A snippet of code in the Steam digital distribution platform has revealed that Valve may be planning to let users easily share their games with friends in the future. The Verge has verified the code's authenticity, which was originally spotted by a member of the NeoGAF gaming forum; the code references a "shared game library" and a notification that would alert a user when their games are currently in use by a borrower. Steam users can, of course, already share their games by lending friends their usernames and passwords, but that's not the most efficient or secure method of sharing.
A shared game feature would be a huge addition to the Steam platform, and a highly attractive feature in light of Sony and Microsoft's battle over sharing and used game policies for their next-generation consoles. Sony has seized recent confusion over the Xbox One's restrictive policies to insist that it will not impose restrictions on used games, but sharing games on either console will still generally require users to swap discs (unlike Sony, Microsoft will let Xbox One users create a shared game library for up to 10 family members).
While Steam is primarily used on traditional PCs, Valve has been pushing to create a console-like PC running Steam called the Steam Box, which could compete with traditional consoles in the living room. PC gamers can already create their own Steam Boxes since the release of Steam's Big Picture Mode, but Valve plans to bring its own hardware to the living room in the future.