Valve is bringing Steam’s in-home game streaming service to smartphones with its upcoming Steam Link app, according to a new report.
Steam’s in-home streaming service launched on the PC gaming platform in 2014. It gave users the ability to log into Steam on different computers on the same network, run the game on one PC and beam the audio and video over the network to the second PC.
According to a Kotaku report, the app is due to come out the week of May 21st for iOS and Android. It will work with phones, tablets and even the Apple TV. The app is also set to support made for iPhone (MFi) game controllers and the Steam controller, Valve’s fancy touch-pad gamepad.
Additionally the app will feature the same restrictions as the in-home streaming service. Users have to be on the same network as the computer that’s running the game. This is a small price to pay to play games from your Steam library on your phone.
However, not all games will work with the service. Similar to in-home streaming, the service only streams audio and video. The game runs on one device and streams over a local network to another. While technically all games support the feature (for the game, it just runs as normal), the actual act of streaming high quality audio and video from one device to another while also maintaining a close to real-time input from the remote device back to the game is quite complex.
Unfortunately some games don’t work, and it’s case by case which ones do and don’t.
Some enterprising Steam users began comparing notes on a Steam Community post about which games work and which ones don’t. One user by the name of ‘Hetsu’ created a Google Spreadsheet with an exhaustive list of games that work and games that don’t, why they don’t and how to fix it (if you can).
However, it appears Hetsu abandoned the list some time ago. The spreadsheet was set to be deleted so I made a copy to view here. While not the most up-to-date list, it gives a good idea of what games should work with the smartphone version of the service.
That being said, streaming to a smartphone or tablet is going to have its own set of complexities, including how users will be able to interact with the game if they don’t have a connected controller. There is no word yet on what kind of touch interface may be included, if one is included at all.
Additionally, Valve will be launching a video app. For anyone who has purchased movies or television shows on Steam, this app allows you to stream that content over Wi-Fi or LTE.
Both apps will be welcome additions to the Steam platform. Considering how long in-home streaming has been around on the gaming service, it’s a wonder it wasn’t brought to smartphones sooner.