Following a brief month in beta testing, Steam Remote Play Together has formally launched alongside a game sale. Valve asks its users, "What do you do when your buddies are farther away than you can swing a controller? You use remote play together." As the name implies, the feature allows for games to be played over the internet together that may not have been designed for online co-op modes.
The friends you invite do not need to own the game or have it installed, making all those local co-op games available online. The list of compatible games is growing every day, and the feature looks to significantly change how players and developers consider games that were traditionally designed for local play only.
The process for users is incredibly easy. Simply launch a compatible game and then from your friends list, right-click on your friends to invite them. As soon as they accept, you should be playing together. From your computer, video, audio, and voice will stream between players with their own controllers, or you can share the keyboard and mouse. Friends will only ever see the game screen, and never your own personal desktop. Players can stream games onto their own PCs, TVs, tablets, or even phones.
Obviously, your internet connection will be what determines the quality of the experience for all other users. Valve states that over a 5 GHz network they aim for a resolution of 1080p at 60 fps, while a more powerful gaming rig over a wired network and capable client device will allow for streaming of up to 4K and 60 FPS.
A quick glance at the Steam store reveals that there are already several titles across a broad range of game categories. Player experiences so far appear to be mainly positive. The only noticeable problems seem to be rooted in troublesome or underperforming ISPs or a lack of a strong source computer. Overall, the process appears strong from the beginning and looks to be an excellent addition to the platform.
This new feature comes at a great time for Steam, as Epic Games been working tirelessly for the better part of 2019 to lure users over to its platform. The prospect of an ever-growing, free library may not be enough if you can't share it with your pals. With Valve taking the first step, the real question will be if Epic Games will also attempt to implement its own similar remote play feature.