Steam Link is Available Again on iOS and Apple TV

Posted on May 16, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Games, iOS, Mobile with 7 Comments

A year after Apple controversially blocked its availability, the Steam Link app is finally available again on iOS and Apple TV.

“The Steam Link app, designed to extend Steam’s suite of services and accessibility, is now available free of charge for iOS and Apple TV users,” an Apple statement to CNBC reads. “The Steam Link app allows gamers to experience their Stream library of games on Apple (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV) devices while connected via 5 GHz network or wired Ethernet to a host computer running Steam. The Steam Link app features support for the Steam Controller, MFI controllers, and more. Steam is a leading platform for digital entertainment, offering thousands of games to millions of people around the world.”

So what is that kept Steam Link out of Apple’s online stores for over a year?

At the time, Apple vaguely claimed that Steam Link violated its guidelines around “user-generated content, in-app purchases, content codes,” and more.

“Apple revoked its approval [of Steam Link] citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team,” an Apple statement to Macworld noted at the time.

What this really meant was that Steam Link, by providing a remote view of the full Steam service, could allow users to access the Steam Store and purchase games and other content, remotely via an Apple device, and bypass Apple’s 30 percent commission on all in-app sales. Yes, really.

So, the new version of the Steam Link app only lets users access their existing library. On Android and other platforms, users can access the Steam Store and Community areas, too. This was first spotted by Sean Hollister, to my knowledge. This prevents users from making purchases via an Apple device—and handing Apple 30 percent of the price for no reason whatsoever—and from accessing user-generated content in the Community area.

Problem solved. At least until antitrust regulators sink their tendrils into Apple and its anticompetitive business practices, that is.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Steam Link is Available Again on iOS and Apple TV”

  1. justme

    Sigh...Hanlon was right: never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    • bob_shutts

      In reply to JustMe: Agreed, but Paul will always (sometimes justifiably) attribute malice to our favorite fruit flavored tech giant. ;)

    • nbplopes

      In reply to JustMe:

      Selling digital content or directing users to a POS outside the boundaries of Safari its forbidden. This with the exception of the App Store.

      Enforcing this it’s not easy and at the limit It looks stupid. But it is not really.

      What it’s stupid it’s rule it self. I would concede this to Apps considering that these are actually delivered by the App Store. Nothing else is but Apps from a technical point of view.

      But digital content in general ... looks more like entitlement rather than an actual trade of value.

  2. dontbe evil

    LOL apple style

  3. EricWhite12

    The Steam Link app is actually pretty good