A MERE 12 or so days ago Valve released a limited beta for Steam allowing split-screen multiplayer games to be played across the internet; things must have gone well as Remote Play Together is now available in an open beta for all.
Remote Play Together might seem like some odd web-based masturbation thing, but it's actually the means by which people can play games normally limited to local multiplayer over the internet.
It works by effectively mirroring the screen of a host PC running Steam to another Steam enabled PC and then piping the inputs of the second player back to the host machine. Both players also see a split-screen, thereby making the effect of playing alongside someone feel all the more real even if they are on the other side of the world.
It's a neat feature but one we'd have thought might be a little limited in scope. Clearly, Valve doesn't see this as the case and so the Remote Play Together feature has been pushed out further.
"With Remote Play Together, you can now invite Steam Friends to join your local co-op, local multiplayer, and shared/split-screen games online. Up to four players, can instantly join in the fun. Only the host needs to own and install the game, while additional players connect through Steam Remote Play streaming technology," Valve said.
It certainly a different take on the game streaming the likes of Microsoft's Project xCloud and Google Stadia promise to deliver. But as Valve is arguably facing competition in the online game store and service side of things from the Epic Store for example, adding such features into its platform is one way to ensure Steam retains its long-standing appeal.
Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Project Scarlett next-generation games consoles are slated for late next year, so perhaps we could see a resurgence in local multiplayer. µ
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