It’s been cloud gaming galore at E3, with everyone from Google to Ubisoft wanting you to play fancy games on mundane computers, and now Steam has joined in. Valve already let us stream games from our gaming PCs to other, slower systems in our homes, and now they’re tentatively letting us venture outside. Steam In-Home Streaming is now Steam Remote Play, able to let you play your games on your bigbox at a distance. It’ll require a good Internet connection, of course, and input lag may become a problem, but for certain types of games I’m sure that’s just grand.
Valve say this new feature is “experimentally available,” so it might work for you but y’know don’t go dreaming about tethering your laptop to your phone so you can play Crysis while stuck in a traffic jam. And even if that did work, you really shouldn’t.
“Your Steam clients can now stream games from each other wherever they are, as long as there is a good network connection on both sides and they are close to a Steam datacenter,” Valve explain. That’s fairly conditional.
Like cloud gaming services, Steam’s system runs games on a big fancy computer, streams the video output to a system then passes control inputs back. This means you can play games on a system which is too slow to actually run them itself. Only with Steam Remote Play, the big fancy computer is your own one, rather than a nebulous grey box hanging in the skies over Aberdeen.
This can get sluggish and glitchy on poor connections, or even within the same building on an iffy WiFi network, so you’ll likely not be playing from the far side of the world. But for certain types of games in certain circumstances with certain connections, it could be nice enough.
See yesterday’s patch notes for further details.
I still wish I’d bought a Steam Link doodad while I had the chance.