One of the coolest things about RetroArch is its simple implementation of netplay across a variety of emulators – at least, in theory. When it works, it’s great, but it can be pretty fiddly to get to that point. Luckily, the devs have put out an array of fixes and improvements in its latest update, and there are more on the way.
“Netplay has received plenty of improvements thanks to the efforts of Cthulhu,” the devs explain in the 1.9.14 update notes. “We have a lot more prepared for the next version, so consider this a prelude to the main event.” The current round of improvements include a variety of quality of life improvements and stability fixes, but “for the next version, we will finally address the relay MITM server issues”.
RetroArch’s MITM (man in the middle) server is intended to make connecting to other players more convenient, as it routes netplay traffic through a central relay. That prevents you from having to set up port forwarding or a VPN to connect with friends, but even the relay server has proven a bit fiddly in the past, so it’s good to see improvements on the way.
RetroArch is also continuing to get more Steam cores, with 26 now in place. The Steam version of the frontend remains more limited than its standalone counterpart – Valve won’t allow the devs to distribute cores in the app itself, so they have to be approved as free Steam store DLC instead – but it should prove a convenient way to get a bunch of emulators on your Steam Deck once that device finally launches.
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