Steam has announced a new feature for games with local multiplayer modes. Called “Remote Play Together”, it will allow “two or more players to enjoy local multiplayer games over the internet, together.” It was announced on the developers-exclusive Steamworks website, but some who have access have shared the news publicly.
Remote Play Together will enter Steam beta soon. According to the announcement, the beta will automatically include “all local multiplayer, local co-op, and split-screen games” when it launches the week of October 21. As implied in the name, the goal of Remote Play Together is to recreate the experience of playing video games together in a shared room with others in an online space. Game streaming service Parsec has had a similar feature for a while, allowing users to play PC games remotely.
Alden Kroll from Valve clarified how the new feature will work on Twitter, explaining that Remote Play Together streams the host player’s screen to a second player and captures the second player’s input, which is sent back to the game on the host player’s device.
To clarify: it really is only for shared-screen or split-screen games. The tech is streaming your screen to your friend and capturing their input and sending it back to the game, so you are both playing the same game, looking at the same thing.
— Alden Kroll @ PAX Australia (@aldenkroll) October 10, 2019
While this feature could be greatly beneficial to players, it’ll be challenging for Steam to pull off for so many games. Additionally, the player who’s running the game on their machine will have an advantage, as the players streaming it will likely experience lag, slowing their inputs drastically. Hopefully as the feature enters its beta stage, Steam will be able to work out whatever bugs pop up and figure out ways to balance the advantages and disadvantages between the host player and those streaming.