titles. Now, lenders are additionally required to also maintain a list of up to ten accounts, and their games will only be accessible if the borrower meets both criteria—an whitelisted account operating on an whitelisted computer. Unapproved accounts on an approved computer will need to directly request access from the lender, offering a much greater degree of control and awareness for owners.

That’s important, because the Family Sharing policy includes a substantial degree of risk for those who lend out their games. If a borrower cheats in a title secured by Valve’s anti-cheat service, VAC, any potential ban would be tied to the owner’s account, not the borrower’s.

Steam’s Family Sharing program was first announced in September of last year. It remains in closed beta.

Josh Harmon, Associate Editor
Josh Harmon picked up a controller when he was 3 years old—and he hasn't looked back since. This has made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from behind. He joined EGM as an intern following a brief-but-storied career on a number of small gaming blogs across the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @jorshy. Meet the rest of the crew.

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