NeoGAF user "Grief.exe" discovered a few interesting lines of code in a recent beta build of Steam that suggest users may be able to lend their digital games to their Steam friends. This is what he found:
- “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 code sets up situations for both the lender and the borrower. The lender will know when a friend is playing a game from your library, and the borrower will know when their time is up.
Of course, if this is in fact a new feature for lending games, we don't know several other specifics, such as how long someone can borrow a game, how often someone can borrow a particular game, or how often a particular game can be loaned out. Will it be as stringent as Microsoft's sharing policy or will it be as open as an e-book service's lending policy?
Many gamers have criticized how difficult it is to share games on the PC due to the DRM and the fact that most games are purely digital now with no installation discs. If this comes to fruition, Steam will close this angry door, especially if their policies are similar or better than Microsoft's policy.