If you’ve exhausted all your board games, watched all of Netflix’s Tiger King, and have no clue what else to do to pass the time during quarantine, it might be time to boot up your gaming laptop or desktop PC and play some co-op games on Steam.
Steam is the most popular game client on PCs, and its newest feature, quietly released in November, is called Remote Play Together. It lets people play local multiplayer games over the internet. One player streams the game to another player’s screen, and the two are able to enjoy couch co-op games without being in the same home.
Only one copy of a game is required for two or more people to utilize this feature. This means that when it comes to just about any supported local multiplayer game, as long as you own it, your pal(s) can play it. And since the software is being streamed from your hardware, it doesn’t matter if your friends have a laptop, PC, or even a smartphone—they’ll be able to play the most graphically demanding games your computer can handle right alongside you.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to Remote Play Together, along with recommendations for a handful of great games that utilize the feature well.
How to Set Up Steam Remote Play
First, check out Valve’s recommended system specs. It advises “a minimum of a quad-core CPU for the computer running the game.” The client PC “should have a GPU that supports hardware accelerated H.264 decoding.”
Most modern machines meet those requirements. More importantly, the person hosting the game should ideally rely on a wired Ethernet connection, but you might have a good enough experience if you have a strong Wi-Fi network.
The next steps are fairly easy:
Make sure you and your friend both have up-to-date Steam clients. Having the same version number is essential. You can tap on Steam in the top bar and click Check for Steam Client Updates to make sure you’re on the latest version.
Boot up the local multiplayer game you want to play. You can filter your game library (or the Steam store page) to show you games that support Remote Play Together.
Once the game has booted, open your in-game Steam overlay (Shift + Tab), click on your friend’s name, and you’ll see an option to invite them to Remote Play Together. Select that and you’re done!
Remote Play Together is a new feature, so you might encounter a few issues or bugs. Here are a few common troubleshooting solutions to basic problems.