Wednesday, 20 Mar 2019

Valve is turning Steam Link into a personal cloud service that streams games anywhere

Valve has announced that it’s expanding its Steam Link game-streaming feature in a big way with Steam Link Anywhere, a new service that will allow you to stream your Steam games from your computer to anywhere in the world through Steam Link hardware or the Steam Link app.

It’s a big change from the current Steam Link app, which used to only let users stream games within their own homes. This new expansion makes Steam Link a far more powerful feature — combined with the Android app (sadly, the iOS app is still being blocked by Apple), Steam Link Anywhere in theory will let users stream games from their PC to play anywhere they have internet service.

According to Valve, Steam Link Anywhere is in early beta, but users can already try it out by downloading the new Steam Link beta build 688 on their gaming PC. The company says that the only requirements for Steam Link Anywhere are a good upload connection for the host computer, and a good network connection for the device you’re playing on.

Right now, only Android, Raspberry Pi, and the discontinued Steam Link hardware work with Steam Link Anywhere, but it’s easy to imagine that Steam could add a similar feature for streaming from PC to PC like it already offers with the in-home Steam Link.

The timing of the announcement is also significant: Steam is planting a flag for game streaming just ahead of GDC 2019, where Google is widely expected to take the wraps off its new Project Stream-powered streaming gaming service at an event on March 19th. With Google expected to make a big push for game streaming — possibly even announcing its own gaming hardware for the first time — Steam’s announcement seems to be an indication that it’s not willing to cede the space without a fight.

Google isn’t the only competitor Steam has here, either: Microsoft just showed off new in-home game streaming from PC to Xbox consoles that looks a whole lot like the existing Steam Link functionality. And Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud game-streaming service looks poised to challenge both Steam and Google in the broader game-streaming space.

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