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Steam Site Licensing Program

Steam Site Licensing Program

Valve is introducing a new Steam Site License Program for any organization interested in letting users run Steam at their establishment(s). The program leverages a host of Steam tools that makes it easy for licensees to administer and manage the service. These organizations can be any location that provides access to the Internet which includes but is not limited to Cybercafés, PC Bangs, retail shops, coffee shops, schools, libraries, hospitals, theaters, airplanes, buses, trains, subways, etc. They must also be registered as a non-profit, public institution, sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, corporation, or other organized group with a registration number.

Users of Steam within your facility will be able to log in to Steam with their own personal accounts, download and access content that they own or is provided by your organization, and use all services provided by Steam including purchasing of content and in-game items, collection of badges, achievements, game drops, trading cards, etc.

Program Details & Benefits

Here are the top line details & benefits of the program:

  • A license to offer Steam access to the public in your registered locations.
  • Access to purchase commercial licenses for content offered on Steam from participating developers/publishers. Licensees will be able to purchase units in bulk and receive special commercial offers when available.
  • Licensees will be able to use regional payment methods available on Steam, including the Steam Wallet.
  • Access to robust site server software for every registered location. Provides toolsets for user identification, license management, and local updating of content.
  • Dynamic site license management based on concurrent usage. Licenses can be used on any PC that is permanently or temporarily connected to the licensee’s network. For example a site can have 100 PCs and only 10 licenses for a piece of content, the first 10 PCs to use the content get it, the rest are denied until the organization adds additional licenses or usage of the original 10 free up. The program will support the concurrent licensing model across all locations identified.
  • Usage reporting so your organization can better manage the number of commercial licenses it needs to meet the needs of its location(s).
  • Organizations will be able to allow Steam users to connect their laptops/PCs to the organization’s network and have access to updates to both the user and site’s licensed content.
  • The locations registered in the program will be published and promoted on Steam and/or the Steam mobile app including the content licensed and being made available in the location.
  • Licensees will have access to a database of approved marketing assets provided by developer/publishers.
  • VAC immunity for the first 10 offences with notification of offending IP address.
  • Users can earn a café badge for the time played in a licensed site.

Support for Different Types of Organizations

Depending on the needs of your organization this program offers access to multiple services:

For organizations that are really just interested in offering Steam games and content to their users, it offers a simple registration process to get you up and running quickly and some quick start game bundles (casual, VR, free-to-play, etc.) to help you identify popular titles for your establishment.

For more sophisticated gaming businesses that need more management capabilities, we also offer a site server that will act as your primary communication point for Steam updates and distribution across all your machines.

Support for Multiple Locations

If your organization operates from multiple locations (sites) you can identify each site during the registration process and share all of your Steam content across those sites. Steam handles the management of that content for you. All you do is run a local site licensing server at each location.

Support for Wireless Networks and Personal Laptops

If you offer wireless access for users to bring in their personal laptops, you can share your content with those users as well. Steam will even provide peer-to-peer downloading of any content that they might need directly from your site management server so that downloads will be fast and won't impact your Internet traffic.

Understanding Your Customers

Steam provides analysis tools so you can see what games your users are playing. You can see if they are bringing in their own games or using the content that you provide. Additionally, you can:

  • See how long users are playing to better understand if they are just trying games out or are really interested in the content.
  • See how well utilized your content is to determine if you have enough license seats.
  • View when peak usage occurs and if users are denied access from lack of available licenses.

Risk Free Trial of Games

Not all games are appropriate for every organization. With the Steam return policy you don’t have to worry about purchasing a game that you end up not liking. Simply return it within 2 weeks (with less than 2 hours of playtime) and receive a full refund.

The refund policy is currently set up to closely mimic the consumer version (2 weeks/2 hours). Site license accounts will be able to purchase commercial packages multiple times or in quantity so the 2 weeks/2 hours clock starts ticking at the first purchase event. For example, if they purchased L4D and then 3 weeks later purchased another copy of L4D, a refund request would be denied because the first copy is more than 2 weeks old. If they instead purchased their second copy only 1 week after the first copy, both purchases could be refunded provided there was less than 2 combined hours of playtime on the licenses. You'll find more information about our refund policy here.


Some multi-player games use Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) technology to help prevent game cheating. This may however not be an effective anti-cheat mechanism within an organization that shares licenses with users. To maintain game play quality, Valve may impose restrictions on your business or your users if significant cheating is detected within your organization. We encourage you to maintain a secure and managed environment.

What is considered a licensable location?


Any site where PCs or a network is made available for customers to play games for free or with a charge. This includes PC cafés, PC Bangs, Arcades, Game-rooms or any similar establishment. This could also include retail shops, coffee shops, hotels, trains, hospitals, schools or universities, libraries, and non-profits’ locations.

Will I need to have a Steam account for each PC in my location?


Since you will be running a Site License Server to share your pool of commercial licenses, you do not need a Steam account for each PC. Instead you will need one commercial Steam account that you will use to sign up for the program and then one account for each Site License Server you will be running (generally one per physical location). We will require businesses to create a new Steam account specifically for commercial use. You will not be able to use your personal Steam account for these activities.

Will my location need to be online all the time?


Yes, the Site License Server and the clients need to be able to communicate with Steam for it to manage the licenses and allow users to play. We will not support “offline” mode within the program.

Will the pool of commercial licenses be usable across all the PCs in my location?


We will have no limit on the number of PCs that the pool of commercial licenses can be used across so as long they are all on the same network where the authorized Site License Server is located.

Are there any special requirements for the type of hardware I use for the Site License Server?


No, the software just needs to run on a Windows 7 or Windows 10 PC which is secure and connected to the location’s network. If you are also using the Site License Server as a content server cache we recommend that it has enough storage to support 1TB of content data. You need to make sure the server is secure and that you do not allow connections outside of your network.

How will the pool of commercial licenses be handed out on my network?


When a customer visits your café they will go to the PC you assign them and login using their own personal Steam account. If they do not have a Steam account they will be able to create a Steam account while launching Steam. Once the customer is logged in they will see both the games they own and the games you are making available on their library screen. When they choose to play one of the games you are offering the Site License Server will notify the Steam backend service that a user is requesting a game license. When the user exits the game, the license will be returned to the site’s license pool for that game. Customers will be able to use site licenses for any given game until the number of licenses you own for that game are concurrently in use.

For example: Your café has 50 PCs available and you have 35 licenses of Left 4 Dead 2 in your license pool. Up to 35 customers will be able to play Left 4 Dead 2 concurrently on the PCs in your café. If a 36th customer comes into the café and wants to play Left 4 Dead 2 they will be presented with a message that there are no licenses available. If any of the 36 customers own a copy of Left 4 Dead 2 on their personal Steam account they will be able to play and that user will not pull a license from the location’s pool.

What if a customer brings their own laptop into my location?


If a user with a laptop comes into the location and you allow them to join the network running the Site License Server, then their laptop will also be able to access the games in your license pool. Any games they own on their personal Steam account will not count against your license pool.

Will I be able to purchase more than one Steam commercial license at a time?


Commercial accounts will have access on Steam to purchase commercial copies of any game where the publisher is offering a commercial copy. During the purchase process you will be able to enter the quantity of a game you wish to purchase and any applicable volume discounts will be applied at the time of purchase.

Am I required to purchase commercial copies of the games through Steam?


No, having a commercial account and agreeing to the commercial license provides the owner of the location with a license to use Steam and Valve's free-2-play games in the location. You are not required to purchase commercial copies of any other games through the site but only games purchased on the site or through an authorized re-seller will be usable with the Site License Server and added to your pool of licenses.

Are all games on Steam available for commercial licensing?


No, only games where the publisher/developer has expressly included them in our licensing program whether they are available for free or with a charge. It is up to the publisher/developer to decide if they want to participate in the program and they are responsible for setting the commercial price. The regular Steam subscriptions are provided with a purely noncommercial, personal license (see our Steam Subscriber Agreement). This will not cover any kind of public use or making content available to third parties.

After each customer session I re-image the PC, what will happen to the customer’s Steam data?


Since the customer is using their own Steam account all saved game data, achievements, awards, downloadable content, items, and purchases will be saved with the Steam account and uploaded to the cloud on exit to be reloaded the next time the customer logs into their account. On exit from Steam we remove the customer’s data on the PC.

Does the program support locations configured with a central storage server to reduce Steam update traffic?


Yes, we support cafés that use either a central storage server or a remote mount configuration in their café. We understand the need to limit the amount of update traffic and have added features to the Steam and the Site License Server to support these locations.

Can my commercial license be VAC banned?


VAC bans will be assigned to the account that was using the game at the time of the infraction. We highly recommend that the location owner discourages cheating as a high number of bans associated with accounts used in the location may result in removal from the licensing program.

Why can't I just let others access my own Steam games and account?


Regular Steam subscriptions are provided with a purely noncommercial, personal license (see our Subscriber Agreement). This will not cover any kind of public use or making content available to third parties. The Steam Site Licensing Program is designed to make it easy and affordable for you to allow your patrons access to all the great content and services that Steam has to offer.

Where do I find the commercial licenses?


You must be logged in with an authorized Steam account to view commercial products. Commercial licenses can be found by visiting the game's individual store page - the license will be displayed right under the regular end user price.

You can also search for the commercial licenses by ticking the "Site Licenses" option under "Show selected types" or by clicking the link here.

I want to join the program! How do I get started and where can I sign up?


You may sign up and register your business directly through our partner site here: Steamworks

Once signed up you will be able to access additional instructions and information on the included features through our Getting Started Guide for licensees.

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