Steam Link app for iOS devices goes live
Steam Link app for iOS devices goes live Google Play Store screenshot

Sometimes, you want to curl up in bed under a blanket with a cup of coffee and your favourite game. However, PUBG: Mobile may not be enough to satiate the needs of the gamer. One may want to take on a boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice or finish one more puzzle in The Witness. In such cases, playing with a laptop on the bed can be a bit of a problem, so Valve solved this with a mobile app that enables players to stream their game on a mobile device.

Valve's Steam Link app enables users to play Steam games directly on mobile devices by connecting a controller. The mobile device with Steam Link has to be logged on to the same account and connected to the same network as the computer running Steam.

Under the hood, the app functions by making a real-time encoding of H.264 video and sending it via a low-latency network protocol to the Steam Link app, which displays the game on the mobile device. The app automatically adds black bars to ensure that the aspect ratio doesn't get tainted, but players are free to zoom in and remove the black bars if needed. Now, players can take their game with them, even to the toilet, and ensure a truly 'seamless' experience.

The app is still in beta for Android, as Valve is trying to do more exhaustive testing. It supports devices running Android 5.0 onwards. On Apple hardware, it supports any iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.0 or later and Apple TV running tvOS 11.0 or later.

A bit of history

The Steam Link app was removed from the App Store earlier, as Apple charges a commission for in-app purchases. Valve had to remove the ability to purchase games through the app (even though Steam does not sell iOS games) before it could go back on the App Store. The 30% tax leveraged on developers has been seen as a problem by many.

There have been instances of developers lashing out at Apple in the past. One instance involving Spotify created headlines when the developers of the Swedish music streaming app called Apple a "monopolist", citing the heavy taxes that it imposes for hosting apps on its store. Those taxes were the reason Spotify could not bring their Premium subscription for iOS users, as it became unfeasible for them.

They even released a video on YouTube, calling Apple a "bully" for taking money from an app which tries to deliver ad-free music. Apple had retorted by saying there had been no discrimination, and that Spotify wanted "all the benefits of a free app without being free".

However, Apple's 30 percent tax is real, and it affects developers. This persistence by Apple can have serious repercussions, as explained by Jesus Diaz on Tom's Guide. The European Union's antitrust body can punish the abuse of monopolistic power.

"The EU doesn't fool around — the commission can fine up to 10% of all global revenue," writes Diaz. Previously, the EU had slammed Google and Microsoft with billion-dollar fines for employing monopolistic tactics.

Valve's Steam Link app is now available for download for free from the Android and iOS stores.

Steam Link app for iOS devices goes live
Steam Link app for iOS devices goes live Google Play Store screenshot