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Valve extends Steam service to mobile iOS, Android app
Valve extends Steam service to mobile iOS, Android app
January 26, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

January 26, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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    9 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



Valve Software has rolled out a closed beta for Steam Mobile, an upcoming free application for iOS and Android devices allowing users to access services from its digital distribution platform.

The Left 4 Dead and Portal publisher says the app, which it created after receiving direct requests from customers, is part of its commitment to "expand the service functionality of Steam to make it richer and more accessible for everyone."

Several other digital distribution platform holders have pursued a similar strategy, taking advantage of mobile devices' portability and ubiquity by releasing complementary apps for them. Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network have smartphone apps allowing users to view their accounts on the go.

While Steam Mobile won't allow users to play games they've purchased on the PC versions of the client, it will let them chat with friends, browse communities and user profiles, view screenshots and user-generated content, browse Steam's catalog, and purchase games.

The private beta rollout follows several weeks after Valve announced that Steam has surpassed 40 million registered users, and saw its annual revenues double for the seventh straight year in 2011 -- despite facing increased competition from rival digital distribution platforms.

Steam Mobile is available to download now through Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market, though users will need a beta key before they can access it. Valve hasn't announced when it will open the app to the general public.


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Comments


Chris Melby
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Here's hoping that Valve will setup their own mobile market and mobile version of Steamworks for Android. Google does a great job, but Valve being pro-games does it better than anyone else IMO.

Eric Schwarz
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It doesn't seem likely to me that Google will let anyone create a secondary app marketplace on their own platform. Not as absurd as "Steam for iPhone", but still pretty crazy.

Jeremie Sinic
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@Eric Schwarz: there are actually quite a few app marketplaces for Android besides Google's Android Market. If I just look at Korea where I live, there is one Android appstore per mobile operator (3) in parallel to the Android Market.

Chris Melby
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@Eric,



What Jeremie said. :)



Google completely allows for other markets, app side-loading, and so on. Open is good!

Christopher Lees
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@Eric Amazon Marketplace for Android

Craig Timpany
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Interesting. Sounds like purchasing might run into the same problems that the Kindle app did (Apple demanding a cut of the sales). Maybe it's different if you're purchasing into Steam's walled garden instead of Apple's?

Chris Melby
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This is more of a social app, it doesn't have a store front.



+++



I had a brain fart...



+++



I think I'm recovered now, but probably not.



My guess is that Valve figures it's worth giving Apple a cut of each PC purchase to have virtual retail space in the Apple mall.

Dan Jones
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I am thrilled by this news, as should be every other adult gamer for whom being "home for the holidays" can mean limited access to computers.



It was a huge pain to check the daily sales deals, and make purchases, from within my phone's browser during the big Steam holiday promotion. Worth it, yes, but still a pain. ;)

Sean Currie
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Awesome. The more Steam in my life, the better. Now all I need is a Steam handheld device and a Steam branded console and Gabe Newell will own my wallet.



Frankly, he can have it. I'd prefer his financial decisions over mine any day.


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