Valve releases Steam Family Options

Valve releases Steam Family Options
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

January 10th 2014 at 8:07AM

Parental controls exit beta as company prepares to enter the living room

Valve has taken Steam Family Options out of closed beta, making it possible for all users of its digital distribution service to restrict access to certain features of the Steam client.

The new feature lets parents lock kids out of the store, community, chat, and online profiles so they can play games without being exposed to adult content – or breaking the bank.

Specific games can also be locked through the use of a pin-style password.

The new feature is incredibly important if Valve is to gain widespread acceptance in the living room, as parental controls were made a standard feature of all consoles ages ago.

Now that the third party forerunners who will be building and marketing the first Steam Machines to the public have been named, it could be a matter of months before the devices hit shelves, so at least in this case “Valve Time” means just in time.

Other features like in-home streaming and family sharing are still in testing, as is Valve's home-baked Linux distribution, Steam OS (though it is available to the intrepid Linux hacker for download).

Steam OS is the pin that holds Valve's living room ambitions together, and when it goes live all anyone will have to do to build a Steam Machine from scratch is to install it on a PC that meets the system requirements.