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  • Steam App for Android is a Good Start

    Posted on March 9th, 2012 Simon 1 comment

    I love Steam!  Last month, Valve Software released their free Steam app.  Steam is a multi-platform distribution hub for video games, with presence on PC, Mac OS and PS3,  iPhone, and now Android.

    Steam is a major success largely due to the dedication and support from the company that created it.   Valve has a storied reputation for being incredibly supportive of it’s community.  Of the thousands of games on Steam, many are free-to-play, and games are put on sale every day.   Twice a year there is a major 15 day sales event, during the summer and christmas seasons.

    Once you purchase the game, the files are downloaded and installed on demand, and should any official update ever be released for the game, Steam will automatically update your copy.   This goes a long way to increasing the user’s  satisfaction with Steam, because keeping track of and installing updates takes time away from being able to play them.    Let me put it this way, I stopped caring about whether or not I was using the latest version once I switched completely to Steam.

    Steam has similar features to XBOX Live, in that you have a Friends list where you can tag your fellow gamers, join games, as well as voice and video chat.   Steam also has it’s own achievements, but these do not carry an individual point total and as a result you don’t have a ‘gamerscore’ as you would on Live.

    Steam LogoSo does this Steam app come with all of the great features that the full version does?  Not exactly.

    Pros of the Steam App:

    • Store – You can browse the impressive catalog of titles for Windows and Mac, add to your ‘wishlist’, and of course purchase the games.  Purchases show up in your Steam client once you login again.  You can even purchase games and ‘gift’ them to anyone else on Steam.
    • Slick mobile interface – one of the cooler interfaces on the market, information is presented properly for mobile devices and not just scaled down to fit.
    • Steam Chat – So far only text based chat with a very similar presentation to SMS messaging.  Somebody, somewhere on Steam is talking about the game you are interested and this makes it very easy to follow or join in.
    • Friends List & Updates – You can keep connected with your Steam friends on the go, and keep track of their game progress as well.

    Cons of the Steam App:

    • No games for Android or iOS – They have already said this is coming soon, but this was somewhat disappointing to learn that not a single Android or iOS game is available for purchase. You will have to stick to the marketplace/iTunes store for the time being.
    • Can’t see your own Acheivements – Again this is another feature that is in the works, but currently you can only see your friends’ acheivements.
    • No access to Steam Forums – You have to use a different app to browse the Steam forums (like Dolphin).  This is important because many times before I purchase a new game I’ll check the associated forum to find a review, recommendation, or list of complaints, which can affect my purchasing decision.

    Overall this is a fantastic app if you are a Steam gamer, or are at least interested in shopping online for games.  Once games and a few more features are added to the app, it will be major competition for the Marketplace and iTunes stores.

    You can download the free Steam App for Android here.

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