Only the host player needs to own a copy of the game
I’m ecstatic about Remote Play Together, a new Steam feature that lets people play games together online even if they weren’t originally designed that way. It’s available this week in beta form, so if you have any old favorite split-screen or local multiplayer games on PC, Mac, or Linux that you’d like to take online and share with a buddy as if they were sitting beside you, it’s worth giving them a shout.
How does it work? Basically, one player needs to own the game on Steam – say, Samurai Gunn, TowerFall Ascension, or anything else that lacks online multiplayer support. The host player can then go into their Friends list, pick “Remote Play Together,” and Steam will work its streaming magic.
There’s a few cool things going on here. Using Remote Play Together, the secondary players’ controllers “will act as if they’re plugged directly into [the host’s] computer,” and player one can even choose to share control of their keyboard and mouse with their friends. Valve also made a point to emphasize that only the shared game is visible to friends – “never your desktop or other Top Secret stuff.”
As for how many players can team up, Valve says “up to four, or even more in ideal conditions.”
Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours googling around for credible, up-to-date lists of local and online co-op games. It’s not always clear what’s online-only and what isn’t. It can be a pain to pin down that information, especially when weird caveats or restrictions come into play. In a lot of ways, Remote Play Together seems like a silver bullet. I hope other platforms can follow in Steam’s footsteps here. The fact that it’s baked-in, free, and only one person needs to install the game is what makes this so special.
To participate in the Remote Play Together beta, you just need to have the Steam Beta Client.
You can see if a game is compatible on the right-hand sidebar of its store page, or scroll through this massive list of Steam games with the Remote Play Together tag.