Steam will soon let you play local multiplayer games online
Huge, if it works
Oh, the possibilities. Late night TowerFall tournaments, no longer restricted to the too-rare occasions when I'm in the same room as my internet friends. I might get to finish Overcooked 2, this time with a pal who finds efficient cooking more entertaining than winding me up by pretending to mistake fire extinguishers for lettuces. Multiple developers have revealed Valve's plans for "Remote Play Together", which will bring automatic online support for local multiplayer games. It's one more step towards freeing us from the tyranny of geography, with an open beta due for October 21st.
Yeah, you could already do this using third-party tools. But sometimes convenience opens up possibilities by itself.
Both Hidden In Plain Sight developer Adam Spragg and one of the Guard Duty devs, Nathan Darko, have tweeted about the new service. The email from Valve reads:
"Your local multiplayer games will soon be improved with automatic support for Remote Play Together on Steam. Remote Play Together is a new Steam feature that enables two or more players to enjoy local multiplayer games over the internet, together.
"All local multiplayer, local co-op, and split-screen games will be automatically included in the Remote Play Together beta, which we plan to launch the week of October 21."
Spragg's tweet adds that only one person needs to own the game.
It's worth noting that a tool called Parsec has facilitated this for years. I'm annoyed I hadn't heard of it before today, but I'm also aware that prodding my pals into fiddling with it when we could jump straight into faff-free regular online multiplayer game might have been tricky.
Much hinges on how well Remote Play Together actually works. Even tiny amounts of latency matter for fighting games, and I'm weary of desync bringing disaster in something like Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime. If it's seamless, though, evenings for the multiplayer-inclined might be about to get much more varied.