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Whenever a major new feature comes to popular PC gaming service Steam, a beta test is done with existing users. Steam In-Home Streaming, a feature that allows users to broadcast their games from one computer in their home to another, is no exception. Now, Valve is ready to take the feature to the big leagues, opening it up to all users of the service, not just those who were granted access to the limited beta.
Steam is the not first service to offer streaming of games throughout a user’s home, but what makes it significant is that it has such a massive install base compared to other PC game platforms, and that means far more users will have the potential to take advantage of it than most other similar offerings. This means, for example, a user could be running an old MacBook that could never handle games, but he or she could now stream games from their high-end gaming PC over a local network. Now, that Mac that never thought it would sniff at a modern video game can play it.
When a user connects two devices running Steam on the same network, it will automatically detect the other machine, and thus allow the games to be streamed. A notification will pop up on the bottom of the screen letting the user know that another computer is connected, so for the gamers, the process should be rather painless to get up and running.
Steam in-home streaming is all the way live for all users. Time for some Dark Souls 2 on your MacBook Air! http://t.co/FEaPRWkikW
— Joystiq (@joystiq) May 21, 2014
Of course, anytime you are streaming games, latency could be an issue. I tested it using my gaming PC and 2011 MacBook Pro, and I found that the delay was not noticeable, and had no effect on my ability to play most games. In games where lighting reflexes are required it could be an issue, but for your average game, as long the machine doing the streaming and your network are solid, it’s a pretty cool way to play games when you’re not near your gaming PC.