If you’re a PC gamer who longs for the ability to play on the go, Steam Link may be the answer you’ve been looking for. With this on your Android phone, you can stream games from your PC to your phone.
What is Steam Link?
In a nutshell, Steam Link is a way to stream games from your Steam library to another device. The original Steam Link is a physical set top box that you connect to your TV and then use to stream games from your gaming PC to your TV. The Steam Link app is a new Android app that lets you stream games from your PC to your Android device (phone, tablet, or Android TV).
Note: Steam Link was also developed for iOS, but Apple rejected the app. At this point, there’s no word on whether Steam will resubmit the app in the future, so for now, it’s Android only.
When you stream a game, it still runs on your PC and uses your PC’s more powerful hardware. The display and control signals are streamed over your local network to your Android device. That part’s important. Your phone (or tablet or Android TV) must be on the same local network for Steam Link to work. You cannot stream games over the internet.. Steam recommends using a 5 Ghz Wi-Fi connection if you plan on streaming wirelessly. If you’re streaming to an Android TV, a wired connection is even better.
Of course, Steam isn’t the first company to offer something like this: NVIDIA has been doing it for a while with its GameStream software, though that is of course restricted to NVIDIA cards and SHIELD devices, serving only a small niche of gamers.
There’s also Moonlight Game Streaming, which is essentially NVIDIA GameStream for all other Android devices instead of just NVIDIA’s SHIELD brand of products.
Steam Link opens game streaming to most Steam users as it doesn’t require a specific GPU or Android device—if you already use Steam and have an Android device, the odds are it will work for you.
Note: A compatible game controller is recommended to use Steam Link. You can use touch controls, but a controller will be a much better option.
So, is the Steam Link app worth the trouble? Well, in our opinion, playing you Steam games on your mobile device is pretty cool, but you’re limited to playing on the same local network as your PC. That brings up the obvious question: why not just play on your PC?
Perhaps you have some games you really want to kick back with and play on your tablet with friends. Or maybe you have an Android TV and want the big screen experience. Whatever your reason, the app is free, so why not give it a try?