Valve has confirmed that its Steam digital distribution and launcher platform is to gain the ability to play local multiplayer titles over the internet, in a new feature dubbed Remote Play Together.
Valve has been pushing Steam's Remote Play capabilities, which allow games to be streamed from a desktop machine to remote devices including smartphones and tablets, for some time. Its latest addition, though, is something new: The promise that titles geared for local multiplayer will become playable over the internet, streaming automatically to the remote player.
'Today our team announced another great new platform feature that will be built into Steam: Remote Play Together,' Valve's Alden Kroll posted to Twitter. 'This will allow friends to play local co-op games together over the internet as though they were in the same room together.'
Details of how the function will work were sent to registered Steam developers this week, with a copy of the email being republished to the Unity forum. 'Using the Remote Play Together Beta, a player can simply launch any game with support for local multiplayer, local co-op or shared/split-screen features and then via the Steam Overlay, invite a Friend to join their game for some multiplayer fun,' the email explains. 'The invitation is just like handing a second controller to a friend. When the Friend accepts an invitation to play, it’s as though they’re playing side by side at the same machine. Much like a traditional split-screen experience, the host’s computer is running the game, but with Remote Play Together friends can join using their own controllers, voice, audio, and display — regardless of whether they also own the game on Steam.'
Valve isn't the only company to have experimented with game streaming to enable remote users to play local multiplayer titles: Back in 2015 Nvidia announced GameStream Co-Op, an expansion to its GeForce Experience toolkit which allowed a remote player to take over control of a gamer's stream entirely or join them as a second player in a selection of specific titles.
Valve has confirmed that Remote Play Together will launch in beta form soon, but has not yet confirmed a date.
October 18 2019 | 17:00