Valve Explains Steam Streaming

Early closed beta begins

Posted By | On 21st, Nov. 2013 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


steammachine

When Valve announced their plans for their own take on the console concept with their Steam Machines powered by the Steam OS, there was some confusion: Steam OS was a variant of Linux, and while a fair few PC games now get Linux ports (or well, more of them do than they used to before), mostly every PC game is not on the OS. So how was Valve planning on making their Steam OS and Steam Machine credible?

There answer was Steam Streaming, which would allow your Steam Machine to stream games from your local Windows PC, letting it do all the heavy lifting, and now they have explained the concept a bit more.

“Any two computers in a home can be used to stream a gameplay session and this can enable playing games on systems that would not traditionally be able to run those games. For example, a Windows only game could be streamed from a Windows PC to a Steam Machine running Linux in the living room. A graphically intensive game could be streamed from a beefy gaming rig in the office to your low powered laptop that you are using in bed. You could even start a game on one computer and move to a more comfortable location and continue playing it there.”

So that sounds good, but later on in this Q&A, they also reveal that while the client PC is being used to stream the game to the Steam Machine, you can’t use it for anything else, which… basically means you are using two machines to play a game when you could just use one.

I don’t know, I’m not sold yet. The whole concept doesn’t seem to be really well thought out to me. Perhaps Valve should instead have worked on creating a set of cheap APIs that would allow for easy porting to Linux?

[PC Gamer]


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  • techbiscuit

    It’s not ideal that the computer playing the game (server) will be unusable while streaming to the computer playing (client). Though, it’s understandable to the point that you don’t want someone else logging onto the server and running some other programs that will bring your game to a crawl.

    I don’t agree that an API for easy porting would have been better. A small selection of companies would probably bother to go back and port the games. This is an immediate tool that can be used to play anything. Sure, there might be a bit of input/display lag, but if you cared much about that you’d probably be playing on the server instead of the client.

    Also, the client won’t always have the power of the server. I know my laptop couldn’t play Skyrim, but my main computer can. My main computer is currently hooked up to the TV. It would be great to have the option of playing a game on my laptop while someone is watching a movie from the Blu-Ray player. Or, to play from my room, if I want to chat with friends in a quieter space while playing.

    Being able to switch devices I’m playing from would also be amazing… Using my example, if I were playing a game on the TV when someone wants to watch a movie… No problem! Just hop onto my laptop and keep playing.

  • RobertAnalog

    I am definitely the opposite of an OS genius, but if getting games to work on linux was as easy as building some APIs, wouldn’t some programmers in the labyrinthine open-source world or Canonical have done that by now and linux wouldn’t have that problem?

    techbiscuit below I think has it right: the issue is that the game companies would have to do get involved to make it happen still. Valve has more leverage over game companies than linux companies/groups currently, but that’s only because that leverage is greater than zero. Even if they get movement from game designers on recent and future games for this, it will take time to implement.

    Streaming seems more like a short-term tactic to address library size while they try to work out a more permanent solution.

  • Brandon Fenty

    I think their overall strategy here is to get the Steam OS up and running for a lot of people, and then once it is a widely used and accepted platform, more developers will sit up and take notice. One company, trying to make gaming work on Linux, isn’t going to work unless the demand is there. So they’re going to create the demand with a lot of low-cost linux gaming rigs that everyone has, creating a viable platform for developers to release content on. Everyone wins in this scenario, it just takes that initial catalyst.


 

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