Steam game-streaming app debuts on iPhone and iPad, a year after controversy

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S., on Monday, June 4, 2018. 

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Steam Link, a free app that enables gamers to play PC games on mobile devices, is now available to download on Apple‘s platforms, including the iPhone, iPad, and the Apple TV.

The introduction of Steam Link on Apple devices is a surprise after an episode in May 2018 in which Valve, Steam’s parent company, publicly said that Apple’s App Store had rejected the app for “business conflicts. “

Steam Link uses the processing power of a desktop or laptop PC to stream graphically-intensive games purchased on Steam to mobile devices or set-top boxes over a home network.

Games are a major component of Apple’s App Store, and Steam is essentially a cross-platform app store for PC games. App Store rules allow Apple to reject any app that includes a distribution platform for apps, but last summer, Apple updated its guidelines to enable mirroring services like Steam Link, as long as purchases are made on the desktop.

“We would love for Valve’s games and services to be on iOS and AppleTV,” Apple’s senior vice president for marketing, Phil Schiller, said in an email to some customers last May. “Unfortunately, the review team found that Valve’s Steam iOS app, as currently submitted, violates a number of guidelines around user generated content, in-app purchases, content codes, etc.”

Steam Link has been available for Android users in beta since last year. In March, Apple announced Apple Arcade, a subscription service of Apple-backed games for iPhones and other Apple devices.

The Steam Link app requires a 5Ghz wi-fi network or a wired ethernet connection. It supports the Steam controller, as well as controllers made for iPhones and iPads, the company said in a statement.

Apple didn’t immediately return a request for comment. A Valve representative did not specify if any changes have been made to the Steam Link app in order to secure Apple’s approval.

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