It seems like only yesterday that Valve declared it was making hardware. In reality, Steam controllers, Steam machines, and an odd little gadget called the Steam Link came out back in 2015. Now, three years later, the most useful of those devices is about to enter retirement.
While Steam machines and Steam controllers didn’t exactly set the PC gaming world on fire, the Steam Link—which lets users stream PC games to their televisions—was perhaps low-key the best thing to come out of Valve’s sudden interest in our material realm. It was straightforward, cheap, and did as advertised with minimal lag. Valve, however, has decided to pull the plug on it.
In a post on Steam, the company announced that its remaining stock of physical Steam Link hardware is “sold out in Europe and almost sold out in the US.” Once they’re all gone, Valve plans to “continue supporting the existing Steam Link hardware as well as distribution of the software versions of Steam Link, available for many leading smart phones, tablets and televisions.” But not, you’ll notice, to make more Steam Links.
There’s a software version of Steam Link. I haven’t tried it, but reports suggest that it’s not quite on the same level as the hardware. That’s a bummer—one compounded by the fact that the Steam Link app still isn’t available on iOS devices due to stalled negotiations between Valve and Apple over “business conflicts with app guidelines.”
For now, though, I suppose all we can do is pour one out for the little box that could. No, it didn’t set the world on fire, but it lit up our TV screens with PC games that actually worked. May others learn from its example—aside from the “being functionally discontinued” part, I mean.