When we started the year, we’re not sure anyone outside of Valve realized just how many quality updates would be hitting the Steam client throughout the year. Part of the sudden insurgence of new features could be due to the intense competition that’s come out of the woodwork – but whatever the reason, gamers are the ones who are ultimately benefiting.
In September, Valve released a store discovery overhaul that (at least for us) made a big difference in the relevancy of titles shown. Such features are sometimes found ahead of their release in Steam Labs, although some others come out of nowhere, like the recently released beta for enabling remote local multiplayer. Next up? It appears that the cloud could get involved in a big way.
As seen in the tweet above, Steam-tracker Steam Database has revealed that the latest Steam beta release includes references to cloud gaming, and the kicker is that it won’t be just a single provider. One of the other services mentioned? NVIDIA GeForce NOW. Things are starting to get really interesting here.
Valve certainly has the capability to launch its own game-streaming service, and it may very well go that route in the future. Or, it might end up relying entirely on third-party services, something we’re not too confident in, only because Valve would definitely like to have as much control over services within Steam in the event something goes wrong. It could be that Valve will offer its own cloud streaming service, but also support some others to cater to a greater audience.
The fact that NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW is mentioned is truly interesting because of how that service currently operates with Steam. If you are a member of GF NOW (which will cost a subscription fee once out of beta), you can play your Steam games via streaming, without a PC. That means if you have a SHIELD TV only, but own a game on Steam, you could slide NVIDIA some cash and use its hardware in the cloud to stream your game right to your TV.
A solution like that won’t be ideal for everyone, but it would certainly open up a great possibility for those who want to go that route. Don’t have a TV? You can use your Windows or macOS computer instead, even if its hardware is sub par. All it would need to do is stream reliably. Add to this the fact that EA recently said it’d be bringing Origin-based games over to Valve’s platform – Steam is starting to look better than ever.