Hands On: Steam App for Android, iOS Closed Beta
Valve has launched a Steam app for Android and iOS, but currently it's in closed beta.
Before you get too excited, let's just clarify that the release of a Steam app on iOS and Android doesn't mean that Steam-based gaming is on the way. Instead, this offering is similar to the Xbox LIVE apps for Windows Phone and iOS which allows users to connect with friends and more.
In a hands-on with the current version for Android, Valve's Steam app weighs a meager 1.06 MB after installation. Once launched, it runs in the background and adds the familiar Steam icon in the Android taskbar. The app itself is broken up into five categories: Community, Store, News Feeds, Settings and Exit which can be accessed by hitting the menu button at the top-left corner within the app.
In the Community section, users can chat with friends, track their activity and catch up with groups. The Store section grants access to Steam's catalog, the user's wishlist and the shopping cart while also providing a search option for hunting down a specific product. The News Feeds section provides both Steam News and Syndicated news from sources other than Tom's (sad face), and the Settings section allows users to set ringtones, enable IMs and more.
The drawback to this Steam app release is that it's currently in closed beta, so it's not open to the general public quite just yet. Those who wish to join the beta just need to download the Steam app (free of charge) and log in to their Steam account via the mobile app to express interest in the beta. Gamers will be added to the Closed Beta as the service ramps up.
"The Steam app comes from many direct requests from our customers," said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. "Seeing which of your friends are online and playing a game, sending quick messages, looking at screenshots for an upcoming game, or catching a sale - these are all features customers have requested. Mobile is changing way people interact, play games and consume media, and the Steam app is part of our commitment to meet customer demands and expand the service functionality of Steam to make it richer and more accessible for everyone."