Steam Cloud Gaming could be Valve’s plan to challenge Google Stadia

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Valve could be working on its own game streaming service to rival the likes of Google Stadia, at least going by a reference spotted in some website code.

The reference to a ‘Steam Cloud Gaming’ service was highlighted on Twitter by Steam Database, which noted that it originated from a code update to a partner site.

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As PCGamesN, which spotted the above tweet, points out, details from GitHub show that a new line of code has been introduced to the Steam Games partner portal for a “function SignLatestCloudGamingAddendum( returnURL ).”

Presumably this is about those who sell their wares on Steam signing up and agreeing to the aforementioned addendum related to the cloud gaming service.

Of course, this is merely a single mention of a purported service, and therefore the amount of weight that can be placed on this discovery is pretty limited. We definitely shouldn’t get carried away, and it could refer to something entirely different other than a full-on game streaming service.

That said, everyone (and their aunt) seems to be concocting their own streaming offering (Google Stadia, Microsoft with Project xCloud, PlayStation Now, Nvidia has GeForce Now), so it’s kind of an obvious move. Particularly if the future of gaming is going to increasingly focus on streaming as the quality of internet connections ramp up…

Tough fight

If Valve does want to enter this arena, though, it’ll be a tough fight. Getting the streaming infrastructure in place for low latency gaming across long distances is a tricky puzzle to solve, with Google and Microsoft already having a huge network of data centers in place – a massive advantage over Valve. Not to mention the expertise needed to make the technical side of game streaming work satisfactorily.

Valve might need to hook up with a major cloud player: AWS obviously springs to mind, although jumping into a partnership with Amazon could make it difficult to keep the operation competitively priced compared to rival services.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves here, though, and this simple line of website code could, of course, amount to nothing. Still, it’s clearly a rumor worth keeping an eye on, and doubtless if Valve could manage to keep pricing competitive, there are a lot of PC gamers out there who would rather support Steam than Google.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).