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After reading this, it seems as though purchasing more than one game on a single steam account limits the flexibility of how you can use a game.

I understand why Steam did this and am not trying to complain about it. However, it does seem that creating a separate steam account for each game is advantageous.

Pro's

  • It doesn't cost any money
  • It allows you to play different online games at a single time

Con's

  • The community features of steam are made almost un-usable as they are designed for one account per person (not multiple accounts per person)
  • Creating multiple accounts eliminates some of the convenience of using steam, especially when switching between different games and getting game updates when you boot up.

I understand that trading, selling or transferring accounts is specifically banned by the User Agreement. But I cannot see anywhere that restricts a single person from registering multiple accounts (1 per game).

Does anyone do this, and should I be doing this with new steam purchases?

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As someone with over 500 games on Steam, it would be a full-time job just creating and keeping track of all of those accounts. –  Brian Feb 25 at 22:10
    
Indeed, I don't know if it would be worth the effort to do. But you could perhaps use Gmail's '+' notation to make it more systematic. i.e. register a steam account your_name+game_name@gmail.com. Then you would only need one gmail account (your_name@gmail.com). –  Akusete Feb 25 at 22:13
    
Also, attempting to use Humble Bundle's Steam links would be a pain. –  Brian Feb 25 at 22:24

5 Answers 5

up vote 14 down vote accepted

It doesn't cost nothing - it costs time and convenience to create different accounts and log in to them all separately when you want to change which account you are using.

I searched through the User Agreement. I think you're correct in that this is not specifically prohibited. Similarly, using multiple accounts to purchase multiple copies of the same game and multibox is not specifically prohibited (to my knowledge).

If you are the kind of person that would actually want to play different games at the same time, it does make sense. However, I cannot think of a legitimate reason to actually want to play multiple different Steam games at once. I have a hard enough time being good at any 1 game I'm playing.

Should you be doing this? In my opinion, no. I use the community-oriented features of Steam all the time and the Cons you list would affect me greatly. Having multiple accounts would be a tremendous inconvenience for me, and I don't care about any of the Pros you list.

Exceptions: There may be some games where it would make sense to have a separate account for just that game. I hear you do a lot of sitting around in games like Eve Online; perhaps you would want to play Bejeweled while you wait for something to happen?

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Additionally, only one account can be active on a computer at a time (without doing some performance killing stuff like running a VM or using RDP). –  MBraedley Oct 11 '10 at 1:39
2  
@Mag Roader - Legitimate reason right here: 2 gaming setups (my media center is quite capable) and wanting someone who doesn't own the game to be able to play when they are over. I understand this is a niche issue, but certainly means a lot to me... –  user13330 Oct 21 '11 at 20:54
    
@Rupe Hey that IS a good idea! I hadn't thought of that case. Of course it only makes sense if you have multiple different people come over and play games they don't own; if it were just 1 person, you might as well gift the game to them instead. –  Mag Roader Oct 22 '11 at 21:33
    
@MagRoader You hadn't thought of that? I just assumed you didn't find it kosher, so you pretended not to see that point. :) –  ver Dec 13 '11 at 18:36

There are other reasons to do this:

In my house, we started off with one steam account. As my son got older, he enjoys playing games on the account, but that prevents me from playing ANY of my games on my other computer while he is doing so. Why should I be prevented from playing Civilization 5, Skyrim, or Fallout 3 just because he wants to play Half-Life 2?

So I started making new accounts so that we could both access Steam's library. (Personally, I think it's ridiculous that I'm forced to do so, considering they are different games.)

I like the simplicity of how they run things, but you can see how it would be a real problem for someone like me.

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I'm in your situation too. It's worth noting that our situation is explicitly prohibited by the steam user agreement. From steam's point of view, both you and your son should have to purchase your own copies of every game you would like to play. i.e. sharing a steam account between any two people (even family/friends) is not allowed, one account == one person. If you accept that condition, then its hard to justify why one person would ever need to play two games at once. –  Akusete Jan 5 '12 at 4:58
    
Except, my daughter can't even type yet. Not to mention a game may not be suitable for her yet (maturity). There is no legal way to do this, is there? –  Marius Jul 11 '13 at 15:47

Personally, no I have never done this. For me there are a few things you should take into consideration.

  • If you are running a game from Steam you want friends to be able to see what game you are in. This of course would mean your friends would have to know every account you had for every game. This seems like it would be trouble for both you, and your friends.

  • Every game you install in steam has a manual path you can go to on the computer. If you want to run more than one game at a time, you might be able to through the manual executable (Test your game and see). The majority of the time I do not even run games through Steam, I simply have them installed by steam. Just go to your steamapp folder and manually run your executable to test.

  • One of the main advantages of Steam for me is that I can at any time re download the game from one account. Meaning, if I delete the game because I am tired of it, I can simply re download it again one year later when I feel like playing it again. This becomes extremely confusing if you want to try what you are suggesting. (If it is even possible.)

I personally suggest one account, and if you want to run more than one game at a time, then see if the game requires Steam to run.

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As far as I know, games obtained through Steam cannot be activated without Steam. Even if it looks as if you're running the game independently - going to the folder and running the .exe - Steam must be running. At least that's how it is with most, if not all, of my games. I suppose this can be tested for any game by forcefully closing Steam and then trying to run the game, and seeing whether Steam is re-opened. –  Oak Oct 11 '10 at 16:45
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@Oak varies from game to game depending on how tightly integrated they are with Steam. I know some games will start the Steam client even if you run from the EXE with Steam closed (you normally see a "Logging in Steam account X" box for a few seconds), whereas others (like the EvE Online example above) do absolutely no integration with Steam if you launch from the EXE (at least not about a year ago when I was an avid EvE player). I think it mainly depends on whether a game uses Steam for DRM, or does it itself, and whether it uses any Steam platform features like Steam Cloud. –  GAThrawn Oct 11 '10 at 17:17
    
@GAThrawn interesting to know, thank you. I guess most of my games are just DRMed by Steam. –  Oak Oct 11 '10 at 17:27

You dont need multiple accounts to play different games on the same computer. I have access to two computers, both of which have steam on them; so somtimes when i have a friend over and we both want to play one of my steam games one of us will log onto steam and then go into offline mode, the nthe other will log on and voila. Two steam games at the same time.

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The only true advantage of account/email per game is that you can sell it when you are done - the game/email/account. If all your games are linked to one account/email then you cannot do this. One of the biggest reasons behind the steam model (and why console games are more and more coming with "online" codes) is to eliminate used game sales. Personally, I never sale old PC games cause I don't want to have to help people install/setup, but for someone who just wants to play and beat a game then move on this is one way to do it.

And yes, as long as you have unique emails address you can do this...

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+1 This is best argument for doing this IMO. I never sell old PC games either, because I always want to play them again a couple years later. But, if you were someone that wanted to resell, great point. –  jsmith Oct 11 '10 at 20:28
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