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Steam Link won’t come to iOS after all, as Apple cites ‘business conflicts’

Published May 25th, 2018 10:16AM EDT
Steam Link for iPhone
Image: Valve

It looks like Valve’s Steam Link app, which lets you stream games from your PC to your mobile device, will remain an Android exclusive, marking a strange win for the Google Play store.

That’s because Apple decided to ban Steam Link from the App Store, citing “business conflicts with app guidelines.” That means iPhone and iPad users won’t be able to install Valve’s game streaming app on their devices.

Steam Link certainly turned some heads when it was announced, giving gamers the ability to play their Steam games right from their smartphones or tablets. But, while Apple does allow remote desktop apps in its App Store, Valve’s won’t be allowed. The company confirmed the move via Twitter:

Here’s Apple’s statement:

On Monday, May 7th, Apple approved the Steam Link app for release. On Wednesday, May 9th, Valve released news of the app. The following morning, Apple revoked its approval citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team. Valve appealed, explaining the Steam Link app simply functions as a LAN-based remote desktop similar to numerous desktop applications already available on the App Store. Ultimately, the appeal was denied, leaving the Steam Link app for iOS blocked from release.

Yes, you read that right. Apple did approve the app at first, but then changed its mind. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened when it comes to controversial apps on Apple’s App Store.

What are those business conflicts? Apple did not explain, but it may have something to do with the fact that Steam Link would offer users access to an in-app store that Apple might not be able to tax its regular 30%. 
If that’s not it, then it must be something more exciting — maybe a future iOS/macOS type of app that would somehow compete directly against Steam Link? And Apple, of course, would not allow any third-party app to replicate a core iOS/macOS feature.

We do know that Apple is working on universal apps for iOS and macOS, but we might not see them this year.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.