Valve's Steam Link app lets you stream PC games to Android and iOS devices

From PC World: Valve’s in-home streaming tech is proving to be its most forward-thinking development. First it helped kill off the company’s own short-lived Steam Machines, with the $50 Steam Link perfectly capable of putting PC gaming in your living room without the need for another high-end PC. And now it’s putting PC gaming...well, anywhere you’d like.

Announced this morning, Valve’s releasing a free Steam Link app for iOS and Android devices by the end of the month. (Update: The Android app is now available, and Valve says the “release date for the iOS version is pending further review with Apple.”) Like the Steam Link proper, you’ll need a somewhat decent gaming PC to run the games themselves. Valve takes care of the rest though, streaming low-latency video of said games to basically any phone, tablet, or TV-bound device in your house.

Valve claims the Steam Link app will support the $50 Steam Controller after you update its firmware, as well as any MFi controller (like the popular Gamevice). The only other thing you’ll need is a 5GHz WiFi connection. Ethernet is listed as an option both for Apple TV/Android TV devices and your PC proper, and that’s the optimal way to play. 5GHz WiFi has been spotty for me on the Steam Link, resulting in a lot of latency between what I’m telling the controller and how fast the stream can spit that back, though I’m in the middle of congested San Francisco. Phones obviously don’t have the luxury of an Ethernet port though, so hopefully you have a robust home network and thin walls.

Whether this spells the end of the Steam Link hardware itself? I don’t know. Valve’s had some high-profile fire sales on it lately, marking it down to as little as $5 at times. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steam Link’s not expected to sell well once you can reproduce that functionality on a tablet or phone. On the other hand, the Steam Link is convenient—it’s cheap, outputs to the TV easily, doesn’t need to be charged, supports ethernet, and allows you to plug in a mouse and keyboard. That’s more than enough reason for it to stick around, in my opinion.

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