We’re seeing more and more options to stream games, in addition to music and movies. You may also stream games from one room to another, so you’re not limited to playing titles stored in the cloud.
If you have a gaming PC setup in your bedroom, you may leverage the power and library of games on it to play on other PCs and set-top boxes, such as the big TV in the living room.
There are several platforms available to assist you with this, but these are our favorites so you can pick the ideal one for your hardware and software configuration.
Link to Steam
Steam Link is a free add-on that enhances the Steam platform and allows you to share your gaming experience across multiple devices in your home. You can even use Steam Link from afar via the internet, though there may be some lag depending on your connection speed.
Install Steam Link on any Android, iOS, Windows, or macOS device you want to game with, and Steam will manage your gaming library on your main PC. No matter what platform you’re using, the installation process is comparable, and connecting is as simple as registering into your Steam account.
However, before the action begins, the Steam Link app will verify two things: a robust Wi-Fi connection and that you’ve connected your secondary device to a gaming controller. Most controllers (including the latest PS5 and Xbox Series X/S accessories) are compatible with a wide range of PCs and mobile devices, and they can be readily connected through Bluetooth. After that, the program will scan your network for Steam-enabled PCs.
You’ll be given a PIN via Steam Link, and connecting your PC to your secondary device is as easy as inputting that number on your primary gaming machine. Then you’ll be ready to go, and you’ll be able to browse games, start them, and control them using Steam Link.
Keep in mind that the game will launch and play on-screen on the main computer where Steam is installed—you’re merely mirroring that to your secondary device.
Another wonderful alternative is GameStream by Nvidia, but you’ll need a Windows PC with a modern GeForce GTX or GeForce RTX graphics card and an Nvidia Shield TV streaming box to use it.
Open the Nvidia GeForce Experience software on your PC, go to the Settings panel (through the cog symbol in the top right corner), and pick Shield. Check that the GameStream toggle switch is turned on. Open the Nvidia Games app on the Shield TV, then select My library and GameStream to identify and pair with the gaming PC on your network. You’ll also need to connect a game controller for the greatest results. To do so, go to the Shield TV home screen and select Settings, then Remotes & Accessories, and Add Accessory.
When the Shield TV and your gaming machine are connected, GameStream will appear as an option in the Steam menu. You may also add games using the Shield panel of Settings in the GeForce Experience app on your PC, but if it isn’t running through Steam, you may encounter some issues.
Moonlight can be used to use GameStream with a device other than the Nvidia Shield TV, such as a laptop. This open-source GameStream client is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and more platforms. When the app first runs, it will search your local network for compatible PCs and display a PIN code that you must enter on your main computer to complete the connection.
Other programs can take the games you’re playing on one computer and broadcast them to a different device for you.
Install Remotr on your primary Windows gaming PC to broadcast games to Android and iOS devices, as well as other Windows machines (macOS support is coming soon). It’s free to use, but you’ll need to sign up with an email address to get started.
Remote to be installed on both your PC and your other device. When you launch the app on your mobile device, it should instantly discover the gaming machine via your local Wi-Fi network. To have a more traditional experience, you can connect a controller, but unlike other services, you won’t need one—Remotr will set you up with on-screen touch controllers on your mobile device.
Then there’s Rainway, which, surprise, surprise, functions similarly to the other platforms we’ve discussed. The software, as well as the related companion app for your other PCs and mobile devices, must be installed on the PC where your games are stored. It will even operate in a web browser in this situation. Rainway, like Remotr, is completely free to use, and all you have to do is register with your email address.
You’ll see a code to enter on your main PC if you open the Rainway app on the device you’re connected from. This offers you access to all of your games while also allowing you to customize the stream quality and window behavior (whether or not you want to play in full-screen mode). You’re essentially mirroring the screen of the main computer to your secondary device over Wi-Fi, exactly like with the other tools.
David Nield is a UK-based tech writer who has been covering gadgets and apps long before the iPhone and Twitter were launched.