Valve announced today that two new phone, tablet, and TV apps are on the way, and together they'll allow Steam users to stream their libraries of games and videos to Android and Apple devices without any extra hardware.
The first on the way is the is the Steam Link app. Like the Steam Link itself (the little streaming box Valve released in 2015) in software form, the app will allow Steam users to stream their games to Android-powered TVs and Apple TV boxes, as well as iOS and Android tablets and phones. I'm not sure how much I want to play Rocket League on my phone (Chris recently used streaming software to play Kingdom Come and Quake Champions on his phone, with mixed results), but I'm tempted to try.
Any device you stream to must be connected to a host PC (whatever's running Steam) via a 5GHz wi-fi or wired network. As for how you'll be playing these games away from the comforting clacking of your keyboard, the app will support "the Steam Controller, MFI controllers, and more across both platforms." Valve did not say whether it has any touchscreen support planned.
The Steam Link app is due out for both iOS and Android the week of May 21st, though Valve notes that the Android version will initially be in beta.
Coming "later this summer" is the Steam Video app, which will do the same thing, except for Steam's catalog of streaming movies and shows. That app will work over both wi-fi and LTE connections, and will "offer the ability to enjoy content in offline and streaming modes." Both apps will be free.
Given the number of Android-powered smart TVs out there along with Android and Apple TV boxes, if these apps work as advertised they just about make the Steam Link hardware obsolete. Why buy a $50 single-purpose device when a new TV or Apple TV box will do the same thing and more?
We'll give the Steam Link app a test run when it's out in a couple weeks.