Valve has today pushed out a new update to its Steam client on all three of the major OSes that finally takes in-home game-streaming out of beta. Similar to NVIDIA's GameStream, which streams native gameplay from a GeForce-equipped PC to the NVIDIA SHIELD, Valve's solution lets you stream from one PC to another, regardless of which OS it's running.
What this means, is, you could have a SteamOS-based PC in your living-room, which is of course Linux-based, and stream games from your Windows PC in another room which ordinarily would never run under Linux. Likewise, you could stream a game from an OS X PC to a Windows one. We're talking complete interoperability here.
While the feature was in beta, I gave it a good test and was left impressed overall. It struck me as somewhat amazing that I was streaming a game from my main Linux PC over to my Windows one, and vice versa. Simply put, this kind of functionality is long overdue, and it's seriously awesome.
The way it works is that Steam will encode gameplay on-the-fly and transfer it over to the target PC. Because video is involved, what you see won't look like native graphics, but rather video. The quality is still very good, but you'll definitely know it's a video, unless you sit back far enough from the display.
Like with NVIDIA's GameStream, the PC that's doing the actual rendering will be unusable while the in-home streaming is in use. Once a game is chosen on the target PC, the game gets loaded on the source one, overtaking its screen. Both could be controlled completely independently, though that kind of goes against what the technology is all about.
Overall, an excellent feature, and one could help with SteamOS adoption quite a bit.
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This would be pretty cool for big screen gaming with a super quiet, low power HTPC streaming from your main rig. Something like a Zotac ZBox on the streaming side to a TV, then connected over the network to your gaming rig would be pretty cool. Will have to check this out.
I have been using it for a little while now and it works great! Linux front end and as many native games as possible, WINE, and ... as a last resort, streaming from Windows. Quite the combination, although I'd prefer 100% Linux native!
I'm going to try it out tomorrow! I've seen videos, the performance is very impressive.
Sounds cool and all but id like to be able to share my games with my kids and everyone be able to play something at the same time
I recall the LAS guys doing a review a while back: http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/50352/steam-streaming-showcased-las-s30e07/