A new partner site code update spotted by Steam Database could point out to a 'Steam Cloud Gaming' service in the works at Valve.
If you head to this Github page, you'll notice the following new strings in the code: 'You must agree to the terms in the Steam Cloud Gaming Addendum before continuing' and 'Thank you for signing the latest Steam Cloud Gaming Addendum. Click OK to continue.'
This wouldn't be much of a surprise, given the significant industry-wide push towards cloud gaming. Google Stadia will debut later this month in fourteen countries; Microsoft's Project xCloud Public Preview launched a few weeks ago; Sony is doubling down on PlayStation NOW and even Electronic Arts recently began testing Project Atlas.
Steam already offers the Steam Link app that allows you to stream PC games to phones, tablets, and TV free of charge. However, that requires a gaming PC working as a host, while this Steam Cloud Gaming service would likely cut such a requirement in favor of a cloud-only experience. Still, it is possible much of the underlying Steam Link technology could be used for Steam Cloud Gaming, too.
For now, anyway, this remains a rumor. We'll keep you updated should there be any official news on the topic.
HOW DOES STEAM LINK WORK?
Simply download the app and connect to your host computer running Steam to expand the range of your Steam gaming experience.
1. Install the app
Download the app on your phone, tablet, or TV for free from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
2. Pair your controller
The Steam Link app is compatible with a number of popular controllers, including the Steam Controller.
3. Connect to computer
Connect to a computer running Steam. For best performance, connect over 5GHz WiFi or wired ethernet.
What technology is the Steam Link app using to stream games to phones?
It's using the same Steam Remote Play technology used in the Steam Link hardware. Under the hood we're doing real-time encoding of H.264 video and sending it over a custom low-latency network protocol, then displaying it on the client.
Which devices can use it?
On Android, we are releasing in beta so we can do more exhaustive testing. At the start of the beta, we are supporting Android 5.0 or newer. On Apple hardware we support any iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.0 or later and Apple TV running tvOS 11.0 or later.
Can I adjust my settings for better performance quality?
Yes. There is an advanced settings menu option that allows you to tune streaming resolution and bitrate for the best experience on your setup. Over a 5 GHz network, our target is 1080p at 60 FPS with good quality for most scenes. If you have a powerful gaming rig, wired network, and a very good client device, it's possible to stream at 4K 60 FPS.
What about aspect ratio differences and screen sizes?
Black bars on the edges are automatically added to deal with aspect ratio differences, and the video is scaled to handle different screen sizes. On mobile devices you can use two-finger pinch and pan gestures to zoom in as needed.