My best friend, Jay, and I live 2 states away from each other. We’re always looking for ways that we can play games together. It’s great when a game has online multiplayer but if it doesn’t we either have to get creative or not play it. One thing we’ve been chasing after for a long time is a way to play single-player games together.
Our first solution to this problem was the SharePlay feature on the PS4. SharePlay is good for what it is but it’s not without issues. Most of the time it takes two or three attempts to connect to the host before the PS4 deems your internet connection worthy enough to connect to the host. Couple that with the hour limitation staying connected to the host you and longer games sessions turn into frustrating endeavors. Once your connected, it works pretty well. There isn’t a whole lot of lag, sometimes the video quality will get downgraded, but for the most part it works as intended. We’ve played games like shadows of Mordor and Alien: Isolation this way.
But I’ve always thought there must be a way to do this on PC. Not too long ago, Steam released a feature that lets you play local co-op games together. This has worked well for us when we’ve used it. There have been more than a few issues with lag and disconnects but again, like SharePlay, when it works it works.
For the longest time, Google searches came up with very little. Until I stumbled upon the Parsec website just the other day. Thanks to Belghast, I’ve heard of Parsec before but I was under the impression t it was just a way to stream games from a desktop primarily in your own home. I didn’t look too much into it because I didn’t have a need. But here I am staring at a web page that says “Connect to your games and friends anywhere.” I immediately told Jay we had to try this.
It was an easy install. Simply sign up, download the client, and share the link to your friend to have them connect. There’s an option to allow your friends to connect without your permission. I assume this is for when you’re streaming from one of your computers to another one of your computers. Maybe I just don’t trust my friends with unrestricted access!
I was hosting so I can’t speak directly to how well everything looks and feels on the client’s end. But Jay said he had very little to no latency and the video quality was excellent. On my end, everything worked well and the games we played didn’t appear to have performance issues while hosting.
We only had one disconnect which was easily fixed by changing the Bandwith limit from 10 Mbps to 50 Mbps. We were having an issue where Jay couldn’t use a controller on his end. Once I plugged in my PS4 controller his started working. We also encountered a sound issue where Jay could only hear the game music and not the in-game sound effects. I’ll have a post out tomorrow that touches on how we fixed this.
I have to say I’m blown away by how well Parsec works. It’s exactly the thing I’ve been looking for and it’s amazing how low the latency is. We were playing Dark Souls 3 and Jay didn’t feel like there was any. Plus it’s free! The only other thing I want to test out is how well it works when more people are added. We have a core gaming group of 4 people and I wonder how it would hold up if we wanted to play a single-player game together.