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How many can join a Steam Family, and other questions answered

Steam

Steam is overhauling its family-sharing system with the new Steam Families feature. If you’re wondering how many can join your Steam Family and whether you can play games simultaneously through it, we’ve got you covered.

Steam boasts millions of users as the top digital game distribution platform for PC. In 2023, Steam set an all-time peak for concurrent users at a hefty 33 million. Of those many millions of players, 8 million were in-game, highlighting the sheer scale of Steam’s user base.

The platform’s international population means the massive user base is composed of a diverse group. Some users have families, and sharing an account with family members can be troublesome, especially for those who love online games. The Steam Families feature aims to rectify many of the complaints users have had about the old system. Here’s how many users can play the same game, join the same account, and more.

Will Steam Families allow multiple people to play online games simultaneously via Family Sharing?

Steam Families does allow family members to play different online games simultaneously.  In the old system, family members could not play games simultaneously on different machines. One of them had to enter offline mode if they wanted to play the same game as another. Understandably, this frustrated many players who wanted to play online games, especially those who had their off-hours line up with their family members’.

With Steam Families, a parent can enjoy a game of Helldivers 2 while their child plays Lethal Company online. Family members still can’t play the same copy of an online game simultaneously. If a parent wants to play Lethal Company with their child, they must purchase a separate copy and share it in the library. 

Currently, many games that allowed family sharing previously are eligible for these updated features. Any game’s developers may opt out at any time. Games that require third-party accounts, such as the vast majority of Ubisoft and EA online titles, don’t have access to this feature for technical reasons.

How many users can join Steam Families?

Up to six user accounts from the same country can join the same Steam Family through the Steam Families feature. Steam will monitor the feature’s usage and decide whether the six-account limit will remain once the beta testing period resolves. Adults who leave a Steam Family cannot create or join a new family until one year passes.  Children cannot opt out by themselves and must be removed by an adult family member.

Adults can also restrict which games the Steam library shares with the entire family. For example, if a parent who owns a copy of Mortal Kombat 1 would rather their children not see Liu Kang be decapitated, they can restrict the game through the Steam Families settings.  

Notably, members do not need to be online to play games in the shared library. 

Lastly, in the rare instance that a family member cheats while playing a copy of a game, both the cheater and the game owner will be banned from that game.

Steam users are already seemingly loving the features added by Steam Families, but time will tell if the system changes through its beta testing period.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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