iOS users miss out as Steam makes mobile PC gaming more portable


Steam Link iPhone iPad Apple TV
Steam Link’s first big update is great for controller users.
Photo: Valve

Valve today confirmed a big update to its PC game streaming platform that makes desktop games more portable than ever.

Its new Steam Link Anywhere service now lets you enjoy your favorite titles anywhere in the world through the Steam Link app for mobile. But don’t get too excited if you use an iPhone or iPad.

Apple’s strict App Store guidelines mean iOS users remain left out in the cold.

Streaming is soon to become the hottest trend in the gaming industry. Sony, Microsoft, and even Google are hard at work on new game streaming services — at least one of which will debut this year.

Steam has been giving users the ability to stream from their own PC to other devices in their home for years. And with the Steam Link app, you no longer need special hardware; a compatible Android device will do just fine.

Stream Link Anywhere takes this a step further. Now you don’t even need to be at home.

Steam Link Anywhere takes PC gaming anywhere

The latest Steam Link beta, build 688, lets you stream games from your PC to another device no matter where it’s located. As long as you have an internet connection — cellular is fine — you can get connected and play your games.

Obviously slow and spotty connections will be no good. Steam says you need a good upload speed for the host computer, and a good download speed for the device you’re playing on. But they no longer need to be on the same network.

To access Steam Link Anywhere, you can use an Android device, a Raspberry Pi, or the now-discontinued Steak Link hardware. You will also need a computer that’s capable of running the games you want to stream.

Not welcome on iOS

You’re out of luck if you only use iOS devices. The Steam Link app for iOS is still being blocked by Apple as a result of “business conflicts.”

It is believed Apple won’t approve the app because it allows users to purchase games and other items directly from Steam. This prevents Apple from taking a 30 percent cut of any revenues, and that’s strictly prohibited.

Spotify just filed a complaint with the European Commission over Apple’s “unfair” App Store rules — particularly those surrounding its 30 percent fee. The EC has confirmed it is now considering whether Spotify has a case.

What makes the Steam Link ban even more ridiculous and bemusing is that, according to Valve, Steam Link doesn’t do anything other remote desktop apps aren’t already doing on iOS. And yet those are allowed in the App Store.

iOS users are missing out

As is often the case, then, iOS users are missing out as a result of Apple’s rules. And these particular rules aren’t designed to keep us safe; they’re in place solely to ensure that Apple gets every penny it demands.

So, if you own an Android, do let us know what it’s like to enjoy Steam Link Anywhere. Please.


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