Valve plans to completely replace Family Mode and the Family Library on Steam with new family groups. The feature is currently available in beta.

Users will be able to create a family group that can invite up to five other users, but the members’ accounts must be in the same region as the group creator’s account. In addition, if a user leaves a group to create or join a new one, they must wait one year from the date of joining the previous one.

The advantage of family groups is that its members will have access to each other’s games. All members will have access to a shared library that will contain games from both the creator and the group members.

Steam significantly changes family mode

Also, thanks to the family library, users will be able to play games from the libraries of other family members even while they are playing another game. And if there are multiple copies of the same game in the family library, other members of the family group can play it at the same time.

Valve is also introducing advanced parental controls that will allow parents to limit when and what games their children can play, and accept game purchase requests. In general, parents will have the following features:

  • provide access to appropriate games;
  • restrict access to the Steam store, community, and chat with friends;
  • set restrictions on playing time (by hours or days of the week);
  • view reports on game time;
  • approve and reject requests from children’s accounts for additional game time and access to features (temporarily or permanently);
  • restore access to the child’s account if he or she cannot log in.

One of the disadvantages of the new groups is that if one of the members of a family group is blocked in a game you own, you will also get blocked. In addition, game developers can still prohibit sharing their game through family groups.

Valve is quick to point out that it may make additional changes to the functionality of the new family groups in the future. All changes and updates can be found on the official Steam website.