Rumours surrounding Steam getting more involved in cloud-based gaming have been proven to be correct, sort of, with Steam Cloud Play gradually becoming a thing for developers.
To backtrack a little, last week there were rumours that Steam could be up to something when it comes to cloud gaming, courtesy of data miner and all-round Steam rumour expert, Pavel Djundik. He found several references to a cloud gaming operation in the Steam beta client's code and deduced that Steam may be working on a more advanced form of cloud-based gaming than it already offers. See, Steam already has Steam Link, Steam Link Anywhere, and Steam Remote Play, but it doesn't have a service that doesn't require you to already be using your PC as a server.
Fast forward a week and we have more information. Valve has clarified exactly what its plans are. Steam Cloud Play, it seems, is a feature that will directly integrate your Steam library into services like GeForce Now, allowing you to play your Steam games from wherever you are. For now, such integration is restricted solely to GeForce Now but the suggestion via documentation is that eventually developers will be able to use cloud servers hosted by Valve itself.
In a statement (via PCGamesN), Valve's Nathaniel Blue explained, "at this time, the Steam Cloud Play beta only supports Nvidia GeForce Now...On Wednesday, we updated our documentation and sent email to a small group of developers with details on how to opt into the program. We are working with Nvidia to make the experience as smooth as possible for players and developers."
Blue suggested that other methods may come along in future explaining that "we are always testing additional ways for customers to play the games in their Steam Library. To that end, this is something of a pilot for cloud-based gaming via Steam. Although we have no further announcements at this moment, we are open to adding additional Steam Cloud partners over time."
For now, Steam Cloud Play offers a "limited amount of games" while new features and server capacity are introduced. Essentially, this is the foundations for making things easier in the future. Not all Steam games work with GeForce Now right now but it's made it much easier for the relevant developers to add the functionality so it should be simpler in future.
It's a big collaborative step and presumably Steam's way of showing support for the promising if flawed system. GeForce Now has already seen various developers like Xbox Game Studios, Codemasters and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment drop support. The assistance of Steam may help the concept seem more attractive to others.
As always, time will definitely tell on this one as we see how many developers opt into the process.
December 11 2020 | 17:30