TouchArcade Goes Hands-On With Valve's Steam Link App: 'This is the Killer App for iOS Devices'

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 17, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Next week, Valve is launching a "Steam Link" app for iOS and tvOS, allowing users in the Apple ecosystem to play Steam games streamed from a host Mac/PC (using either a 5GHz network or a wired Ethernet connection) onto an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. In advance of the app's launch, our sister site TouchArcade got the chance to go hands-on with Steam Link and came away entirely impressed by the quality of gaming that can come out of Valve's app.


    TouchArcade reports that Steam Link works so well that it "feels like there's some kind of actual wizardry powering it all," and once it's set up (a "simple" process) the app is essentially the same as using a physical Steam Link hardware box or Steam's Big Picture mode.

    The app doesn't just stream in-game content, but allows gamers to browse the Steam marketplace, purchase games, check their friend lists, play PC exclusive titles, sell things, and more. "There are no corners cut anywhere, it's the complete experience," TouchArcade says.

    In the end, the site crowned Steam Link as the current "killer app" for Apple devices.
    There are a ton of more details to read in TouchArcade's coverage for Steam Link, including tidbits about stream quality, Steam/MFi controller use, the lack of potential for cellular gameplay, and more. To read the full coverage, follow this link: 'Steam Link' App Hands-On Preview - The iOS and Apple TV Killer App Doesn't Even Play Games from Apple's Ecosystem.

    Steam Link is launching today for Android devices, while a launch for iOS and tvOS should be sometime next week, pending further approval from Apple.

    Article Link: TouchArcade Goes Hands-On With Valve's Steam Link App: 'This is the Killer App for iOS Devices'
  2. drew05 macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2008
    Please don't jinx it and have Apple block its approval... this is going to be great.
  3. jayducharme macrumors 68040


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    This looks fantastic! Looking forward to it.
  4. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    It sounds good but I still can't figure out why I need it.

    If you need to stream a Steam game from a host computer over Wifi, why not just play the game on the host computer instead of on an IOS device ?
  5. Albright macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2011
    Yeah, I was about to post the same. Am I missing something? By playing on the host device, you'd be able to use a real controller or mouse/keyboard combo rather than some emulation of it too.

    I suppose the appeal could come in that you'd be able to use an AppleTV to play desktop games on your TV without rewiring anything, but does AppleTV allow you to connect arbitrary input devices to it, or would you be stuck with using the standard AppleTV remote?
  6. BJB Productions macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Quick download the app before it's too late.

    I truly hope I'm not right. :(
  7. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    I didn't think about the Apple TV. I could see why people might want the app for that although I'm not sure what you would do for game controls.
  8. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    The Xbox app on my Microsoft Surface similarly allows me to play Xbox games in a different part of the house than where my Xbox is connected. But I quickly found it was not worth using. You've got to have a blazing fast and absolutely perfect WiFi link to make it work reasonably well, and even then, you will have occasional dropouts and glitches that will completely ruin any fast-pace racing or first person shooter games. Pretty much Ethernet is your only option. At that point, being constrained to the house AND to a cable defeats the purpose of this whole thing except maybe in certain edge cases.

    For those reasons, I haven't tried using it for some time.

    This solution is even worse in that you have to have a powerful gaming PC to use it. Well, I don't have one (and don't want to mess with the cost and effort to own and maintain one).

    I do have an iPad Pro with a powerful CPU and GPU that, unfortunately, can't be taken full advantage of to play console-quality games (with a few exceptions) because the App Store is a wasteland of pay-to-play shallow games, and physical controllers are not well supported.
  9. err404, May 17, 2018
    Last edited: May 17, 2018

    err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Apple TV has supported game controllers for as long as it has supported apps. Many games on the Apple TV require a controller to play, so I doubt that the regular remote will work with with steam at all.
  10. fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    Seems like a very odd use case. Apple TV is the only real reason for this. And I'm not about to get into the hell of dealing with iOS controllers, nor do I want to risk anything going wrong in the middle of the game.
  11. lunarworks macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    "I do not think it is at all hyperbole to say that this is the killer app for iOS devices."

    Finally, just the break Apple needs. They're sure to sell millions of them.
  12. rom3o macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2014
    If you need a host PC/Mac, I don’t see the benefit of it. Streaming games from the cloud would be something I would consider a ‘killer app’ at least for the Apple TV.
  13. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    True. I think this is aimed at people who want to play on their couch in front of the TV instead of sitting at a desk in front of the computer. The Steam Link wasn't very successful, so I'm not sure how popular this use case really is. I can easily imagine playing racing games on my projector via the Apple TV though. :)
    You can either use a controller that is connected to the computer if it's close enough (including wireless ones, such as the Steam Controller) or a MFi controller connected to the Apple TV (e.g. Nimbus gamepad).
  14. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Whilst the Steam iOS app still hasn't been updated for the iPhone X. :(
  15. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    The only thing I can think of is so I can play games outside in the woods behind my house while relaxing in a hammock instead of cooped up in my basement. Not sure what the latency is like for that though. My router is by the back window so I have pretty good coverage but even so I imagine most online gaming would be ruled out by the latency.
  16. Jack Delgado macrumors regular

    Jack Delgado

    May 11, 2012
    Maybe its use-case doesn't apply to you, but its appeal is the same 'surprise' appeal many folks found who bought a Nintendo Switch. Not everyone has the lifestyle or schedule to sit down in front of the host computer even within their own home. Having the technology to play a video game but also make yourself available amongst family members in the living room is pretty convenient vs. secluding yourself away on the host machine away from others.

    It's the kind of thing you don't have to do all the time, but it's nice that it's an option when the optimal route isn't feasible at the time.
  17. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Close, but this actually sounds more like the Nintendo Wii U than the Nintendo Switch.

    The implementation is so close to perfect, but there's a stupid catch that messes everything up. The Wii U's GamePad required you to be within 30 feet of the console. There was this great sensation that you didn't have to be right at your TV to play - you could be in the next room over! But then you got two rooms over and it all fell apart.

    The Switch was Nintendo scrambling to rearrange the parts when they realized that that catch was keeping the Wii U from having real success (and in fact, made it a total disaster. Well, and the marketing was a disaster. And the game line up was terrible. There was a lot that contributed to the train wreck known as the Wii U. Thank goodness it didn't kill the company.)
  18. TaviDuprix macrumors member


    Mar 15, 2016
  19. ee4life macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    Just a heads up for anyone that has a Steam Controller, it can pair directly to an iOS device while using the Steam Link app with a firmware update that adds Bluetooth support. Of course it is not MFi so it will not work seamlessly with other apps on iOS.
  20. chromite macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    I have a PS4 but if I had a gaming PC I’d love to lay in my bed and play Elite Dangerous on my phone with an MFi controller while my computer is downstairs hooked up to my main TV. I have a 5GHz network so it seems I’d be the perfect candidate. It would also be a cheap way to play PC caliber games on an OLED screen for people who can’t afford an OLED TV.

    I know Sony won’t allow remote play on iOS devices because of Apple’s on-screen controls rule but it’s a nice dream :)
  21. Future-Proof macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2018
    Heck yeah!!! I had been using teamviewer to achieve the same but only worked for simple games such as Civilization IV and Fallout 2
  22. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    It’s not a killer app though as it only works on your home WiFi strength no from your PC / Mac. It needs to be freed from that I think but that’s not what Valves service offers unfortunately.
  23. fairuz, May 17, 2018
    Last edited: May 17, 2018

    fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    My main issue was with the games. The launch was especially embarrassing, with zero popular games available for a while. But yeah, the hardware gimmick was dumb too. Just more annoying parts.
  24. rom3o macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2014
    Playing on a tiny phone screen just for the sake of it being OLED? I can hardly imagine why you’d prefer that over a much bigger (non-OLED) monitor/TV.
  25. brownpaw macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2010
    Isn’t a killer app usually something that’s only available on that one platform? It’s not a killer app for iOS if it’s also available for Android.

    I could see this being great if iOS supported non-MFi controllers (Bluetooth Xbox One controller, I’m looking at you...) but it doesn’t. So now you’re buying more hardware if you don’t already have it.

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