Skip to main content

Valve Beta Testing Local Game Streaming Soon

On the Steam In-Home Streaming group, Valve reports that beta testing game streaming within a user’s home network will begin soon. The company has also posted an article on how this streaming process will work, which will not be locked to the upcoming SteamOS platform: any two computers can be used to stream a gameplay session.

"We are currently in the early stages of testing Steam in-home streaming," reads Valve’s blog entry. "There is a huge variety in home hardware and network configurations, and we would like your help in learning about what works best. If you’re interested in helping out or would like more information about in-home streaming, please join the Steam In-Home Streaming community group and stay tuned for details on a beta coming soon to Steam."

In this article, Valve explains how the streaming aspect will work. Essentially the gaming computer will be locked, preventing other people from logging on and disrupting the flow. This rig will obviously need enough hardware to both run the game admirably and stream the content simultaneously. Plus given that the client PC is sending input, it would be confusing if someone was trying to use the gaming PC at the same time input-wise.

"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 Valve’s blog entry. "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 whole streaming system depends on the local network (no Internet streaming at this time). The company explains that network latency can be significantly impacted by the amount of video data streamed between the two machines. A good experience requires minimizing the amount of data being processed while keeping the highest possible image quality. Valve is currently working on that.

"We’re working on ways to dynamically adapt to network conditions but sometimes the best way to improve your streaming experience is simply to reduce your game’s video resolution or reduce the number of frames per second (FPS) used in the stream," reads the blog.

Valve points out that Ethernet-based networks are designed for latency and high bandwidth, and are perfect for game streaming, Powerline-based networks aren’t too bad, as their quality depends on the age and configuration of the building’s electrical system. Wireless networks pose as the biggest challenge because most routers are designed for downloading files and steaming video that can be buffered.

"The quality of networks can vary widely and choosing a good in-home network configuration can significantly improve the streaming experience," the blog reads. "As we continue to develop and test streaming within Steam, we hope to collect and share tips on creating the best home hardware and network configurations."

So far the system specs for Valve's streaming feature aren’t provided, which is likely what the beta program is all about: to test the streaming on a number of different hardware and network configurations. Be sure to secure a spot by joining the Steam In-home Streaming group here.

  • tomfreak
    if they could get a multi-core multi GPU work on diff steam accounts that would be useful.

    For ex.
    Player no1, Play game A that only use dual core, 1GPU
    Player no2. Play game B use other 2 CPU cores, another GPU.

    Otherwise is rather pointless, I might as well game directly on that machine.

    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    12003342 said:
    if they could get a multi-core multi GPU work on diff steam accounts that would be useful.

    For ex.
    Player no1, Play game A that only use dual core, 1GPU
    Player no2. Play game B use other 2 CPU cores, another GPU.

    Otherwise is rather pointless, I might as well game directly on that machine.

    How is it pointless to stream say Injustice: Gods Among Us to a low end HTPC like I have with a HD5450?

    That's the whole point to it. To be able to stream it to low end devices so you don't have to have a high end gaming PC on your TV or even a high end gaming laptop.
    Reply
  • agnickolov
    It's an interesting initiative. I might consider this for playing from my HTPC for example -- it already has a mouse and a keyboard and is attached to a receiver (hopefully this includes sound as well). Not sure this would work well with my Surface Pro tablet, however -- I'd likely need to attach a mouse to it first.
    Reply
  • mmohon
    I'd prefer a roku style device running steam os in my living room with a keyboard/mouse or controller. It'd be a dream come true for me.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Real pros will use 3 PCs for streaming.
    1. Beefy Rig
    2. Not so beefy Rig
    3. Even less beefy rig (headless) running router software

    Game on!
    Reply
  • geofry
    "Otherwise is rather pointless, I might as well game directly on that machine."

    1. I can think of a few reasons to justify the 1 to 1 setup working. First are foremost you can move all the wires, noise, and heat out into the garage. Also you can do a rebuild on your rig out there instead of making a giant mess in your kitchen/livingroom/bedroom. Important once you have a significant other who already hates the gaming you do and the gaming rig you have.

    2. Would you rather have your 5 year old, roommate, parent, etc that is going to trash your gaming rig because of the stupid things they do/install/download or would you rather they mess up their old laptop instead?
    3. The ability to pick up and go else where in the house to game is badly needed without having to haul all your gear with you. Guests sleeping in the guest room aka your computer den where your rig lives? You want to go "work" in the garage and get away from the family? Want to play games with your kids/friends in the livingroom?

    I'd love to be able to put one or many rigs out in the garage and to be able to support a virtual OS on a hardware light device, but I'll take a 1 for 1 streaming over nothing at all.

    Reply
  • gopher1369
    12003342 said:
    I might as well game directly on that machine.

    I have a family and so don't always have access to my gaming PCs (I have 2). In fact I frequently don't have access to either of my PCs.

    Gaming PC number 1 is a regular desktop in my bedroom and is often pinched by my daughter to watch Netflix.

    Gaming PC number 2 is a HTPC in my living room connected to my plasma - and the plasma is often used by my wife to watch TV.


    I can use PC number 2 to stream games onto my (core 2 duo / Intel GMA 4500) laptop when the TV is in use.

    I can use either PC to stream games onto my laptop so I can play in bed.

    Reply
  • Innocent_Bystander-1312890
    Oh this is good... Maintaining just one rig and have the ability to stream games to low power laptops... yumm.

    I have my gaming computer hooked up to my wired network but my laptop is wireless... I hope lag won't kill the whole thing...

    IB
    Reply
  • the_crippler
    I just still have a hard time believing that this magical utopia of gaming that Valve is promising is going to happen the way they're promising, but maaaaaaaaaaan, I really hope it does. I cannot wait to get my hands on this software. I live to play 4x games while watching TV with my wife, but there's only so many my laptop can run....this would change everything.
    Reply
  • gopher1369
    12006442 said:
    I just still have a hard time believing that this magical utopia of gaming that Valve is promising is going to happen the way they're promising

    It should do, this technology already exists and works, examples:

    I already stream games this way using Splashtop from my desktop to my laptop - the limitation of Splashtop though is that a) it doesn't support full screen games so you have to hope your game has a borderless window option or put up with ugly borders and b) it doesn't support control pads, only kb and mouse. I regularly use Splashtop to stream LOTRO onto my laptop.

    Nvidia Gamestream/Shield

    Sony Remote Play between their consoles and handhelds.
    Reply