Is it possible to play two different Steam games on the same account at the same time?

  • I own a lot of games on Steam, and I'm overall a big fan of the service.

    However, one thing about it really bothers me, and I'm wondering if anything can be done about it.

    Let's say I have two different online, multiplayer games, both of which I legally own. If I bought these games normally, I could be playing one of them online, while my fiance could play the other one online on another computer.

    However, with Steam, I can only be signed in on one computer at a time. So, despite the fact that I have bought about 40 games, if I'm playing one of them, someone else in my house is not able to play any of the others.

    Is there a way to get around this? I don't think this is illegal or immoral as I own both of the games in question, and only one person is playing the game at a given time (same IP address and the same household, so it should be easy for Steam to verify that I am not sharing my games unfairly).

    If I had bought simple boxed copies, this wouldn't be an issue, but since I became such a fan of Steam, I can't play any of those games at the same time as my fiance.

    Is there anything that can be done?

    Note: you do not 'own' anything on steam. You simply have a license to use the software.

    @ColinD That's true, regardless of Steam. Even if you are holding the physical DVD of a game in your hand, you only have a license to use it.

    Apparently the problem also exists when running software bought from steam, even when you are the sole user. You cannot benchmark one machine with 3Dmark and play a game on another machine at the same time. If these restrictions are legal, it is time for laws to change.

  • Brandon

    Brandon Correct answer

    10 years ago

    As far as I know, you can't do that. If one of you wanted to play single player, then you could possibly set one computer to Offline Mode before starting the game, and then the other person should be able to log in on the other account and play multiplayer, but both of you being online at the same time should not be possible.

    Keep in mind, this is technically not allowed. Steam's agreement says you're not allowed to share your account or your games, that includes your fiancee. I don't think they actually do anything about it as long as you're not talking about it on steam chat or their forums. However, you still risk losing your account and all your games when bypassing their rules.

    EDIT: As of mid 2014, Steam has released Steam Family Sharing, which enables the sharing of Steam libraries. However, this system does not work on a per-title basis (only during the beta), but rather - If one title is being played, all other titles cannot be played (unless it's the same user that's using the library that is launching the second/whatever-is-after-first program).

    The offline 'exploit' is undetectable. I've used it a couple times at LAN-parties.

    @Arda Xi it's hardly "undetectable". All they'd need to do is just keep a log of whenever you launch a game (on your client). Then the next time a client connects they could check for any overlap between clients. I'm not saying that they actually do this, but this would be pretty easy for them to do if they wanted to. The only way to be really undetectable would be to permanently keep a client offline.

    Or you could remove the log. But, since no such code is not implemented, it is undetectable.

    @Arda Xi: "*no* such code is *not* implemented"? double negation doesn't confuse me. not. :p

    Apologies, tired. Remove no or not, whichever you prefer.

    @Arda Xi, just because they don't seem to enforce it at the moment, it doesn't mean it's not implemented. Lot's of games leave things behind that could be looked at for sure... save game files, gameplay stats, steam cloud data that hasn't been synced, error logs etc. Undetectable is giving a false sense of security. It's **definitely** detectable, the question is just whether or not Valve chooses to do it.

    As far as Steam knows, you're AFKing one game while playing another, or alternating between them on two computers. Uncommon, but probably allowed. I doubt they track your actual game input.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM