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Apple Has Rejected iOS Version of Valve’s Steam Link App

Kyle Orland, writing for Ars Technica:

“On Monday, May 7, Apple approved the Steam Link app for release,” Valve said in a statement sent to Ars. “On Wednesday, May 9, 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 says it appealed that decision on the basis that “the Steam Link app simply functions as a LAN-based remote desktop similar to numerous remote desktop applications already available on the App Store.” That includes an official Windows Remote Desktop app from Microsoft, third-party apps from LogMeIn and GoToMyPC, and many more. There are even streaming apps for iOS which use Nvidia’s GameStream technology to remotely play titles running on a PC, just like the Steam Link app.

There are two parts to this story, both of which make Apple look bad. First, Steam Link is more or less equivalent to a VNC client. It doesn’t stream games from Valve’s servers — it streams them from a Mac or PC on your local network. As Ars points out, there are plenty of other VNC/remote desktop apps in the App Store.

The second part is the yanking of the carpet out from under Valve’s feet, by first accepting Steam Link, leading Valve to announce it officially, before rescinding the acceptance.

Apple hasn’t explained its decision (yet?), but it seems pretty obvious they’re objecting to it on the grounds that it’s a competitor to the App Store for buying games, cutting out Apple’s 30 percent cut of purchases. I think that would be true if Steam Link were a way to stream games from Valve’s servers, but I don’t think it is for a LAN-based app.

Friday, 25 May 2018