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May 21st 2014 4:57 pm

Steam In-Home Stream: Get your game on almost anywhere?

I've love the idea of cloud gaming -- basically streaming a game from another machine or server and being able to play it fairly seamlessly. Past services such as OnLive gave me a taste of this future, but failed to deliver a solid user experience.

We're starting to see more companies work on cloud gaming services, most notably PlayStation Now and Steam's In-Home Streaming service, which emerged from beta today. I'm pretty excited about the potential of this!

I've seen a few people in the Steam forums (and Engadget comments on the front page) question the utility of this sort of service. I don't blame anyone for asking this, but for me, it's huge:
  1. I have a PC that I specifically built for gaming a few years ago. However, it shares peripherals and desktop space with my Mac mini (which I usually have connected for work, writing, web development, and casual gaming).
  2. I have the world's crappiest KVM switch, so I don't even use it. Seriously, below are two discussions over the last few years that I've posted complaining about this sort of thing.
    a.) www.engadget.com­/discuss­/options­-for­-a­-modern­-kvm­-...
    b.) www.engadget.com­/question­/what­-s­-a­-good­-kvm­-switch...
  3. I also have my MacBook Pro for work, which I'll use around the house or hang out on the back patio in the evening -- though I don't usually like to install and play games on this, but having some sort of mobile streaming solution would be awesome.
So that's basically my use case. Fire up the beastly gaming rig, leave my monitor, keyboard, and speakers hooked up (or just grab my laptop) and do some gaming on the go!

Ideally, I'd love to see this sort of thing be made available for Android or iOS tablets. THAT would be awesome! It'd finally fulfill my dream of playing Civilization V on my iPad. (Of course there is the issue of connecting a mouse and keyboard up to and iPad, but hey...)

More info:

* www.engadget.com­/2014­/05­/21­/steam­-in­-home­-streamin...
* store.steampowered.com­/streaming/

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8 replies

If you have to be on the same network to play, how is this the ability to game anywhere? Unless they mean, game anywhere when you're at home. Which I guess is nice if you don't want to sit at your gaming rig and play but, then what is the point of having the gaming rig? I guess, if you had a Steambox then you could play your games from the gaming rig on your TV instead of having a PS4 or Xbox One.

I think this is 6 of one half a dozen of another. Now, if you could play your games on the go, from another city, that would be gaming anywhere and would be amazing.
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If you set up a VPN, couldn't you use it from anywhere? Though obviously most people don't have a internet speeds to support streaming like that.
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Probably, but VPN's aren't even remotely optimized for latency, no pun intended.
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This is what OnLive is for, streaming Steam games. It doesn't even have to be in your house, or on a computer.
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Awesome!! I'm trying this out as soon as I get home.
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So, I tried this yesterday (streaming from my Crazy Gaming PC™ to my Mac mini™) and just couldn't get it working. I tried with the following games:
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Civilization V
  • Fallout: New Vegas
I pretty much got nothing but black screens and errors that said "resolution not supported." The other issue is that my main monitor was hooked up to my Mac mini, so my gaming PC thinks there's nothing hooked up (this is probably what's throwing the resolution errors). Argh!

So, I need to trick my PC into thinking a screen is hooked up. Hrmmmm.
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Check out www.zoneos.com­/zonescreen.htm

Haven't tried it, but it has a driver that acts a dummy that makes Windows think there is a video card with a monitor plugged in.

Or make a dummy plug:


I tried out In-Home Stream and it worked really well. But unfortunately, at least with Skyrim, the game has to be running on the PC with a logged in user. So I can't play if my wife needs to use the PC.
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I guess the streaming technology it's using is just a highly optimized VNC server. Hmm. I'm curious to see how this continues to improve though. I'll have to try some of this display trickery this weekend!
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