Local multiplayer can be a beautiful thing, but when your friends are far away, the “local” part becomes a problem. Steam is looking to solve that issue by rolling out a new feature called Remote Play Together, which allows users to play local multiplayer games over the internet. This feature works with split-screen and shared screen games, allowing you to play them with a friend when they aren’t sitting right next to you.
Valve hasn’t officially unveiled this feature to the public yet, but it has been letting developers know that the feature is on the way. One developer posted the email they received to the Unity forums, and it’s through that post that we learn of the capabilities and requirements of Remote Play Together.
First and foremost, Remote Play Together is arriving in the beta build of Steam on October 21st. It’ll be compatible with all games that support local co-op, local multiplayer, or split-screen. In an interesting turn, only the person hosting the Remote Play Together session needs to actually own the game, and the friends they invite to play won’t need to.
“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,” Valve’s email reads. Essentially, the host streams the game to their friends’ computers, with Valve saying that the feature supports up to four players and is capable of rendering 60 fps gameplay at 1080p.
Since the host is streaming the game to the other players, everyone participating is going to need a solid internet connection. Valve says a connection between 10 to 30 Mbps should do the trick, and faster connections may allow more people to join. It goes without saying that the host also needs good upload speeds, though Valve didn’t specify what the sweet spot is for that in its email.
So, there you have it: soon, you’ll be able to play games that were once limited to local multiplayer over the internet. There’s no word on when Remote Play Together will launch in the live version of Steam, but we’ll keep an eye out for more.