Valve has announced a new beta feature for its Steam Link tech, providing streamed access to your Steam account from wherever you are in the world. But there are caveats, mainly that you’re going to need a hell of an upload speed from your home connection to be in with a chance of a gaming experience that doesn’t make you want to stab out your eyeballs in frustration.
The new Steam Link Anywhere feature is going into early beta from now, free of charge, and all Steam users have access to it either via the Steam Link hardware or the Steam Link app. The Steam Link device itself will be automatically rolled out for the Valve streaming hardware with the latest beta firmware, and the Android beta and Raspberry Pi Steam Link apps will also get an update.
You will need to switch to the latest Steam client beta on your PC to enable the remote gaming access Valve is promising, but then you can connect to ‘Other Computer’ from Steam Link (in whatever form you’re using it) from wherever you are in the world.
If all this free remote game streaming access sounds like it’s too good to be true then you might be right. The key part of Valve’s latest Steam Link Anywhere announcement is the note at the end which states:
“A high upload speed from your computer and strong network connection to your Steam Link device are required to use Steam Link Anywhere.”
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It doesn’t say what the minimum upload speed might be for the new Steamy streamy feature, and to be honest that might be something that gets nailed down throughout the course of this early beta phase, but it could well be a sticking point for the remote tech. Speaking for us Brexit-bound UK folk, there aren’t many of us lucky enough to have particularly high upload speeds on our internet connections. Sure, we can have hundreds of megabits of download, but upload speed is a completely different matter.
So, while the promise of accessing your Steam machine on the road, from the comfort of your phone screen (?), might seem tempting, you might well struggle to get a decent gaming experience. I mean you could also drag your Steam Link hardware around to jam into the odd hotel TV screen if you need your fix, but that’s not exactly the simplest solution.
For me, the restriction to the Steam Link apps and the Steam Link device is also a bit of a pain in the neck. Being able to access your Steam gaming rig from a low-spec laptop would be a great extra streaming feature… though admittedly there are hacks you can do to get Steam In-Home Streaming working across the internet.
But again, you will still need a hell of an upload speed to make good with the gaming funs.