Local Multiplayer Games to Get Online Support With Steam’s 'Remote Play Together'

October 10, 2019
Local Multiplayer Games to Get Online Support With Steam’s 'Remote Play Together'

Steam has sent out an update to developers informing them that starting October 21, they will have access to a new feature on Steam, ‘Remote Play Together’.

The update that goes into detail how it will work and how developers can join the public beta was posted to Unity forums. The new Remote Play Together feature was also later confirmed by Alden Kroll, a developer working for Valve, but Valve has yet to comment on the new feature.

According to the email sent to developers, it works something like this. If a game has local multiplayer support, the player can open the Steam overlay while in the game and send a Remote Play Together invite to a friend who can then join you, "just like handing a second controller to a friend."

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Image sent in the email as an example of the invite

This is best compared to Google’s Stadia. You’re actually rendering the game and streaming it to a friend and then registering all of the incoming commands from him. In theory, it will work in 1080p at 60 FPS, but the prerequisite is that both you and your friend have at least a 10Mbps connection.

To help visualize, imagine that you’re sitting on the couch with your friend and you’re playing a split-screen game. Now imagine that you remove his side of the screen, he takes his half home and continues playing. Your PC is still running the game, you have the entire screen for yourself (added bonus, he can’t screen cheat), your friend is still in the game, but he’s at home on his own screen, and keyboard and mouse (or gamepad, we don’t judge).

According to the email, this feature will be available in the week of October 21 for all users of the Steam Client Beta. If a game has "local multiplayer," "local co-op," or "split-screen" as one of its tags, it will be supported by the new feature.

In case a developer is worried it will negatively impact game sales, they can opt-out of the feature, but Valve is reassuring them that it can only have a positive impact.

"We don’t believe it’s feasible to use Remote Play Together to avoid purchasing games on Steam entirely, and like other promotional tools and features, we believe the additional exposure and fun players have will lead to additional revenue and player growth."

What do you think, will this help bring back split-screen game to the spotlight?