GAMING GIANT Valve has discontinued the Steam Link, its hardware box designed to enable PC users to stream games from their Steam library direct to their television.
The box could also be used to stream the raw PC desktop and other apps to TVs so that users could, for example, stream NetFlix or Amazon Prime from PC to TV.
Already, according to Valve, the Steam Link is sold out in Europe, with only limited supplies left in the US.
When it was first introduced it retailed for £39.99 and was also sold in bricks and mortar outlets, such as Game. In recent sales, it has been reduced to just £2 (plus £7.50 postage and packing).
The Steam Link was launched in response to Windows 8 and, in particular, Microsoft's introduction of a Windows Store that could potentially undermine Valve's Steam PC gaming portal.
Now renamed the Microsoft Store, the store built into Windows 8 and Windows 10 never took off and remains somewhat moribund - packed with third-rate mobile games - while rumours have abounded that Microsoft might just attempt to buy-up Valve instead.
A mark of the boundless quality on sale in the Microsoft Store is, perhaps, the game PUBG Mobile Strike War, described by its developers as a "free PUBG mobile game [that] is simple best game for fan of shot enemy in desert. A lonely solder trying to save the earth from evil. Blast your way threw monster and aliens".
Err, no thanks.
Valve, meanwhile, has pledged to continue development of its software Steam Link app, which is intended to enable users to stream PC content, including games, direct to mobile Android-based devices. A version for the app for Apple's iOS has been barred from the Apple App Store on the grounds that Apple won't get a 30 per cent cut of any sales made via the Steam Link app.
While a popular device, the Steam Link box has always been somewhat temperamental: it works perfectly for some people, while others struggle with latency, desync and other quality issues. It supports WiFi, but best performance could be guaranteed with a direct wired link to the PC - not a powerline network link - which for most users makes it impractical.
It comes after Valve also discontinued support for the Steam Controller, a device designed to enable PC games to be played, while Steam Machines - introduced as PC-based games consoles - have also all but disappeared. µ
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