There’s nothing that can truly replace the magic of couch co-op. Some of my favorite games are local-multiplayer games that require everyone playing to be in the same room. But it’s 2019, and it can be tough to get a bunch of people into a room for gaming. That’s where Steam’s Remote Play Together feature comes in – and it’s available now as part of Steam beta.
Remote Play Together allows “two or more players to enjoy local multiplayer games over the internet, together.” Valve said in a post visible only to developers that “all local multiplayer, local co-op, and split-screen games will be automatically included in the Remote Play Together beta.” Developers don’t have to add anything or patch anything in, so that ancient game you and your bestie play together every Christmas break should work without a hitch on the game side.
There likely will be hitches, though; this is Valve turning a local game into a streamed one. This will inevitably introduce latency and cause some mismatches between player inputs.
How to access Remote Play Together
So how do you get into it right now? Valve wants you to join the Steam beta, update your client, and that’s all you have to do. In the Steam overlay, you can go to your friends’ list and select “Remote Play Together.” Players will be treated as if they’re playing locally, and only the game is ever displayed to your play partner, “never your desktop or other Top Secret stuff.” Who knows what they mean by that? Who can say?
You can also share or limit keyboard access if your game of choice is one that has you crowding around the WASD keys for whatever reason. Your play partner doesn’t need to own the game, and they don’t even need to be on the same platform. Linux, Windows, and Mac should all be able to play together.
This is a pretty cool feature for all the great local multiplayer games out there like Divinity: Original Sin 2, Gears 5, Jackbox Party Pack games, Overcooked, UNO, Killer Queen Black, and more. Valve even supplies a handy search page with over 4,000 local-multiplayer games listed.