Gamers the world over who’ve spent any time in front of a mouse and keyboard over a console controller should be familiar with the Steam brand. Built by game developers Valve, Steam for PC and more recently Mac, has been the go to hub for gamers wishing to browse, buy games and involve themselves more readily in the gaming community, offering news, groups and friends lists with which gamers can educate and inform each other with.
As a PC gaming service, Steam is one of the most popular and powerful platforms for gamers today, in the mobile space things are a little different. Although Steam Mobile doesn’t offer access to a unique mobile gaming space or streaming from a home PC, it brings some of its powerful social tools to smartphones. Users can access their Steam profile, converse with other users, join groups and find out about the latest gaming news from Valve.
The usability of the app is broken into four sections: Community, Store, News Feeds and Settings.
In community users can view their Friends list, displaying which friends are online and within a game. This interface also provides full chat functionality as with its desktop counterpart. The same can be said for Groups, where there is an online player count and access the latest activity feeds for each group.
Friend Activity is similar to the activity feeds of groups, however it shows a chronological list of friends recent achievements and actions throughout Steam.
As with its desktop counterpart, the mobile iteration allows users full access to the Steam store catalogue, to browse titles and even purchase them using the app. The downloads are then added to the computer’s cue next time they start up the desktop iteration of Steam. The store controls also provide access to as users Wishlist to edit to-the-fly as well as a shopping cart of pending purchases and a search function to find games from Valve’s Steam catalogue.
Steam News provides links to a host of feeds, relating to personalised game news, major announcements, press releases, product releases and updates, Steam client update news and the official Steam Blog. There’s also a separate Syndicated news feed for top stories from other popular gaming sites such as Eurogamer, Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Any gamer who frequents the PC space equally or more often than the console space will likely see the appeal of Steam Mobile, with its diverse range of features and the convenience of carrying both the Steam store and friends list with them in their pocket. The capabilities of the app as a gaming service may not yet be fully realised, but as the app is still in beta, there’s still time for that to change. Available on Android and iOS, you can pick it up for free now.