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Valve is taking Steam mobile with Steam Link app

Valve announced yesterday, via a slender blog post, that in less than two weeks it will be launching the Steam Link app, allowing users to play their Steam library of games on mobile devices.

It’s an exciting concept, potentially providing new opportunities for play for Steam users and hopefully yet another boost for time spent and sales on the platform.

However, we’ve seen similar technologies from both Sony (Remote Play) and Nvidia (GameStream) before. Although both of those required specific hardware to utilise, with a PS Vita or Sony-branded Android smartphone for Remote Play, or an Nvidia graphics card for the latter.

With Steam’s app supporting both iOS and Android devices, it’s certainly more accessible to more people than previous attempts. Though it does note that users need a 5GHz network connection, which will rule out a lot of older mid-range handsets. It also offers support for wired Ethernet, but we struggle to think of even one device that might be useful for.

The big question is how users control these games. Steam has promised Steam Controller and mobile-friendly MFI controller support. But there’s no discussion of touchscreen controls in the press release. If a game controller is needed, and we imagine it is, then that will seriously reduce take-up of the app.

Details are pretty thin on the ground beyond that, though thankfully we don’t have long to wait to see how the new app pans out.

Steam also announced a Steam Video app, allowing users to watch Steam’s burgeoning library of video content, much like Netflix, with download and streaming 

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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