Hey you go to my cloud
While the name “Steam Cloud Gaming” may seem evocative and obvious enough, the disclosure doesn’t necessarily mean Valve is following in the footsteps of Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s Project xCloud, Sony’s PlayStation Now, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. After all, Valve has been offering the eponymous “Steam Cloud” service since 2008 for maintaining save files across devices.
That said, Valve has been experimenting with game streaming since 2014, when it first introduced in-home streaming as a beta feature. In March, the company expanded that feature to include out-of-home streaming, essentially allowing users to set up their own cloud gaming service by using a home PC as a server. And in October, Valve announced a “Remote Play Together” feature that allows players to share streamed local multiplayer gameplay with up to three friends.
It would probably be trivial from a technical standpoint to extend those ideas into a truly centralized “cloud gaming” offering with Valve-driven servers. And Valve is already working with Level 3’s CDN to provide game downloads and multiplayer services, which could certainly help if it decided to offer low-latency game streaming to customers around the world.
With so many gamers already maintaining a huge library of Steam games, a Valve cloud gaming service would have an edge over Google Stadia’s a la carte game purchases, for example. And with major publishers predicting that cloud gaming could soon replace specialized gaming hardware, it’s hard to blame Valve for apparently wanting to get into the idea.