Steam’s online couch co-op feature, Remote Play, launched on Wednesday. Remote Play has been in beta for a month before launch, and it appears that Valve has been happy enough with the results to integrate it into the client as a full-blown feature.
And, how effortlessly Valve has done that. Remote Play is sophisticated tech working with a welcome simplicity that takes the hassle usually synonymous with online play out of the equation.
To mark the occasion, we’re taking a look at what makes it so great.
Say what you want about Steam, but one thing Valve systematically gets right with its client, is functionality. It simply works. And, Remote Play is no different; start a game, invite a friend through the Friends List, and voila, you’re in within seconds.
It even works for games that don’t natively support online multiplayer through some clever Valve wizardry. Different operating systems won’t be an issue either. Windows, Mac? No problem. It even works on mobile thanks to Remote Play Anywhere.
Only the person hosting and launching the game needs to own it to use Remote Play with others. This one needs no explanation. It’s cost-effective and doesn’t require friends to jump through hoops.
Valve has also taken the step of limiting what connected friends can see to just the game. Anything else that might on the host’s machine be it the desktop, a web browser, and so on, are strictly out of bounds.
Remote Play is designed to behave as if all players have a controller plugged into the host computer regardless of whether they are next door or hundreds of miles away. It goes without saying that each player will need a controller of their own.
So, there’s that seamless functionality, but you can also share a keyboard and mouse between all players if that works better for your particular situation.
While playing a game with friends on the other side of the country is the main feature, Remote Play also allows you to stream video, audio, and voice between all players. It’s an elegant solution that brings that party atmosphere to online play.
While not technically a feature, everyone loves a good deal. Steam is having a sale on a generous selection of co-op, versus, and small committee local multiplayer games ideally suited to Remote Play to celebrate the feature leaving beta. You can pick up games Overcooked, Spelunky, and Guacamelee for next to nothing.