Released in May 2018 and still in BETA phase at the time of this writing, Steam Link for Android allows you to stream Steam games from your Windows or Mac computer to your Android device.
Setting up Steam Link and streaming games to your Android is a two-part process where in the first part you configure Steam on your computer, and in the second part you install and set up the Steam Link app on your Android device.
As long as your gaming PC and Android smart device are on the same network, setting up Steam Link is simple.
Part 01: Configure Steam on PC (A Windows 10 Computer Is Used Here for Demonstration)
■Get to Steam’s Settings box
Double-click the Steam icon (or locate and click Steam from the Start menu), click Steam from the top, and click Settings from the menu that appears. This opens the Settings box for Steam. From here you can configure all the settings for the program.
Click In-Home Streaming from the category list in the left, and make sure that the Enable streaming box is checked. This ensures that Steam on your PC is ready to stream games to other devices. By default the Enable streaming box is checked. But if it isn’t, you must do so manually.
■Configure display (Optional) (For NVIDIA users)
Click the ADVANCED HOST OPTIONS button, check the Use NVFBC capture on NVIDIA GPU box, and click OK. This optional configuration gives better video quality while streaming. However, the option is only useful when your computer has NVIDIA graphics card.
■Define streaming quality
Choose your preferred radio button (Beautiful for this example) from the Client options section. This gives you optimum streaming experience on the client device (an Android device in this case). Depending on your network connection quality, you may even choose Fast or Balanced that require least bandwidth but offer not-up-to-the-mark streaming quality, or consume average bandwidth and provides acceptable streaming quality respectively.
■Click OK to save the changes
Part 02: Set Up Android Device
- ■Install Steam Link
Launch Play Store on your Android smart device, tap inside the search box at the top, search for Steam Link, tap Steam Link (BETA) from the suggested options, and tap INSTALL on the STEAM LINK page. This installs the Steam Link app on your Android device. Even though still in BETA phase, Steam Link can stream the games from your gaming PC on to your Android device smoothly.
■Launch Steam Link
Tap OPEN on the STEAM LINK page upon installation. This turns your Android’s screen in landscape orientation, and comes up with the Steam Link’s welcome window. From here you can continue setting up Steam Link on your Android device.
■Manage gaming controllers
Tap Get Started on the welcome window, tap Skip, and tap Continue on the next window. This temporarily suspends the controller pairing process and takes you to the next step. Alternatively, you can tap any of the controller setup tiles to pair its respective controller with the device at this point. If you skip the process as demonstrated in this example, you can pair the controller later in Settings.
■Authorize and connect to the PC
Tap the tile representing your gaming PC (DESKTOP-MAIN for this example) on the Connect to Computer window, note the PIN that appears on the screen, get to gaming computer, enter the PIN the Authorize Device field, and click OK. This authorizes your Android device, and tells Steam on your gaming PC that the device that is attempting to connect for streaming is authentic. The PIN generated on your Android device is unique for each setup session. Also, authorizing your device is a one-time process that needs to be done only while setting up Steam Link on your Android after installation.
Note: If you can’t find your gaming PC’s tile on the Connect to Computer window, you can either tap Rescan or Other Computer button to make Steam Link perform a new network scan to check if the PC is available, or manually enter your gaming computer’s host name or IP address to locate it respectively.
■Network connection test
Wait while Steam Link tests your network connection, tap OK on the Network Test Complete box, and tap OK again on the Warning: Unknown Device box. Taping OK on the Network Test Complete box confirms that the connection between your Android device and gaming computer is good enough to stream the games. However, the Warning: Unknown Device box informs that the since Steam Link cannot identify the device and neither could it determine its performance, it is unable to specify how well would it stream.
■Learn touch gestures
Tap Start Playing on the next window. This takes you to the Touch Controls window. You can note down the touch gestures displayed here. These gestures can be used on your Android device to mimic keyboard and mouse actions.
Note: Optionally, before tapping Start Playing, you can even tap the Settings button to manage streaming quality, pair a controller, test the network connection, or locate another gaming computer.
Tap Continue on the Touch Controls window once you’ve noted or memorized the touch gestures. This connects your Android device to the gaming PC, and starts streaming the Steam interface from your computer to your smart device. From this point onward, you can start streaming and playing your favorite games on your Android smartphone or tablet.