Steam will soon allow people to play local multiplayer games online with Remote Play Together
Steam, PC gaming's most used game launcher and digital storefront, will be introducing new functionality that enables people to play games with local multiplayer together over the Internet with their Steam friends. It's called Remote Play Together, and the feature will debut in a Steam client beta release on the week of October 21st.
Valve Product Designer Alden Kroll confirmed the upcoming feature via a post on Twitter. He further clarified that this feature "really is only for shared-screen or split-screen games," stating that the functionality works by "streaming your screen to your friend and capturing their input and sending it back to the game." In effect, this means that you are both looking at the exact same screen and playing on the same instance, just like if you were in the same room.
Here's how Valve described it to developers in an email shared on 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 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."
The Remote Play Together tech that will soon be a part of Steam is positioned as an attractive alternative to the likes of Parsec due it being integrated into software that the vast majority of the PC gaming community will already have.
No timetable has been given for a release of Remote Play Together on the stable release channel for Steam. That said, the beta supports "all games tagged with local co-op, local multiplayer, or split-screen," so those of you itching to give it a shot will have a vast array of games to try out.