Valve Software has revealed the "Steam Family Sharing" program, which allows friends and family to share their library of Steam games online. A limited beta for the program will launch next week. Valve says that the Steam Family Sharing plan allows family members and friends to play each other's games, and individual members can earn their own achievements and keep their own saves and application data intact via the Steam cloud too.
"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," Valve's Anna Sweet said in a statement. "Family Sharing was created in direct response to these user requests."
And sharing is as easy as authorizing someone to have access to your library, apparently. The feature will be supported on PC, Mac, and Linux – assuming that some of the games you own support those platforms. The lender of a given game is always able to play their games at any time, but if a player decides to start playing while a friend is borrowing a game, the friend will be given a "few minutes" to purchase the game or quit.
The beta is expected to begin in about a week, with 1,000 accounts selected being notified via email.
To sign up, check out steamcommunity.com.