7 types of games that benefit from remote play services
We’re all spending some quality time at home these days, and that means we have a lot more time to play video games. But contrary to popular belief, video gaming isn’t actually an isolated activity. There are many games that are built around being social, around inviting a couple friends over to sit on your couch, pick up a controller, and just have a good time. Of course, these days couch co-op might be a life endangering activity, so that’s where remote play services come in.
Remote play services, like Parsec or Steam’s built in Local Remote Play, essentially use the same game streaming technology that services like Google Stadia use, but on a much smaller scale. One player runs the game locally on their system as usual. That player then streams a video feed to any number of other players, who stream a series of inputs back to the original hosting player. With a good computer and decently fast and stable internet connection, services like this really do allow you to play couch co-op games with low latency online play.
What should you play? Well… anything really! Any game that you could play on the couch with a buddy can be played online via a remote play service. Then again, plenty of games have their own built in online services, many of which simply perform better than streaming a whole video feed to other players.
We put together a short list of games that genuinely benefit from remote play services. If you are looking for something new to play on your next game night, try some of these.
This was actually what got me, personally, to start using remote play services. There are lots of multiplayer RPGs out there that have only ever been local. Bandai Namco’s Tales franchise prominently comes to mind, but you can find examples all over the RPG world, especially when it comes to action RPGs and JRPGs. Heck, some RPG classics, like Final Fantasy VI have multiplayer capabilities, and you probably didn’t even know it. I’m happy to announce that I am now on hour 70 of a four player weekly Tales of Berseria campaign played over Steam Local Remote play, and while we have to spend five minutes at the top of each session making our controllers work, that’s more on Bandai Namco than Steam. Pick a multiplayer RPG, get a group together, and you’ll have hundreds of hours of entertainment on your hands.
Puzzle games are a perfect candidate for remote play services because they aren’t super graphically complex. Remote play tech is still young, which makes it prone to errors. Fortunately, there’s only so much an error can cost you in Tetris or Puyo Puyo or Panel de Pon. Once again, puzzle games are one of the few genres of game that reliably has multiplayer but doesn’t reliably have integrated online multiplayer, making remote play a pretty good stand-in.
There are two types of party games. The first is the goofy action game, like Overcooked or Moving out or arguably some fighting games like Gang Beasts. These will frequently have local multiplayer but no online multiplayer, which once again relies on remote play services to fix the problem.
The second type is the trivia game, like the Jackbox Party Packs. These don’t technically need remote play services to function. Frankly, you could stream them across Twitch and play them just fine. However, streaming services like Twitch bake in a delay to the stream, which requires you to turn on massively long timers and makes every game run slower than usual. Remote play services stream with as low latency as possible, allowing you to play Jackbox games as if you were there in real life.
Let’s talk about budgets. Creating a local multiplayer mode doesn’t cost that much, or at least it doesn’t cost nearly as much as coding an entire online suite for your game. This is why a lot of indie games only have local multiplayer and not online multiplayer. Of course, remote play services take any game with local multiplayer and turn it into an online game. This is great because the indiesphere is home to some great game genres that just don’t get love in AAA developing. There are tons of great Beat Em Ups, Shoot Em Ups, Run N Guns, and more, just waiting to be played with friends over the internet. Heck, you could spend hours of your life just trying to 100% Cuphead.
Online gaming Is relatively new for consoles. In fact, we only seriously started online gaming last generation on the PS3 and Xbox 360. That means there are tons of multiplayer games out there from generations past that never got the online treatment… until now!
Have an emulator? Then you have a way to play some of the greatest games of the past with friends online. Want to unleash a Colossus yell on X-Men: The Arcade Game? You can do that. Feel like taking on a three-player campaign of Secret of Mana? You can do that too! Hell, you can play Pong over the internet for all we care. The entire world of retro games is at your fingertips, and you can share it with all your online friends using Parsec or any other remote play service.
Wanna hear something depressing? Both Steam local remote play and Parsec are sometimes better than the built in netcode for certain fighting games. Without the fan-made netcode patch, I have definitely gotten better performance in Street Fighter V via remote play services. To be honest, I’ve gotten better performance on most delay based netcode fighting games. This is exactly why EVO had to scale back their main games to exhibition status, and replace them with four new games known for their rollback netcode.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the best way to play fighting games online. In fact, there are ways to inject GGPO into your favorite fighting game that are better than simply loading up a remote play service. However, this is the easiest way to get a slight boost in performance online. Not to mention only one person has to own a fighting game via remote play service, so it’s a great way to let your friends try out new games as well.
Single Player Games
What? Why would you ever load up a single-player game in a remote play service?
Two words: hot seating.
Have you ever invited a friend over to play a single-player game together? Maybe you both wanted to play an RPG together so you can riff on the storyline. Maybe you could only afford one copy of God of War so you both played it at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I love sharing single-player experiences with a group of my friends. It’s just more fun that way.
Well remote play services let you do that. Not only can all your friends watch you play, you can connect multiple controllers to a single controller “slot.” This effectively means you can swap control whenever you want. It also means you can troll your friends by wresting control from them at the worst possible time but… don’t do that.
Just plain old watching stuff together
This article gave you seven types of games that are improved by remote play services, but there’s something else you can do with remote play services that isn’t necessarily gaming, but is improved nonetheless: watching stuff.
Many people are having Netflix or Crunchyroll watch parties these days. However, the bane of the watch party’s existence is desynching. Ideally you want every person to be watching the same video feed at the same time.
Well remember, remote play services strive to make each player experience the same video feed simultaneously. It’s the only way remote play gaming could work. So you could use one of these services with, say, a Netflix window and be assured that all of you will be watching the same thing at the same time. It also allows everyone to control the player, allowing someone to pause the video if they have to go to the bathroom.
So remember, just because we are all stuck at home for now, doesn’t mean that we can’t be stuck at home together. It’s the age of the internet and there’s no better time to substitute an internet connection for a couch.