Fresh of last week’s announcement that EA is bringing its games back to Steam, it looks like Valve is gearing up to pierce into cloud gaming. Google Stadia may not be the only behemoth streaming platform on the horizon for much longer.
Code extracted from a partner site, courtesy of SteamDB, suggests Valve is asking partners to sign updated terms with a heavy emphasis on ‘Steam Cloud Gaming.’
Among the code, there are few not so subtle references to cloud gaming. The most obvious of which is the following line;
You must agree to the terms in the Steam Cloud Gaming Addendum before continuing.
Sadly, beyond a few brief mentions, we don’t have access to the fleshed-out terms of the addendum. Nor do we have any idea what Steam’s cloud gaming ambitious entail in practical terms.
If we don our speculative bonnet, the possibilities are nothing short of tantalizing. Let’s say Steam offers cloud streaming as a subscription a la PlayStation Now, this could mean a monthly lump sum for access to the entire Steam library (wishful thinking, we know).
This could prove disastrous for Google Stadia’s costly subscription + price of games format. Steam would have a head start thanks to its expansive catalog of games compared to Google’s rather meager lineup.
To say this would leave Google Stadia dead in the water is somewhat presumptuous given the tech giant’s vast hardware infrastructure. But, Steam is a known quantity with a track record, while Google’s gaming ambitions remain mostly unproven. It hasn’t helped that the company is struggling to ship Stadia kits in time for launch on Nov. 19, and continues to make outlandish ‘negative latency’ claims.
A more realistic take would be a curated selection of titles pushed to subscribers every month. This would likely please publishers, giving them the chance to showcase fresh releases, for example. Alternatively, the feature may allow us to stream our existing purchased libraries to a smartphone or TV via a remote server on the Steam client.
What’s certain is that cloud gaming is here to stay, and Valve clearly wants a piece of the pie.