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It's too early to tell if cloud game streaming is here to stay, but a lot of companies are investigating its possibilities. It looks like Valve, creator of PC gaming service Steam, is planning to get in on the action. A recent update to the site developers use to sign their games up to Steam mentions 'Steam Cloud Gaming'.
Valve is working on "Steam Cloud Gaming" according to partner site code update. Partners will need to sign an addendum to their terms.
Could this be a competitor to @GoogleStadia?https://t.co/7AQ9YxCol8
- Steam Database (@SteamDB) November 6, 2019
Steam Database, a service that tracks any changes to the Valve's various sites and databases, noticed a recent addition to the partner site code. It's a site that anyone who releases a game on Steam must sign up to. It includes terms and conditions developers must agree to, and it's these that Valve updated. The latest change adds a section where partners "must agree to the terms in the Steam Cloud Gaming Addendum".
There's currently no description of what 'Steam Cloud Gaming' is but, with a name like that, it certainly suggests Valve is working on a streaming service.
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Steam already supports device to device streaming. You can use hardware like the Steam Link to stream games running on your PC to any connected television. I've used it a few times to play games in my living room, rather than lugging the gaming tower downstairs out of my bedroom. It's a temperamental service, often suffering from severe lag. Though, that's likely down to my home network.
What will be particularly interesting about a Steam cloud gaming platform is how it handles its catalogue. If it's a monthly subscription that gives you access to all the games on Steam, then that would be an incredible library. But, if it's more like Google's Stadia, where you need to buy each game to unlock it for streaming, it will be a less enticing subscription. That said, if signing up to Steam Cloud Gaming let you stream all the games you had already bought, that would be mighty tempting - with the flick of a switch years worth of game purchases suddenly become streamable to all your devices, whether you're at home, in a hotel, slacking off at work... This is clearly all speculative, as Valve hasn't even announced Steam Cloud Gaming, so we can't know what shape it might take, but this could be a serious contender on the streaming scene.
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