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The Best Way To Share
Video Games
Author: Andy Robertson

26/05/2023 / 9 months ago / Author: Andy Robertson


It used to be very simple to share video games. You would hand a friend or family member the disc or cartridge and they would take it home to play. With the majority of games being purchased digitally, without a physical box, disc or cartridge, it can seem like game sharing is a thing of the past.

However, if you know how to do it, there are some really clever ways you can share your games with friends and family. Of course, this is particularly useful where your family has a number of people who want to play the same game.

Sharing Digital Game Purchases On A Single Console

If your family uses a single console, you can all play the same games in a couple of ways.
  • Multiple Save Slots: For games that offer multiple save files when you start, you can simply each choose a different save.
  • Single Save Slots: For games that only have one save, you can use the console's users to create different saves. Simply switch to a new user and start the game to create a new save file. You can only start the game as a secondary user if the console you are playing on has been designated as the Main console.
Note: Only one player can go online at the same time with this method. So, for example, although you could have two Animal Crossing islands, you couldn't visit your family members island as you'd need to be online at the same time.

Sharing Digital Game Purchases On Multiple Consoles

If you use multiple consoles in your family, you can set it up so you can play a single digital purchase on both consoles:
  • Main Console: Set-up one console as the Main console. You can access the game as s secondary user who didn't make the digital purchase on this console.
  • Secondary Console: On a secondary console, you can access the game as the user who made the digital purchase.

Note: On Nintendo Switch, you need to put your main console into Airplane mode if you want to play the same game at the same time. Also, console makers limit how many times you can change the main console, to avoid people constantly switching to share games more widely.

Note: On PlayStation, you need to put your main console into Offline mode if you want to play a game at the same time.

Sharing Digital Game Purchases via Online Subcription

One of the limits of sharing games as described above is that you can't go online to play together. To do this there are a few different options via online subscriptions:
  • Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family: Enables up to five family and friends to access Gamepass games and play online together at the same time.
  • Nintendo Family Membership: Enable up to eight Nintendo Accounts to play online, although they each need to own the game on their account.
  • PlayStation Plus on same console: The Family Manager account subscribes to PSN and can share some benefits with child family members on your Main PS5 or PS4 console.
  • PlayStation Plus on different consoles: With PlayStation Plus you can also share your games in more ways with friends and family:
  • Screen Share – Lets someone in another place watch your game on their PlayStation. PS Plus Essential is not required for either party.
  • Pass the Controller – Lets someone in another place take turns on a game you own, without owning the game themselves. PS Plus is required for the host, but not for the guest.
  • Playing Together – Lets you play local co-op or split-screen games with someone in another place who has a PlayStation. PS Plus is required for both players.

Playing Online Together via One Online Subcription

There are further limitations on playing online together with a single subscription (rather than the more expensive Family subscription deals):

Xbox Live: Provided you play online with a secondary account on the Main Xbox, you can play online with the primary account (with the Xbox Live subscription) at the same time.
PlayStation Network: You can't play online games with more than one person.
Nintendo Online: You can't play online games with more than one person.
Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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