As the furore over the game sharing policies of the new consoles continues, it's easy as a PC user to look on bewildered. You can't share games; they're not even real! They're an intangible entity pushed through magic underground tubes, like some non-corporeal spirit of entertainment haunting your hard-drive. But if some lines of code found in the latest Steam beta program are to be believed, Valve may be looking at the possibility of taming that spirit - bringing a game sharing infrastructure to the client.
The discovery was made by NeoGAF , who found reference to shared license lending in Steam's steamui_english file. The three lines prompt Steam on the messages to display in certain situations regarding license sharing. For instance, informing a license owner when a game is in use by someone else.
Here are the references:
"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."
To see the code for yourself, you'll need to opt in to the latest Steam Beta, then head to Public/steamui_english.txt in your Steam folder. Beyond looking at it and saying "oh yeah, that's neat," there really isn't much to do at this point. And, of course, this could all be part of a test with no real plan for release. Hopefully we'll hear something official soon.