Virtual Couch Co-op
After getting announced earlier this month, Steam has officially launched online co-op replicator "Remote Play Together" into open beta. Working similarly to PlayStation's "Share Play" feature, after starting a multiplayer game, you can invite your friends to play it, even if they don't own it. Those worried about your friends peering through a virtual window at your computer don't have to worry, as only the game is shared. Hosts can "share -- or limit access to -- [their] mouse and keyboard," if you so choose. While Remote Play Together is apparently limited to just four players, Valve suggests that "even more [can join] in ideal conditions," though they didn't elaborate on what these conditions might be.
According to Valve, all of your friends' controllers will act as though they are plugged into your computer, simply transmitting inputs via the internet. Naturally, this means that any game that supports local co-op play can now be played globally. Furthermore, this now means that you can play games across PC, Mac and Linux, even games that aren't natively on the platform, all while streaming video, audio and voice chat between players. The list of games supported in the early stages of the beta is already over four thousand, with more games surely getting added over time. If you're unsure of how to sign up for Steam betas, Valve has a quick and easy refresher for you, too.
As we mentioned in our original news about the leak of the Remote Play Together beta, Valve aped one of the best features from the PS4: the ability to play games without actually owning the game in question. The idea is not new in the gaming business; for all the criticism that Paradox receives over inundating their games with DLC releases when playing multiplayer games, all lobby members have access to the DLC owned by the host, even if the joiner themselves doesn't.
Linux and Mac owners also have much to cheer for in the beta release, as the game catalog for the two oft-maligned platforms can be surprisingly narrow. Steam has made strides in recent years to include both Mac and Linux in updates, but as the adoption rate of the two pales in comparison to actual PCs, many developers don't often see the value in porting their game where only a handful of people might buy it. With Steam's Remote Play Together beta fully live now, we'll see just where it goes in the weeks ahead.
What games do you think will be reinvigorated by Remote Play Together? Do you plan on checking out the beta for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!