Valve says Apple has denied approval for the iOS version of its Steam Link app—which allows users to stream PC games from a computer on the same home network—after Apple initially approved the app earlier this month.
“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.
Despite that, “Ultimately, that appeal was denied, leaving the Steam Link app for iOS blocked from release,” Valve says. “The team here spent many hours on this project and the approval process, so we’re clearly disappointed. But we hope Apple will reconsider in the future.”
While the Steam Link app doesn’t have any built-in functionality allowing for direct game purchases, users can easily buy and download Steam games to the connected PC through the Big Picture mode interface while connected through the app. It’s plausible this functionality ran afoul of Apple’s guidelines, which require a 30-percent revenue share for any “in-app purchases.”
A Business of Apps analysis estimated that games were responsible for 49% of all iOS App Store revenues in 2017, bringing in billions of dollars in fees for Apple. The free Steam Link app, on the other hand, would not have provided any direct revenue to Apple while competing directly for attention with downloadable iOS games.
Ars tested a beta version of the Steam Link app on iOS last week and found it provided a passable remote gaming experience away from the PC, depending on your home network setup. The app has been available on Android devices since May 17.
An Apple representative was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica.