So you’ve found a fantastic cooperative game on Steam. You are about to send a message to your friend so they can buy it too so you can play together, but you see it: no online gaming, just local cooperation. It’s a shame, getting together just to play a video game isn’t an option most of the time (especially right now). Fortunately, Steam actually has a way to fix this.
Welcome to ICYDK (In case you didn’t know), a series where we offer tips and tricks which are not necessarily new but which may have been ignored or otherwise not well known.
Steam Remote Play Together
Steam Remote Play has been around for a while. It is a free service provided by Valve that allows you to use your main gaming PC as a sort of streaming box for other devices. It lets you play high-end PC games on anything from your phone to your tablet, as long as you have sufficient internet connection.
Last October, Valve announced that it would expand the service with Steam Remote Play Together, which lets you stream games to other players on play local cooperative games on the internet. Now there have been attempts at similar services in the past, but Remote Play Together is different. Not only is Remote Play Together completely free, but it has also been able to eliminate many of the complications that these services tend to have since it was directly integrated into Steam.
So how does it work? It’s easy. Just launch your favorite local co-op game, access your friends list, right-click on your friends and click “Play Remote Together” and you’re done. Steam will send your friends an invitation to join your game and after clicking on it, you will play together. No problem, no need for anything complicated like port forwarding or using paid server providers – it works. This is particularly interesting because only the player organizing the match must own the game.
The connection is fairly stable, but as with any online game, if you have a weak Internet connection, you will experience a delay and higher response times. Remote play is also normally limited to four players. But, if everyone involved has a good enough connection, you can actually exceed this limit.
When you join a Remote Play Together lobby with other players, you automatically connect via Steam’s voice chat so you can communicate easily. You can of course use a separate voice system like Discord, FaceTime or a standard phone call.
What games work with?
Publishers and developers must activate remote play together on their games, so be on the lookout for games that have the “Play remotely together” tag on their store pages so you can be sure they will work. Now, almost all of the local cooperative games on Steam have enabled this now, but still, it’s worth watching.
We have to tackle non-Steam games that have been added to Steam although. It will not work, as we said before, editors must specifically activate the functionality. This cannot be done if the game has never been released to Steam. This includes games played with an emulator – trying to load Mario Kart Double Dash in Steam for a remote cooperative session just won’t work.
You’re gonna need some games
Steam Remote Play Together is not good if you don’t have local cooperative games to play. Valve organized a list of quality local cooperative games on the Remote Play Together page. This list is organized by genre, from cooperative campaign-oriented games and from puzzle games to competitive games versus games. So there should be at least a few games that pique your interest. Keep in mind that remote streaming will be affected by the lag.
Games with super-twitchy time entries, like head-to-head fighters, could be particularly affected if one or more players have a suboptical connection. If you’re having trouble with these games, try switching to something more casual or turn-based.
While Remote Play Together can’t perfectly capture what it’s like to play games together in person, it comes close to most online services by simply opening the door to a wider range of games to play. And this service is also great for developers, as there are many independent developers who just don’t have the resources to add a full online multiplayer mode.
At no cost to host or join a Remote Play Together session, there is no reason not to at least try it out. You don’t need to sign up for anything either, just open your favorite cooperative game via Steam and you’re ready to go.