Amidst yeas and nays bumbling about the interwebs on the latest next-gen console news, a rumor emerges concerning our old, reliable friend, Steam. Word has it that the newest Steam Beta has code within it pertaining to game sharing.
A forum member over at NeoGAF has unceremoniously unveiled three lines of code that suggest that in the future, Steam users may be able to lend their games to a friend. The code in question lists two UI messages to the owner and the borrower of the game, and appear to imply that only one person may play the game at a time.
"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."
ExtremeTech has confirmed the existence of the code in the latest beta, and has said that we should expect to hear an official announcement from Valve in the coming weeks or months.
This is a good move by Valve any way you spin it. It could potentially cut down on piracy by allowing people to legally try games they don’t own, and is sure to be received well by the gaming community if it is in fact true.
Also, while Microsoft has been in recovery mode after E3, they did reveal one positive Xbox One feature: game sharing (although now there are some caveats, it seems). Valve would be doing themselves and the PC gaming world a favor by combating the new consoles with competing feature sets.