Digital distribution has its pros and cons. On Steam, gamers may access to their digital library on any computer, and they don’t need to keep a shelf full of discs. At the same time, Steam customers can’t trade their games or lend them to friends … except that last part might change.
The latest beta for Valve’s Steam client includes dialog prompts for when a friend is using one of your games, according to a post on the gaming forum NeoGAF. That could mean that the company is considering enabling game sharing between friends through its digital store.
We’ve reached out to Valve to ask if and when this feature will go live.
The relevant code is only in the Steam beta, and you can find the following prompts by opening the steamui_english file:
SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicense_Title “Shared game library”
SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_OwnerText “Just so you know, your games are currently in use by %borrower%. Playing now will send %borrower% a notice that it’s time to quit.”
SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_BorrowerText “This shared game is currently unavailable. Please try again later or buy this game for your own library.”
That makes it pretty clear that Valve is at least testing this capability. A feature like this is similar to what Microsoft is building into the new Xbox One console. That device treats physical games like digital releases, which limits how the discs are resold, but it also enables game sharing among family members.