Valve is launching a brand-new Steam feature that will allow players to host local multiplayer games online where their friends can join in.
In a recent Twitter post, Valve Software UI designer Alden Kroll confirmed that the company is adding "Remote Play Together" to its digital distribution service. He said the new feature lets users play local co-op titles together online as if they were "in the same room together."
The new Steam functionality will reportedly enter its beta on Monday, Oct. 21. It will be available for all local split-screen, co-op, and multiplayer games.
Valve's Remote Play Together Feature
Remote Play Together appears to be Valve's latest attempt to capture a wider audience for Steam. By opening local multiplayer games via the distribution service, the company entices players to sign up to avail of the feature. This can be a godsend, especially to gamers who don't have friends living nearby that they can play with.
Since the new feature works pretty much on any type of local gameplay, Steam developers don't necessarily have to do much to make sure that game titles are compatible with it. Users can choose the video game that they want to play and have the functionality to do its thing automatically.
Kroll said Remote Play Together will first stream the host's screen to a second player. The system will then capture the input from the second player and sent the information back to the game that the host is running on his machine.
Other Similar Services
This is not the first time a video game company tried to introduce online support for local multiplayer games. Sony offers a similar service through the "Share Play" feature for the PlayStation 4.
In 2015, NVIDIA launched a game streaming service known as GameStream co-op. While it primarily allowed co-op play for specific game titles, the service also offered two other functionalities.
The first one lets friends of players observe the game that they're playing. Meanwhile, the second one allows players to mirror the controls of the host PC on the guest PC so that the user will be able to take over control of the match.
While GameStream co-op developers didn't have to do much to implement the observation and mirror functionalities, they had to make an effort to handle the service's co-op mode.
Letting players host local multiplayer games online is an interesting service, but many observers have noted how challenging it is to carry out. For one, playing local games don't have the same limitations as having to stream them over the internet.
Users who will play local games won't have to deal with internet lag issues as others who may be streaming online. This may provide them with an unfair advantage over their opponents, especially during competitive matches.