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This Is Living (Room): Steam In-Home Streaming Beta Soon

Valve has named the group for this thing 'Homestream,' which sounds like something I'd call a good friend if I were trying way too hard to be hip. 'What up, homestream?' Hurrah! Now I hate myself!

Owning a gaming machine with horsepower for days can come with some pretty severe drawbacks – for instance, that it’s comparable to an actual horse in weight and portability. (And I can’t even ride it! What did I make this damn thing for, anyway?) The prospect of following Valve’s rhythmically clomping war party into the living room, then, isn’t the most attractive. Not when I have to pit my spine against weight that would bow a flagpole for multiple action-packed flights of stairs. But soon, all will be well. Valve’s officially announced its in-home streaming program for Steam, and it sounds like just what my doctor would’ve ordered after diagnosing me with folded-up-like-a-human-accordion syndrome.

Steam In-Home Streaming is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. For the uninitiated, here is what it sounds like:

“Steam in-home streaming will allow you to play a game on one computer when the game process is actually running on another computer elsewhere in your home. Through Steam, game audio and video is captured on the remote computer and sent to the player’s computer. The game input (keyboard, mouse or gamepad) is sent from the player’s computer to the game process on the remote computer.”

“Any two computers in a home can be used to stream a gameplay session and this can enable playing games on systems that would not traditionally be able to run those games. For example, a Windows only game could be streamed from a Windows PC to a Steam Machine running Linux in the living room.”

Handy! And yeah, streaming between OSes sounds especially useful, given that Linux isn’t exactly teeming with games just yet. SteamOS will need support from all corners of the game-o-verse eventually, but for now this is a nice cork to stop it from becoming a sinking ship. And in the future? Well, I have to wonder if there’s much at all that’d prevent us from streaming to, say, tablets or phones – well, aside from less-than-ideal control schemes, anyway.

Beta testing is apparently in its “early stages” right now, and you can quietly, patiently beg to be let in by joining the Steam In-Home Streaming community group conglomerate cabal Voltron. I just did, and I can feel my back, neck, arms, and legs untwisting themselves from horrific, jagged piles of wreckage already!

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Nathan Grayson

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