What is Parsec?

Cloud streaming for the future.

Parsec logo
Image via Parsec

Parsec is expanding its remote desktop capabilities to macOS users, but what exactly is the service?

Released in 2016, Parsec is a downloadable desktop application. The main purpose of the software is to allow users to remotely stream a computer’s display through another device.

The application can be used in many different ways, but it is primarily used for the remote streaming of video games. Using Parsec, players can stream video game footage through an internet connection—provided the connection is stable and powerful enough—and play games on other devices.

How does Parsec work?

To take advantage of Parsec, users need only create an account and download the Parsec launcher to set up their own game streaming parties.

Parsec also offers an “Arcade” option that allows users to join in on other user-hosted rooms without purchasing the game to play online. This means that as long as one player owns a multiplayer game, anyone else can join the game without needing to own the game themselves.

From the Parsec launcher, users can add and manage friends, go to the Parsec Arcade, and even change settings like the preferred renderer. Available renderer options include OpenGL, Direct3D 9, and Direct3D 11.

Parsec for Teams, a paid version of the software, is also available for those who want to utilize the application for its more developmental and artistic tools, including better color accuracy and the ability to stream multiple screens at once.

Behind the scenes, Parsec is running on native, low-level code built-in cross-platform C. This allows for the program to run as efficiently and smoothly as possible. The application also uses a proprietary networking protocol called Better User Datagrams (BUD) to deliver low-latency video streaming, according to the official site.

Parsec also allows users to run their GPU of choice, regardless of manufacturer, so both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards are supported.

With game streaming services like Xbox Game Streaming, Amazon Luna, and Google Stadia becoming more and more popular, Parsec seems to be flying pretty low under the radar. However, it is likely to increase in popularity due to fast connection speeds between users.