Valve Announces Steam Remote Play Together Feature

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Valve has announced via its Steamworks website that Steam will beta test a new feature called Remote Play Together. This feature allows gamers to play local multiplayer games together over the internet. It is expected that the new Steam beta will arrive on October 21.

Steamworks is available only to game developers, but the news about the new Remote Play Together features were already shared by a couple of devs, according to PCGamer. Valve explained that developers won’t have to do anything, as all split-screen, co-op, and local multiplayer games will be included automatically in the upcoming Remote Play Together beta.

In its GeForce Experience app, Nvidia used to feature similar functionality. The feature was supported for a while by several low-latency game streaming services such as Parsec. The feature uses remote play in order to simulate the experience of playing together in a room.

The new Steam feature will basically act the same as Nvidia’s feature. Gamers who can’t physically get together with friends to play a game in the same room will be able to at least enjoy each other’s company online and play games remotely.

The Steam Remote Play Together feature will work by capturing the input of a friend’s screen and streaming it to you, while streaming your screen to your friend. Basically, you and your friend are both looking at the same thing and playing the same game. According to Valve's Alden Kroll, the game experience is "like playing together in the same room, without being in the same room."

Since many games require a lot of time to master, are competitive, or both, there is certainly an appeal to the new feature. Also, being able to play games made to be played locally while online makes them more accessible.

It is likely that Steam’s Remote Play Together feature will have its issues at first. Due to disparities between gamers’ internet connections, games may have input lag and other potential problems. Valve will have to figure out how to offer an experience similar to playing locally on the same device. The beta testing should give Valve the time to fix any potential issues ahead of a full launch.

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