Steam Link

Steam Link app comes to Linux, joining Android, iOS and Raspberry Pi

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Steam, one of the leading PC gaming marketplaces, is now slated to bring its Steam Link software to Linux systems. Originally released on Windows, Raspberry Pi, iOS and Android, the last remaining major operating system receives a much-needed inclusion. The service will become available in the coming weeks as a program to install. Once linked up to the user’s Steam account, it will then allow for seamless streaming to connected Linux devices.

Steam Link is a project that Valve has worked to roll out, improve then restructure multiple times now. The service, in essence, seeks to unite gamers across different devices. Now, with Linux based operating systems gaining the full usage of streaming capabilities, users running Steam content can easily beam their projections onto other displays. The potential opportunities Steam Link and other streaming services is staggering. However, few other services can match this one, thanks to its broad support of an array of platforms.

In the past year, which saw millions of people forced to self-quarantine owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, gaming and streaming reigned supreme. Subscriptions to streaming services, like Microsoft’s new XCloud feature on Game Pass, saw massive success. This increased reliance on streaming content over traditional methods is, according to experts, due to a rise in household closeness, and online gaming. One of the best ways to do so is to connect an output for display from a different game, onto another user’s screen.

Valve’s service does this using its Remote Play feature. This allows for multiplayer interactions, regardless of hardware, as well as the sharing of games. That means, as Steam Link proudly claims, users owning one game on a different platform no longer need to worry about buying an entirely separate copy. One player may own the Steam game, and their friend on a different platform can still join in.

While other streaming services typically limit the amount of cross-platform interactions available, Steam Link is currently one of the best in this regard. The app used to limit game shares to one external user per account, which of course grew tiresome for most streamers. Eventually, Valve wisely uncapped the limit, meaning players can share content with as many non-Steam accounts they like.

Believe it or not, Valve’s streaming service used to look more like Chromecast than the online software it is now. In 2015, the company wanted to compete with popular streaming hardware, including devices like the Chromecast and Firestick. Their solution? A clunky, expensive top-box set that would plug into your television and stream your Steam games from your Windows PC. Back then, streaming onto a smartphone, much less a Linux computer, was not possible. The device failed commercially, owing to its perceived status as superfluous accessory. By 2018, the company had shut the hardware production down, and needed a strong pivot.

By the next year, they had successfully switched to a much more efficient software setup. The new and improved Steam Link came in the form of a smartphone app, and drastically improved the streaming service in every way. The Android and iOS playerbase numbered in the millions, bringing Valve much more exposure. The eventual addition of Raspberry Pi also helped users with experimental computers gain access. Now, it seems that Valve’s gaming community-friendly policies and broad audience will only take game streaming to further heights.

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