June 14, 2024


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How Parsec Brings The Home Multiplayer Experience Online

Parsec’s particular brand of network play finds ways to emulate the feeling of playing local multiplayer to an online space for players to experience.

Parsec‘s method of enabling online play has found ways to connect players beyond simply playing their favorite video games online. Created in 2016, Parsec is a software that allows users to stream and share a desktop or a server’s screen remotely. This stream is then accessible to others, allowing users to remotely interact with the shared screen. Primarily, Parsec is a means for players to share their games remotely with friends and give them an alternate method of playing their favorite titles online as well as allowing online play for titles that don’t have such a feature.

Through the course of a game’s life, online servers for certain titles will shut down. If the game has local multiplayer features built-in, however, players can still find ways to play with their friends through Parsec’s desktop streaming software. This network solution is also convenient for players who own different versions of the same title if the game itself lacks a cross-play feature. Because the game is streamed from the host’s desktop, only the host is required to own that particular version of a game for both players to be able to play together. Parsec’s ability to stream games in such a manner has another benefit that goes beyond the scope of online play.

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Related: Every Fighting Game With Rollback Netcode

Parsec’s capability to stream games from a host platform effectively emulates playing a game through the game’s native, local multiplayer. Players can play with one another outside of the game’s own network should players opt to use Parsec instead through its low-latency service. The process enables easy drop-in/drop-out multiplayer that would not be feasible in an online scenario and allows players to share an experience similar to local play for multiplayer or co-op.

How Parsec Brings The Home Experience Online

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3- UMVC3 Lives Parsec Tournament

Speaking with Screen Rant, Parsec’s Brand Marketing and Communications Director Max Sebela spoke on how a goal with Parsec’s creation was the “ability to connect communities“. Citing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as an accelerant for Parsec’s progression, Sebela noted how Parsec “was a gaming platform first” in its creation while expanding its usage through different communities. Fighting game communities in particular have made use of the program in order to host tournaments, circumventing restrictions brought on by subpar or non-existent netcode.

During the discussion, Sebela mentioned an emphasis on creating a “warmer atmosphere” through Parsec than what can sometimes be afforded through traditional methods of netplay. It was then mentioned how Parsec’s online play works around the more “cold systems that remind a player they’re on a network” by letting players play directly from a game’s built-in 2-player mode. This also allows for fighting games to access a variety of options not available in their own online settings such as stage selection, handicaps, rounds, and timer settings that create a more customized, home experience.

Having been put through the paces during the global pandemic, Parsec has seen some of its biggest tests in the form of a Twitch Rivals tournament for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The use of Parsec for the large-scale tournament allowed a wider audience to see the program in use, putting into perspective just how well Parsec simulated a home tournament experience over its own network. The warmer atmosphere combined with the low-latency netplay and ease of use contribute to making Parsec an emulation of the home multiplayer experience.

Next: Why Proper Fighting Game Rollback Netcode Is Important

Special thanks to Max Sebela, the Director of Brand Marketing and Communications at Parsec, for speaking with Screen Rant. 

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