Nvidia GameStream Co-Op pipes PC games to your far-flung friends
By Jared Newman
PCWorldAug 20, 2015 6:00 am PDT
If you’ve ever missed the days of couch co-op, Nvidia has come up with the next-best thing for the Internet age.
Not content to simply release its new GeForce GTX 950 graphics cards today, Nvidia is also announcing a new feature called GameStream Co-Op for its GeForce Experience PC software. This will allow GeForce users to stream PC games to other laptops and desktops over the Internet, including fairly low-powered machines that don’t have Nvidia graphics cards inside.
The guest PC can then watch the live stream, take over the main controls from the host, or commandeer a second controller for same-screen multiplayer games such as Trine, Portal 2, or Rocket League. No additional copy of the game is required, and guests can simply paste a link into the Chrome browser to join the session. Feel like shooting the breeze? GameStream Co-Op supports integrated voice chat capabilities.
Why this matters: Of course, streaming a game over the Internet isn’t going to be as reliable or lag-free compared to standard online multiplayer. But that’s not necessarily an option if you want to play with someone who doesn’t own a gaming PC or the necessary games. Think of GameStream Co-Op as the online equivalent of inviting someone to your house to play—only without actually having to entertain them with snacks and beverages.
The concept isn’t entirely new, as Sony offers a similar feature called Share Play for Playstation 4 owners. But in GameStream’s case, the guest doesn’t even need comparable hardware to participate. Just an Intel Core i3-2100, 4GB of RAM, and an 802.11 a/g router should be good enough to receive the stream. (Nvidia recommends an 802.11n 5GHz router or ethernet, along with 7 Mbps of downstream bandwidth.)
On the host side, the required specs are similar, except that Nvidia requires a GeForce GTX 650 or better graphics card (desktop-only for now, with notebook support coming later) and 7 Mbps of upstream bandwidth. Streaming should work with any game that runs in fullscreen mode with DirectX 9 or higher.
The upcoming GeForce Experience update will also add a new overlay for video capture and streaming (pictured at top), accessible by pressing Alt+Z. Through this menu, users can set up DVR-style recording of the last 20 minutes of play, manually record an entire play session, broadcast the session to Twitch, and initiate a GameStream Co-op session.
The GeForce Experience update is launching in beta sometime in September.