Interview: Play Switch’s local co-op games online with Parsec

parsec

It’s no secret that Nintendo’s online infrastructure is sorely lacking — there’s no option to party-up with friends and only one game supports voice chat, and even then, it requires a phone app to use. Beyond the lack of online features, though, many Nintendo Switch games have local co-op but lack online multiplayer. A lot of these are indies like Shovel Knight or Golf Story so that’s to be expected; however, there is a way to play these local co-op games with your friends online, and they don’t even need a Nintendo Switch themselves.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Benjy Boxer, CEO of Parsec, about exactly that. Parsec offers 60 FPS video game streaming for PC to a variety of platforms including mobile phones. With a few pieces of hardware that can be purchased from store shelves, Parsec can be used to stream Nintendo Switch games over the Internet — and the person on the other end can take control of player two using an Xbox controller.

 

The video above demos Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but streaming multiplayer is available for local-only games, too. This is where Parsec really shines.

“I’ve always had the desire and passion to start my own business,” Boxer recalled. “In fact, prior to Parsec, I founded another technology company that failed miserably trying to help people manage their investments – an idea that I came up with while working on the corporate development team at
Aol.”

“My co-founder Chris shares that same passion for entrepreneurship. Prior to Parsec, he started an ad tech company, which he sold, a company similar to Digital Ocean, which failed, and most
recently, a company called HoverHound, which helps people build gaming PCs by finding the cheapest prices online for products,” Boxer continued.

It was Chris that initially came up with the idea for Parsec. They believed that they could build something superior to other game streaming platforms by developing their technology from the ground-up.

“As we started building the product Chris and his sister, who now works at Parsec as well, started playing a lot of games together like they used to,” Boxer remarked. “Over the years they had lost this gaming connection because she moved to Austin, but Parsec closed this gap.”

Parsec is built from their own patent-pending protocol because nothing on the market could fulfill their needs. It’s based on UDP but has “some extra magic added.” Parsec outperforms many of the largest game streaming services, providing low-latency 60 FPS video.

“In internal testing, Parsec’s frames are delivered much more consistently than Steam’s,” Boxer noted. “Parsec hasn’t tested agains [sic] PS Network or PS Now since Parsec doesn’t have an easy way to capture from the Playstation.”

In order to stream your Nintendo Switch games to friends over the Internet, you’ll need the following pieces of hardware:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way around the capture card requirement at this time because the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a method of encoding 60 FPS video; however, Parsec would consider adding this support if Nintendo included an encoder in the console.

“Parsec’s goal is to bring friends together and let you play and watch friends play games. When we founded the company, we wanted to bring back the days of couch gaming where a bunch of friends sat together, played games, and traded turns trying to beat one another,” Boxer told me.

 

“Parsec has focused all of its energy on building the lowest latency 60 FPS streaming software available. If you or a friend has a gaming PC, you can connect together and invite other friends to connect with you to play and watch games with minimal latency added. If you and your friends don’t have a gaming PC, you can rent one of four different types of gaming PCs in the cloud from Parsec starting at just $0.40 per hour.”

You can learn more about Parsec on their website here.

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