Valve Removes Game Purchasing Option From Steam Link in Hopes of App Store Approval

A few weeks after Apple rejected Valve's planned Steam Link app due to App Store review guideline violations related to in-app purchases, among other things, the company has made a key change to the app in hopes of getting it approved.

steam logo
Namely, in the latest beta version of Steam Link on TestFlight, Valve has removed the option to purchase games within the app. Instead, the app now informs users that games are available to purchase on a PC, or Mac, according to Eli Hodapp, editor-in-chief of MacRumors sister website TouchArcade.

Moments ago, Valve pushed out an updated version of the Steam Link app to TestFlight testers which […] removed the ability to buy anything through the actual app itself. When you connect to your PC via the Steam Link app and browse the store, the button you used to be able to push to buy things has been changed to say "Available to purchase from your PC."

Shortly after Steam Link was rejected, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller explained that it had "discussed these issues with Valve" and would "continue to work with them to help bring the Steam experience to iOS and Apple TV in a way that complies with the store's guidelines," in an email shared by MacStories.

steam link purchase pc

Steam Link app now says games are available to purchase on PC

Steam Link, unveiled early last month, will allow users to stream Steam games to an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV from a Mac or PC via a 5GHz Wi-Fi network or a wired Ethernet connection. The app, originally set to launch May 21, will include support for both the Steam Controller and Made for iPhone controllers.

In his hands-on last month, Hodapp said the app works so well that "it feels like there's some kind of actual wizardry powering it all."

If you're the kind of person who is always hungry for "real" PC-like game experiences on your Apple device, but have been dismayed by the amount of junk on the App Store, you can basically delete everything else but the Steam Link app. I'm still dumbfounded by Apple apparently allowing this on their platform, as I could see a very real situation where many people just straight up stop buying things from the App Store and exclusively purchase Steam games through Valve instead.

Valve hasn't specified when it will resubmit Steam Link to Apple for reconsideration, and it remains to be seen if the change will satisfy Apple's guidelines, but it sounds like the app is one step closer to being released on the App Store.

Top Rated Comments

picciano Avatar
32 months ago
Like it or not, Apple has been pretty clear about linking to non-apple-store purchases from inside an app. It's likely Valve knew better, but wanted to see if they could sneak it in.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
32 months ago

Like it or not, Apple has been pretty clear about linking to non-apple-store purchases from inside an app. It's likely Valve knew better, but wanted to see if they could sneak it in.

But is there any logical reason for this?

You can have text telling users to go to your webstore.
You can have a link that goes anywhere except to your webstore.
You can have a button that initiates an In-App Purchase.

Why not just allow a link that goes to your webstore?

I'd try pushing further it further to see how absurd Apple will get with their rules, or if Apple will finally acknowledge how arbitrary and ridiculous the rules are. Have a button that copies a URL to your clipboard then opens up Safari to a page that tells you to tap on the address bar and hit the "paste and go" button.

You're not linking to your webstore. You're just seeking the most seamless purchasing experience for your user possible, without forcing them to use Apple's payment system, and without breaking Apple's dumb rules.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
32 months ago
This whole thing is a little surreal. I remember the federal case made out of Microsoft pre-installing Internet Explorer and not offering their competitors free internet browsers on their OS. The idea of the biggest computer company in the world selling billions of computers inviting everyone to write apps for them, but then specifically not allowing their competitors sell their games on it... how is this not a giant antitrust goldmine? But then maybe at this stage we're just past all notions of that. Amazon can sell Kindles where the only way to buy books is through them, your ISP can buy movie studios and decide the only way you can watch movies is if you watch their content and advertising. Everyones local news can be owned by a single political extremist filling it with his ideological propaganda. And on and on it goes. If the people allow it, they will have it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mixel Avatar
32 months ago
If you want to buy steam games you can just use.. the other steam iOS app. I buy a lot in that already. I’m.. Not sure how this is going to work out. I hope apple let it through anyway.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dethklok Avatar
32 months ago

This whole thing is a little surreal. I remember the federal case made out of Microsoft pre-installing Internet Explorer and not offering their competitors free internet browsers on their OS. The idea of the biggest computer company in the world selling billions of computers inviting everyone to write apps for them, but then specifically not allowing their competitors sell their games on it... how is this not a giant antitrust goldmine? But then maybe at this stage we're just past all notions of that. Amazon can sell Kindles where the only way to buy books is through them, your ISP can buy movie studios and decide the only way you can watch movies is if you watch their content and advertising. Everyones local news can be owned by a single political extremist filling it with his ideological propaganda. And on and on it goes. If the people allow it, they will have it.

I don't know who's the biggest anti-consumer company right now when it comes to games. Apple or Sony.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bsolar Avatar
32 months ago

I would say Apple is more limited, but it when it comes to games, Sony tends to have a lot more exclusive titles, which may or may not be a benefit to the gamer. But I also like a lot of Sony’s exclusive titles that they offer.

Sony prohibits multiplayer with other consoles. There is no technical reason to do that and some games actually had cross-console multiplayer enabled "by accident" before it got blocked: it's entirely an anti-competitive measure.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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