The ever-resourceful crowd over on the NeoGAF forums
) have discovered hints in the data files of the latest beta version of the Steam client that indicate Valve might be developing a system to allow users to share games in their Steam library.
Specifically, these three lines contained in the file Steam/Public/steamui_english.txt, a text data file that contains the Steam client's dialogue box content for English language:
"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."
The wording of the messages strongly suggests a digital sharing system not dissimilar to the one Microsoft had been touting for the Xbox One before their recent sweeping change in used-game strategy
, whereby a user could share games from their library with a limited number of other online users, but a given game license can only be in use by one person at a time.
Features that never materialised have been hinted at in the bowels of Steam before, so we'll have to wait and see if it's for real, but if true, it would undoubtedly be a welcome addition.