Pros and Cons of Family Sharing on Steam

I am considering sharing my games with someone and I would like to know what others have experienced while doing this. I know you can not be playing a game at the SAME time. Do you have to be totally signed out of Steam for others to use or just not in a game? Did you run into scheduling problems? How many people can you share with? I know I could look this all up on steam but I want YOUR feedback please. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I know @YQMaoski has done this.


Only limitation is that you can’t play games from one library at the same time, the limit is 5 additional computers that you can grant access. If you share your library with multiple people only one of them can play your games at a time. You do not grant another account access but an account on a particular computer, someone you’ve set up family sharing with can only access your library on that one machine and not anywhere else.

We don’t really bother with scheduling, the person who owns the games obviously have indisputable priority access to their account. If you happen to be playing something when the owner starts a game you get a 5 minute warning form steam and though I’ve never tried it myself I suspect steam will terminate the game if you do not.

One other slightly bothersome limitation is that while you now can sort games “by library” so you can keep your own games and those from shared libraries separate you can not also sort any shared titles into any other categories. If however you do not sort by library you can categorize the shared games any other way you wish.


When you are looking at another person’s library that they have allowed for sharing, it tells you whether or not that account is in use.

The primary account holder can always launch a game any time, and like @Fraggles has mentioned, the person benefiting from the sharing is given a timed warning to either buy the game, quit the game, or I do believe the game force quits.

Shared games cannot be played in offline mode, for obvious reasons. However, you can time it properly and have the primary account holder restart in offline mode, to be able to play a game offline, so the sharee can also play if there’s any potential conflict. This is of course, if you are sharing with one other person.

Just keep in mind that setting it up might be slightly tricky, because if your accounts are locked behind the Steam authenticator, which I really hope most accounts are, then, you will have to deal with the signing in aspect of things. The person (primary account) needs to have their account signed into the person’s computer where the sharing will take place.

The 3 times I have done this, I have had both accounts make sure to change into some random/quick-n-easy password, shared the information via real time through these forums PMs, signed into each other’s accounts, allowed for sharing, allowed for that computer, you need to indicate sharing with individual and also their computer. Then sign out, each other sign into your own accounts to make sure that the sharing has been completed properly on both ends, then change your passwords again.


A long while back I had someone share their Skyrim with me. I don’t remember exactly how we did it. But I recall that I needed to be online to launch the game.

If I had to stay online to play Skyrim, then that means my friend would use steam offline to play their games and so that didn’t affect our gaming schedules.


I only shared with siblings.

When we did it, I could not access my library whilst my siblings played the game. They also had to be online. I didn’t give a password away, of course, since we were in the same house hold. I could just sign in, allow the computer, sign out and be done with it.

The only real con is that while they use it, you can’t.


As others have stated the owner can play games in offline mode while 1 other user plays the same library but has to remain online. You can even play some co-op games this way. The one thing I find annoying is having to input my family share pin all the time while in Steam as the account sharing the library. Also sometimes my son’s account loses access to my library but I just have to request access again and it rejoins my library. Also make very sure that you trust the person and/or people to be responsible, as the account sharing you are responsible for anything the other users do on your shared games. As the account owner of family shared games, you are responsible for any cheating and VAC bans on the games that you share.


watches with interest I’ve never quite gotten how it works.


WOW! Thanks everyone. I knew I could depend on all of you to come through for me. :hugs:


Thanks @delenn13 for asking the question. :sparkles: :dizzy: :sparkles:

Thanks for the very detailed and useful information from all who answered. Nicely done. :sunglasses: