IN WHAT could be one of the biggest changes to mobile gaming in history (or could be an unusable damp squib, we're on the fence), Steam has announced it is bringing its games to iOS, Android and select smart TVs through the magic of streaming.
Steam Link arrives in less than a fortnight (21 May, since you ask) and will allow you to play your Steam library via a host device.
It's a similar system to that used by Nvidia with Geoforce Now for its Shield tablets and TV boxes.
That's the good news. Now the bad. You won't be able to play it on the go. You'll either need to be on the same 5GHz network (but if you're still using 2.4GHz for gaming, frankly, you're insane) or a wired ethernet connection.
You'll also need a half decent controller - a full list of those supported will be published at a later date.
Despite its popularity, Steam is currently suffering from a slight identity crisis. The market for dedicated Steam Machines has proved to be tiny (despite what Steam tells us), and Steam has outgrown the PC domain.
Finally bringing itself to the most popular platforms of the day could prove to be a renaissance for them which may even lure people back to their desktop machines too.
It could also prove a huge shot in the arm for the likes of Humble Bundle, the charitable based games store which has been offering Steam keys for purchases since it began, meaning suddenly gamers are faced with a whole new library they had forgotten about.
There is still the possibility that the whole thing could be a slow, glitchy, jumpy unplayable mess, and we accept that until we see otherwise. But Steam seems intent on avoiding that fate, hence it's rolling out only on local networks.
But assume it does work, you'll be able to play GTA V on your phone with no downscaling or compromise and that's ruddy exciting.
Also announced is a Steam Video app which will allow the same customers to watch content bought from Steam on their mobile devices and Smart TVs.
So far, which Smart TVs isn't confirmed but given that Android TV is doing pretty well suddenly, we'd expect that's one of them. µ
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