Playing games online is fun, but sometimes a game will only offer a local multiplayer option. Thankfully, there are ways to play local multiplayer games online with friends, for those times where it’s physically impossible to meet up.
Let’s explore the ways that PC, PS4, and Switch players can connect to one another (no Xbox functionality yet — sorry!).
For PC Gaming: Steam Remote Play and Parsec
PC gamers have two great options available to them — Steam Remote Play and Parsec.
Steam Remote Play
If you buy your games on Steam, you already have the tools available. Steam has a Remote Play option that allows you to play compatible games with friends over the Internet. Just launch the game, right-click your friend on your friend list, then click the option for remote play.
To double-check if a game is compatible with Steam Remote Play, go to its Store page and look at the specifications on the right. If you see “Steam Remote Play,” you’re good to go. Always keep an eye out for this specification before you buy to avoid disappointment.
If you’re not a fan of Steam, you can use Parsec instead. Parsec’s primary goal is to allow screen-sharing between two computers with low latency and high framerates. This includes the ability to stream a local multiplayer game and have friends hop in to play their part.
For PS4: Share Play
Did you know the PS4 can let you play local multiplayer games no matter where the other friend is? All they need is a PS4 to play with you; they don’t even need a copy of the game.
This is possible through the PS4’s powerful Share Play feature. It’s powerful because it fits an impressive range of uses. You can invite your friend to your Share Play session and have them play along with you using their own controller as player 2.
Share Play doesn’t stop there, however. If you’re playing a single-player game, you can still invite friends to watch you while you play. Once you’re done playing, you can “hand the controller” over to your friend. Your friend can then remotely control your game from their end.
If both you and your friend have fast Internet connections, the input delay feels very minimal. This makes Share Play a great way to let a friend try a game for themselves or beat that boss you’re stuck on.
For Nintendo Switch: NES/Super NES Online
Unfortunately, at the time of writing the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a native way of sharing every local multiplayer game online. It does, however, have a small exception to this rule: the NES and Super NES (SNES) online collection.
When you subscribe to Nintendo’s online service, you get access to a free collection of NES and SNES games to play. If a game supports two players, you can invite an online friend to play it with you.
It also supports single-player games with a “pass the controller” system. If you find some of the older NES and SNES games too hard to beat on your own, try bringing along a friend and alternate turns to beat it.
Games Are More Fun Together
Local co-op games are great, but distance between friends can put a damper on the fun. Fortunately, by using the tools we listed above, you can play local multiplayer games online with friends, no matter how far away you are. If you happen to own a Chromebook, it can also be used as a gaming station. Check out games you can play on a Chromebook.