Steam Link for iOS ditches in-app game purchasing in bid for Apple approval

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,638   +615
Staff member

Valve has made some changes to its iOS version of the Steam Link app in the hope that Cupertino will approve it. Steam Link is an app that allows users to stream any game in their library to their mobile devices or smart TV.

When Valve initially submitted it to Apple, it was approved, but the next day the company rejected it due to “business conflicts” with App Store guidelines that the original review team had missed. Back in May, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller claimed that the app violated several rules, but reassured customers that it was working with Valve to correct the problems.

MacRumors now reports that the Steam Link iOS beta that just went up on TestFlight is missing the option to purchase games. “Instead, the app now informs users that games are available to purchase on a PC, or Mac.”

So it would appear that the business conflicts were related to Apple’s policies regarding in-app purchasing. Usually, the App Store takes a 30-percent cut of anything sold within an app except those that require subscriptions. Valve has now removed this feature and presumably will be resubmitting it for approval.

The Android beta has been available on Google Play since the middle of May and reportedly works quite well.

If you are interested in running it, you need to have a 5Ghz router with your PC connected directly to it through an ethernet port. The app sets up an ad-hoc connection between your phone and PC, so both devices must be on the same network. Steam Link uses the power of your rig to stream games to your phone.

The removal of in-app purchasing is by no means a guarantee that Apple will approve Steam Link. As I see it, Valve’s app still poses a threat to App Store sales. Why buy the iOS version of say, XCOM: Enemy Within when you can buy it from Steam and play it on both platforms?

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Posts: 414   +265
It's ridiculous that Apple my see Steam as a threat, just because they want to enable game streaming on our phones. The most valuable company in the world is worried about something so insignificant.
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Posts: 5,461   +6,133
It's ridiculous that Apple my see Steam as a threat, just because they want to enable game streaming on our phones. The most valuable company in the world is worried about something so insignificant.
It's not even like the games on Apple devices even target the same market as steam games either. They really are just adding another reason to get an android device.


Posts: 14   +13
Shh don’t tell Apple what the Moonlight app does, because that app is in their store and does the same thing.

Apple already allows so many competitors on the App Store such as Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon video, Vudu etc etc, I don’t see why this is any different, especially since it requires a PC (or Mac) to host the content on your network, should make it less of a competition to apps that let you access content anywhere.

Already considering Android for my next upgrade, if this doesn’t go through, it will be all but guaranteed.
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Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,638   +615
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Honestly, I see this being approved. Apple has always been sticky when it comes to apps with in-game purchasing. I'm sure this was the problem with Steam Link, and the fact that Schiller said that they were working with Valve indicates that both companies are willing and able to get the app onto the App Store.

Don't worry. Steam Link is coming to iOS. The real question is when. I have no clue how long the approval process takes with Apple. It could be on the store tomorrow or next week for all I know.


Posts: 2,047   +1,932
TechSpot Elite
From what I understand, technically the app never had in-app purchasing, as the app doesn't process any purchasing (but instead it just streams the screen from a PC).

But hey, when did a lot of Apple's decisions ever make sense?
If you aren't already a PC gamer with a Steam library full of games, then you will not be randomly downloading the Steam Link app and buying games for it. I also want to point something out, there are already many apps that allow you to stream games from your PC, this is just Apple being ridiculous. PC + Android = Freedom