Steam, Valve’s well-known PC storefront, has seen major updates to its smartphone app that may indicate a new focus on player interaction from mobile. Fortunately for other competitors in the space, Valve doesn't look to be making the cross into the mobile gaming market yet,but what they have added may indicate an acknowledgement of how integral mobile use is to gamers. Not only has there been the addition of remote downloads but also the appearance of interesting features from other mobile apps.
As we’ve previously reported, in many markets the cross-over between PC and console gamers is actually quite prominent. In Brazil for example, Newzoo reported 60% of all gamers would play on mobile at some point, overlapping into both PC and console gamers. This means that even for companies which deal solely with one platform, anticipating the needs of their player base on mobile is key and offering services there can improve the overall experience.
Give me Steam
Notably, Steam appears to have taken inspiration from a major player in the mobile world. Tencent’s WeChat app, which is massively popular for all sorts of utilities in China, uses a similar system of QR codes for logins and verification across a variety of services. Now, Steam’s ‘Steam Guard’ system is making this standard, although codes will still be usable as before.
The addition of remote downloads will also be welcome for players, allowing users to set downloads on their PC so long as the machine is logged into Steam and turned on. As with the introduction of the Steam Deck, Valve appears to be revisiting other platforms that they have neglected to utilise as strongly as their flagship storefront on PC. Given that some platforms such as Engadget have referred to the previous ageing app as ‘clunky’ it can only be good news for Steam users to see it updated.
But could this be a precursor to a greater investment in mobile? With the success of the Steam Deck and Valve’s resources the possibility does exist. Although not likely to introduce its own storefront. Given Steam already utilises remote-play aspects for many games, the most likely move might be introducing cloud gaming to mobile devices from their store. Although Steam already allows this via Nvidia’s Geforce Now platform, doing so across all platforms would see a massive library of games be playable across a range of devices.