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Steam Play thoughts: A Valve game streaming service

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With the talk of some big players moving into cloud gaming, along with a number of people thinking Valve will also be doing it, here’s a few thoughts from me.

Firstly, for those that didn’t know already, Google are testing the waters with their own cloud gaming service called Project Stream. For this, they teamed up with Ubisoft to offer Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the service. I actually had numerous emails about this, from a bunch of Linux gamers who managed to try it out and apparently it worked quite well on Linux.

EA are pushing pretty heavily with this too with what they’re calling Project Atlas, as their Chief Technology Officer talked about in a Medium post on how they’ve got one thousand EA employees now working on it. That sounds incredibly serious to me!

There’s more cloud services offering hardware for a subscription all the time, although a lot of them are quite expensive and use Windows.

So this does beg the question: What is Valve going to do? Cloud gaming services, that will allow people with lower-end devices to play a bunch of AAA games relatively easily could end up cutting into Valve’s wallet.

Enter Valve’s Cloud Gaming Service

Pure speculation of course, but with the amount of big players now moving into the market, I’m sure Valve will be researching it themselves. Perhaps this is what Steam Play is actually progressing towards? With Steam Play, Valve will be able to give users access to a large library of games running on Linux where they don’t have to pay extra fees for any sort of Windows licensing fee from Microsoft and obviously being Linux it would allow them to heavily customise it to their liking.

On top of that, what about the improvements this could further bring for native desktop Linux gaming? Stop and think about it for a moment, how can Valve tell developers they will get the best experience on this cloud gaming platform? Have a native Linux version they support with updates and fixes. Valve are already suggesting developers to use Vulkan, it’s not such a stretch I think.

Think about how many games, even single-player games are connected to the net now in some way with various features. Looking to the future, having it so your games can be accessed from any device with the content stored in the cloud somewhere does seem like the way things are heading. As much as some (including me) aren’t sold on the idea, clearly this is where a lot of major players are heading and Valve won’t want to be left behind.

For Valve, it might not even need to be a subscription service, since they already host the data for the developers. Perhaps, you buy a game and get access to both a desktop and cloud copy? That would be a very interesting and tempting idea. Might not be feasible of course, since the upkeep on the cloud machines might require a subscription if Valve wanted to keep healthy profits, but it’s another way they could possibly trump the already heavy competition.

Think the whole idea is incredibly farfetched? Fair enough, I do a little too. However, they might already have a good amount of the legwork done on this, thanks to their efforts with the Steam Link. Did anyone think a year or two ago you would be able to stream Steam games to your phone and tablet?

Valve also offer movies, TV series and more on Steam so they have quite a lot to offer.

It might not happen at all of course, these are just some basic thoughts of mine on what Valve’s moves might be in future. It's likely not going to happen for VR titles, since they need so much power and any upset with latency could make people quite sick. Highly competitive games would also be difficult, but as always once it gets going the technology behind it will constantly improve like everything. There’s got to be some sort of end game for all their Linux gaming work and not just to help us, they are a business and they will keep moving along with all the other major players.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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slaapliedje 3 Nov, 2018
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All I want is a Steam Link app on my Nintendo Switch and I would be set for Life.
elmapul 3 Nov, 2018
Quoting: stretch611This is not true at all. In fact I would argue there are only 3 markets for high-end processors... gamers, developers, and servers; and not necessarily in that order.

i watched an entire conference about it, i'm just quoting what was said.
servers are an different beast.

Quoting: stretch611"yet they serve web pages to mostly (over 80%) windows clients. "

that is the issue, dont matter what the audience will be using, they can use wetever they want on their servers.

". Phones do not have the processor, RAM, or storage capacity of your computer..."
neither did the gameboy and yet it had fun games, contraty to android that aside from ports all it have is crap pay to win "games".

having an weak hardware is not an excuse for crap games.

Quoting: stretch611. The biggest distinction between Android and a computer is the input method.
that is literally my area of study, you dont need to teach me this.
i was just quoting how many disapointments i had in the past.

Quoting: stretch611I am not sure what the exact status is because I do not have a chromebook.
eat your own food, stop promoting something before you try it yourself.

EposVox did an video about this issue, its called "Why I WON'T switch to Linux for video production.. ever?"

as for me, i didnt tried chromebooks (i need an new computer and barely can afford it, much less risk an chromebook, i need an destkop powerfull) but i saw videos about then, reviewing what they are capable of, so at least i'm a bit informed.

Quoting: stretch611If HTML5 is going to take off as a gaming platform, it will only be with the success of cloud gaming...
flash was sandboxed but was an security nightmare since adobe didnt planned ahead and didnt made any money on the player, only on the authoring tool.
html5 is much better in that regard, contraty to flash the bytecode isnt tied to x86, and we have a lot of companies making "players" (browsers) so even if the security is not perfect, at least we have competition on the providers instead of an monopoly and monoculture.
the same goes for the authoring tools.

as for performance, epic showed what html5 is capable of with some unreal demos, but the issue is , no one adopted it.
its quite capable, but there is no good reason for it, if you want impress the user, an native game will do an better job on a weaker hardware.
and if you dont, well, we should expect at least games as good as in the flash era in theory, but in pratice all i found is a bunch of crap, maybe i'm looking at the wrong place, but in that case, were should i look?
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