Valve Software may be planning to add game sharing to its digital game marketplace, according to a rumor. Code allegedly found in the beta version of the Steam
game client and store appears to show the software developer is working on a way to allow users to share their games with other Steam players, a system similar to what could have appeared on the Xbox One
Code appearing on NeoGAF
, since verified as authentic by The Verge
, shows a pair of messages that would be sent to the game lender and borrower if the original owner attempts to play a loaned game. The owner would receive a message stating "Just so you know, your games are currently in use by [name of borrower]. Playing now will send [borrower] a notice that it's time to quit" while the person playing the game receives "This shared game is currently unavailable. Please try again later or buy this game for your own library."
The ability to temporarily share digital titles with other users could make PC gaming more attractive to gamers used to consoles. With the next console generation set to start at the end of the year with relatively-high base console charges, it is possible that some players would be looking elsewhere for what they could buy for the same money, be it a cheap gaming PC or something resembling the fabled Steam Box
Microsoft was originally proposing a similar system with their Xbox One game console. Initially, the company proposed a way for games to be shared digitally from an account's library with up to 10 other people, but as that tied into DRM policies
that required 24-hour online check-ins and a reduced ability to sell or trade in games to stores, Microsoft dropped it in favor of the current system, requiring instead for a game disc to be inserted into the console.