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Valve Sends Out Invites to Steam Game Streaming

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

The invitations are going out. Will you be invited to the game streaming party?

Over the past two weeks, we've seen a lot of news about Valve Software's Steam Machines initiative. Last week brought to light 14 OEMS signed on to produce a Steam Machine later this fall. This week during Steam Dev Days we've seen a revised controller and heard lots of important news about these gaming solutions. It should come as no surprise that the streaming aspect of Valve's fight into the living room starts right now.

"We've sent out invitations to development partners to try out the streaming beta. As we iterate we'll add more and more people to the beta, so if you haven't gotten your invite, stay tuned! For those who have gotten your invite, I'd love to hear how things are working for you!" reads the Steam group page.

As it stands now, the entire Steam catalog will not be available to Steam Machines on a native level. Sure, there are a number of Linux games, and developers are currently working on titles that will run natively on SteamOS. But until there's more to offer, the next-best way to get PC games on a Steam Machine is to stream them from another Windows-based computer.

"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," reads the company's explanation. "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."

Naturally, the responsiveness of the end computer receiving the stream will depend on the network communication between the two machines. Valve says power line networks are good, but their quality varies depending on the age and configuration of the electrical wiring within the house. According to Valve, wireless networks are the biggest challenge because they're tuned for reliability and high bandwidth scenarios like downloading files and streaming movies.

"Some wireless routers can also periodically pause or take a second or two to switch from a low power to high power mode," reads the company's blog. "Even if you have a good router, your wireless network may be congested with chatter from other overlapping networks or even your microwave oven."

Valve demonstrates several networking methods here. As for when the streaming aspect goes public, that's unknown at this point. If it's not too late, you may be able to sign up by joining the In-Home Streaming group here.

Read about all the latest Steam Machines here.

Display 14 Comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , January 17, 2014 12:49 PM
    I haven't gotten one yet. :( 

    This is the one feature that really makes me excited for Steam OS - I can take my pre-existing HTPC, slap Steam OS on it, have XMBC, Steam, and Emulators all raring to go in one OS, and then stream games from my main computer when I want to show something off to friends / use the TV.
  • 0 Hide
    Durandul , January 17, 2014 1:45 PM
    I want. Need to play teh games on the laptop...But seriously, I am pumped for this. This makes so many entertainment options much, much easier. Now, if a company I trust makes a way to stream the desktop for light maya tasks...
  • 0 Hide
    mmohon , January 17, 2014 1:48 PM
    I'm just curious. Is SteamOS required to stream from a steam based windows machine? I was hoping to test features like this out on my MAME cabinet computer, its just an older (P4 3Ghz, 2gig Ram, Win XP) machine. I figured I could stream from my beefy rig to my older rig without needing steamos....just steam to steam.
  • 0 Hide
    Durandul , January 17, 2014 2:16 PM
    Quote:
    I'm just curious. Is SteamOS required to stream from a steam based windows machine? I was hoping to test features like this out on my MAME cabinet computer, its just an older (P4 3Ghz, 2gig Ram, Win XP) machine. I figured I could stream from my beefy rig to my older rig without needing steamos....just steam to steam.


    No, anything that runs steam client can host or receive. You are good to go.
  • 0 Hide
    woooooord , January 17, 2014 6:24 PM
    Back in the day there were games much more impressive than anything I had in my living room.They were at the arcade. We would put twenty-five cents into the machine, for what often amounted to less than a minute of gameplay. If you wanted the best tech and coolest games, you had to pay the big bucks, and you didn't own any of it. These streaming solutions that everyone blindly endorses can potentially land us back there again, for the first time in 20 years: You own nothing, they stream the experience to you on their terms, and if they decide you pay a dollar an hour to play or can only play through the game once before buying it again, so be it.
  • 0 Hide
    Durandul , January 17, 2014 7:23 PM
    Quote:
    Back in the day there were games much more impressive than anything I had in my living room.They were at the arcade. We would put twenty-five cents into the machine, for what often amounted to less than a minute of gameplay. If you wanted the best tech and coolest games, you had to pay the big bucks, and you didn't own any of it. These streaming solutions that everyone blindly endorses can potentially land us back there again, for the first time in 20 years: You own nothing, they stream the experience to you on their terms, and if they decide you pay a dollar an hour to play or can only play through the game once before buying it again, so be it.


    Or you could use it to scam your friends and family. Though, that would work with a MAME as well, except with cheaper hardware. Wait a minute...
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , January 17, 2014 7:28 PM
    Quote:
    Back in the day there were games much more impressive than anything I had in my living room.They were at the arcade. We would put twenty-five cents into the machine, for what often amounted to less than a minute of gameplay. If you wanted the best tech and coolest games, you had to pay the big bucks, and you didn't own any of it. These streaming solutions that everyone blindly endorses can potentially land us back there again, for the first time in 20 years: You own nothing, they stream the experience to you on their terms, and if they decide you pay a dollar an hour to play or can only play through the game once before buying it again, so be it.


    You... no.

    That's not how this works, do your research next time.

    This is streaming a game you own on steam, that's running on your gaming computer, TO another computer. It's not streaming from valve, it's streaming from what you can already do.
  • -1 Hide
    damric , January 18, 2014 3:14 PM
    Wait so in order to play games in my Steam library on Steam OS I will need a second computer that does not run Steam OS to stream games to my computer with Steam OS so I can play games from my Steam Library on Steam OS?Is it just me or is this redundant and a waste of time and money?
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , January 18, 2014 3:23 PM
    Quote:
    Wait so in order to play games in my Steam library on Steam OS I will need a second computer that does not run Steam OS to stream games to my computer with Steam OS so I can play games from my Steam Library on Steam OS?Is it just me or is this redundant and a waste of time and money?


    No. You guys are missing this, and I'm not sure how, considering this has been reported on for a long time. (Though I can take a guess from your user image.)

    You can use Steam OS to play any steam game that runs on Linux. The really cool thing, however, is that you can use a very tiny little thing running Steam OS that cost you hardly nothing, and stream any game your gaming rig can run TO that PC with the settings that computer can run it at. So you could be three floors below your gaming computer, in your den, playing games on Steam OS on an extremely cheap little unit, but playing at the settings and framerate your main computer can play at.
  • 0 Hide
    damric , January 18, 2014 9:39 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Wait so in order to play games in my Steam library on Steam OS I will need a second computer that does not run Steam OS to stream games to my computer with Steam OS so I can play games from my Steam Library on Steam OS?Is it just me or is this redundant and a waste of time and money?
    No. You guys are missing this, and I'm not sure how, considering this has been reported on for a long time. (Though I can take a guess from your user image.)You can use Steam OS to play any steam game that runs on Linux. The really cool thing, however, is that you can use a very tiny little thing running Steam OS that cost you hardly nothing, and stream any game your gaming rig can run TO that PC with the settings that computer can run it at. So you could be three floors below your gaming computer, in your den, playing games on Steam OS on an extremely cheap little unit, but playing at the settings and framerate your main computer can play at.
    There are no games in my Steam Library that run on Linux. I also do not own a 3 story house. If I did, I could probably afford to buy another copy of Windows. I really don't see how Steam OS will be worth a crap until it can play the games I already love to play,
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , January 18, 2014 10:26 PM
    Quote:
    There are no games in my Steam Library that run on Linux. I also do not own a 3 story house. If I did, I could probably afford to buy another copy of Windows. I really don't see how Steam OS will be worth a crap until it can play the games I already love to play,


    I don't own a 3-story house either, but that's not the point - It's not just buying another copy of Windows to put games on, you would then have to buy a computer that's good enough to run those games at the settings you want.

    This way you can use a gaming computer that you already have, and for a couple hundred bucks at most, have a second computer capable of playing games at the same quality, resolution, and settings, as your huge, monster gaming computer, but this second one can be tiny and hidden in a media center.

    That means that it CAN play all the games you already want to play, on a cheaper system, with the settings of a great system - the only downside being that it presumes you already have a gaming computer. I agree that as your primary OS, it's not amazing... but then again, neither is Chrome OS, which is incredibly useful for what it does. This is also incredibly useful for what it does, which is allowing you to build a very low-budget HTPC while still being able to game on it.
  • 0 Hide
    FloKid , January 19, 2014 10:52 PM
    StreamOS
  • 0 Hide
    bluekoala , January 20, 2014 6:06 AM
    I've started buying steam titles that have native Linux support exclusively. Future proof your library gentlemen. Windows failed to evolve appropriately and now their lock-ins (Direct X) are what's going to bury them when it comes to gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , January 20, 2014 11:17 AM
    Now if they can make a "Stream box" I'm game. Give me a chomecast like device with steam streaming built in.