Valve ventures into mobile with Steam on iOS and Android

steam-android

Launched earlier this week and announced on the Steam site, Valve has started a closed beta for Steam Mobile on the iPhone and Android phones. The mobile application brings a vast amount of core functions found within the PC and Mac version of the Steam software, the most notable being the ability to make purchases through the application. This will allow any mobile Steam user to take advantage of the frequent sales that cut popular games up to 90 percent off. Assuming the user agrees to notifications from the application, Steam will also be able to feed mobile alerts to the user when a game on a user’s wishlist goes on sale. The interface offers the familiar Steam categories of new, featured, popular and specials. In addition, there’s a search interface allowing the user to find games by price, title or genre. 

steam-pricesAfter a user logs into the mobile application, they have the ability to chat with Steam friends, peruse friend activity, read gaming news, check out profiles and groups in addition to looking at screenshots and other gaming media. Within the chat interface, friends are split up into categories such as recent chats, in-game, online and offline. However, group chat is unavailable through this version of the mobile interface. There’s also no obvious link between the mobile device and a PC at home that would allow a user to queue up Steam downloads while away from the computer. 

While all of Steam’s features aren’t included within the application, Valve president Gabe Newell believes that this application represents a good start. Newell stated “Seeing which of your friends are online and playing a game, sending quick messages, looking at screenshots for an upcoming game, or catching a sale – these are all features customers have requested. Mobile is changing way people interact, play games and consume media, and the Steam app is part of our commitment to meet customer demands and expand the service functionality of Steam to make it richer and more accessible for everyone.” Newell did not indicate if the Steam platform would start to sell mobile games.

While Steam is moving forward with mobile, Electronic Arts still hasn’t rolled out a mobile counterpart to the Origin download service. Origin also lags behind Steam in terms of the amount of games offer for sale on the service. While Steam offers more than 1,800 titles for sale, Electronic Arts lists less than 10 percent of that figure. Electronic Arts did announce an additional 11 third-party publishers have been added to the Origin service recently, but did not indicate how many games would be added over the coming months.  

steam-big-pictureAs reported at CES 2012, Valve is still prepping Steam’s “Big Picture” user interface designed to bring the Steam experience to the television screen. This will allow users to hook a computer to the television and play games on a much larger screen, similar to user experience of console owners. Newell hasn’t indicated if Valve will release a set-top box to offer this feature to consumers that don’t have a computer hooked into their main television in the living room. Some analysts have also speculated that the “Big Picture” mode could utilize cloud streaming technology similar to OnLive and be delivered through an application on gaming consoles or through Internet-connected televisions. However, Valve has said repeatedly that “Big Picture” mode will include controller support. 

While the mobile application is currently in a closed beta, Steam users can download the mobile application onto the Android or iOS platform and log into the application to declare interest in joining the beta. Valve plans to roll out new invites slowly while the application is still being tested over the next few weeks.

Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Gaming

The Epic Games store is already luring indie studios away from Steam

The Epic Games Store is less than a week old, but it's already making waves among indie studios. Multiple studios have announced that their games will be timed exclusives on the Epic Games Store, with one studio forgoing Steam completely.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.