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We have Google Stadia (soon), PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Streaming, EA's Project Atlas is coming and more but what about Valve with Steam? Well, sounds like Steam Cloud Gaming is coming.

For those who don't remember or perhaps aren't regular readers, I actually wrote an article back in November 2018 describing how I thought Valve would launch such a service. Well, there's more pointing towards me being right in some way about that.

SteamDB put out a Twitter post today, showing off a code update to the partner site, with new terms developers need to sign which talks about Steam Cloud Gaming.

Everything Valve has been doing over the last few years would add up quite nicely to this. Valve worked on the Steam Link hardware to stream around the home, moving onto the Steam Link application to expand it further to mobile devices, In-Home Streaming was re-branded to Remote Play and started allowing you to stream from your PC to any other outside the home and just recently, Remote Play Together to let you host a local co-op/multiplayer game for others across the world to join in as if they were sat next to you.

The next logical step? Certainly seems like a full streaming service would fit in with where they're going with all this. Now we think about Steam Play Proton, Valve's attempt to get Windows-only games to work and perform well on Linux. If Steam Cloud Gaming turns out to be something you stream from Valve, it's safe to assume it would be from Linux-powered servers so Steam Play would fit in there.

With all these new streaming services coming, Valve did need to do something extra to stay competitive if this is where gaming is going. Like it or not, they're already here and a lot of people already use them. The more that do, the less likely people are to get games from Steam.

This is all speculation though of course, nothing is yet confirmed. For all we know, whatever this Steam Cloud Gaming bit is that developers need to sign could just be the umbrella branding for all of Valve's current and future streaming stuff and not necessarily a brand new thing.

What are you thoughts? What exactly will Steam Cloud Gaming be? Let us know in the comments.

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rustybroomhandle 6 years 6 Nov, 2019
Valve's entire Linux strategy so far has been a "hedging strategy" as they have referred to it themselves. The idea is that Linux will save them from whatever Microsoft does to undermine/damage/destroy "PC gaming" as it is. And it might. Linux is flexible. Their catalogue can exist on a new Steam Machine, or in the cloud, without publishers needing to do much.

Microsoft has said that it wants to focus on services and devices. Likely to eat into the Google/Chromebook market. The likely result here is that they will be shipping low powered cheap devices just like the Chromebook, but running a basic Windows that's mainly for running these services. Of course, gaming is a non-thing on those. Enter cloud gaming.

Valve's counter to this is to make sure than in a world where Microsoft has a lot of influence over hardware sales, they can still exist in a market where millions of people just have these low powered machines.

Microsoft have been trying to undermine PC gaming for a long time now in various ways, largely because they cannot tax people to run software on Windows. I think the long term goal is to go fully walled garden. The wall in this case is shifting from being Windows, to Microsoft services that can exist on other platforms. (see Edge news for this)
MayeulC 6 Nov, 2019
DedaleThey could technically restrict their Linux effort to said servers to avoid desktop Linux support costs

Yeah, this is the only worrying direction it could take for me. But I expect the potential gains to be quite negligible. Maybe we'll see EAC only run on their servers?

Does that have something to do with "soon(tm)"?

Last edited by MayeulC on 6 November 2019 at 1:36 pm UTC
Mohandevir 6 Nov, 2019
If that's true, we might have just got our answer about "The future of SteamOS". This said, I hope that it will push more developpers to think twice before accepting Epic's exclusivity deals. With a streaming service, you may reach a much larger audience and the infrastructure required to run such a service will lay to rest the 30% cut arguments.

Just a guess, but it might be a part of the reasons why EA decided to come back to Steam...
Zelox 6 Nov, 2019
A streaming service that got me excited for once .
Would be a bummer if its just cross-platform saves for games on steam.

Last edited by Zelox on 6 November 2019 at 2:43 pm UTC
Ardje 6 Nov, 2019
It could be the same like steamos and steammachines: Valve delivers the pieces, it's up to cloud providers to deliver the service.
Mohandevir 6 Nov, 2019
ArdjeIt could be the same like steamos and steammachines: Valve delivers the pieces, it's up to cloud providers to deliver the service.

Not sure about this one considering that Steam Machines failed and this quote frome Gabe Newell:

"We've always been a little bit jealous of companies like Nintendo, When Miyamoto is sitting down and thinking about the next version of Zelda or Mario, he's thinking what is the controller going to look like, what sort of graphics and other capabilities. He can introduce new capabilities like motion input because he controls both of those things. And he can make the hardware look as good as possible because he's designing the software at the same time that's really going to take advantage of it. So that is something we've been jealous of, and that's something that you'll see us taking advantage of subsequently."

If that's true, Valve will want to control every part of the infrastructure.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 6 November 2019 at 2:58 pm UTC
Shmerl 6 Nov, 2019
Interesting. So it can be another incentive (in addition to Stadia) to make Linux releases for developers. The major difference from Stadia is, that if they make it for Steam cloud, it likely will be a normal Linux version that Steam can release for everyone in the store as well.

The only concern could be the fact that if Steam Cloud will rely on Proton as a fallback, legacy publishers won't have a strong incentive to make a proper Linux port like in case of Stadia which requires Linux strictly.

Last edited by Shmerl on 6 November 2019 at 3:21 pm UTC
Swiftpaw 6 Nov, 2019
Lol, it's never going to be where my gaming goes. Capitalism fighting to own your games so you have to pay a toll every time you want to play them. Capitalism can fuck right off.
Power-Metal-Games 6 Nov, 2019
I really don't want the gaming to follow this way. That will mean end of a lot of things. If this ever becomes popular, first, evolution of graphic cards will stop because there will be no profit of them. Possibly the same thing with CPUs. Second, that will be the end of indie games too.
eldaking 6 Nov, 2019
If it doesn't interfere with the traditional model - and I can't imagine Valve would risk that - I'm not against it. Might even perhaps use it one day, for the rare exceptional game, if my internet ever becomes good enough.

The ideal would be for them to just provide a server and you install your game there and everything is the same as if you were running the game itself - even install folders, mods, etc.

But even in that best of cases, I'm a bit afraid of games coming to rely on that kind of thing. Games should be made with PC specs in mind. Preferrably cheap PC specs. I already find it outrageous the kind of system requirements new games require.
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