Steam Cloud Play beta is “something of a pilot for cloud-based gaming”

New developer documentation for Steam Cloud Play offers ever-bigger hints that Valve's getting into the cloud

May 29, 2020 Valve has clarified some of its plans following the launch of the Steam Cloud Play beta.

Developers are starting to get access to Steam Cloud Play – a new feature Valve is working on that will directly integrate your Steam library into services like GeForce Now, allowing you to play the best PC games you already own wherever you want through the cloud. Documentation for the service also suggests that devs will eventually be able to take advantage of cloud servers “hosted by Valve” itself, though the company says anything beyond GeForce Now integration will be some time away.

“At this time, the Steam Cloud Play beta only supports Nvidia GeForce Now,” Valve’s Nathaniel Blue tells us in a statement. “Steam users in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific can download the Nvidia GeForce Now client and play supported games they own on Steam. On Wednesday, we updated our documentation and sent email to a small group of developers with details on how to opt into the program. We are working with Nvidia to make the experience as smooth as possible for players and developers.”

Blue adds that “we are always testing additional ways for customers to play the games in their Steam Library. To that end, this is something of a pilot for cloud-based gaming via Steam. Although we have no further announcements at this moment, we are open to adding additional Steam Cloud partners over time.”

The new documentation explains how developers can opt in to Steam Cloud Play, and choose to “enable your game to run streamed from the cloud, hosted by Valve,” as well as additional service providers – currently, that’s just Nvidia’s GeForce Now. GFN already supports games in your Steam library, and it appears that this integration is just going to make the process more convenient for both players and developers.

You can already remotely access your games by connecting to your own machine through Steam Remote Play, but a proper cloud service would put the burden of running the game on Valve’s servers. The language of the documentation suggests that Valve is seeking early clearance from developers to stream their games, but there’s little indication that a Valve-hosted cloud solution will launch any time soon.

According to the documentation, Valve has no plans to sell games differently for cloud gaming. Developers will still be paid through traditional sales, as “Steam Cloud Play is simply giving Steam users more options on where and how to play their PC games. It is similar to how players play games from their Steam Library through the Steam Remote Play or on an additional computer.”

This all comes up after a Steam update added more support for cloud gaming services. Steam’s partner pages received similar updates suggesting preparation for cloud gaming back in November of 2019.