Valve, the creators and owners of PC game distribution platform Steam, announced today that your Steam library will be available on Android and iOS devices by the end of the month. It intends to accomplish this through two separate apps, Steam Link and Steam Video.
There are some limitations to playing DotA 2 or Dark Souls on the go. Steam Link, like Valve’s streaming box of the same name, simply streams your game library to your device. This means that, like Steam Link, you can only play your library over a local connection, and even then, only on a 5Ghz connection. Valve hasn’t said what other input devices it will work with besides Steam controllers and MFi controllers.
You’d hope and expect Steam Link on mobile to support mappable touch controls, though that wouldn’t be the best solution.
Steam Video, Valve’s second Steam app, allows you to stream your video library from Steam over both Wi-Fi and mobile data. Compared to many other streaming services, this may not sound like a big deal, but Steam has a surprisingly large amount of video content. For example, how could you refuse Mortal Kombat Legacy for free? FREE. Aside from the wonderful cringe TV series, it’s also likely that Valve has plans to expand its video service in the future.
If I had to guess, the success of mobile titles like Fortnite Battle Royale and PUBG Mobile is why Valve is bringing both Steam Link to mobile. Not only have they demonstrated that there is a desire to play PC-scale games on a small screen, but it is also known that many players use Steam Link and Nvidia’s GameStream to play PC games away from their computers.
Valve already has a Steam app for iOS and Android that allows users to send messages, manage their accounts, redeem games, and set them to download while they are away from their computer. Steam Video makes a lot of sense as a concept, as it now allows people to buy and stream video directly from Steam – a go-to place to buy and watch content if there’s a tasty Steam sale going on.
Integration of Steam Link for on-the-go play would also be a wise move, and Valve has most likely experimented with it. However, due to issues with reliable streaming over mobile networks, it’s likely they limited it to mimic the functionality of their £50 Steam Link device instead.
Steam Link will be available on May 21, with Steam Video following “later this summer.” Both apps are expected to be free, though Valve has not explicitly stated this.