Valve is arguably great at software, both its own games as well as its game publishing and distribution platform. It seems to have worse luck, however, when it comes to making and selling its own hardware. Steam Machines, both its own as well as its partners, have long been considered a failure now the other parts of its ecosystem are also falling to pieces. The latest to join that Valve hardware graveyard is the Steam Link box, which, admittedly, may have been way ahead of its time.
When it launched back in 2015, the idea behind Steam Link may have been as alien to PC gamers as Steam Machines. The thought of playing PC games on anything other than a PC was not only odd, it may even have been heretical for some gamers. It didn’t help that Valve slapped a $50 price tag on a relatively unknown and single-purpose peripheral.
Fast-forward to today, however, streaming games is no longer fiction cooked up by some companies. It could very well be the future. In addition, games that can be played anywhere, using whatever controls are available, has started to have some appeal. There are even some who might want to play PC games on their phones, without having to buy a special version of the game or pay for a special subscription.
Sadly, that change has come too late for the Steam Link hardware, so it’s no surprise that there are no more Steam Links being sold in the US and Europe. You might find some on retailers and resellers but as far as Valve is concerned, the Steam Link is dead. It will, however, continue to support it, though it doesn’t say until when.
The Steam Link hardware is also largely unnecessary by now anyway. Valve has already made a software version with the exact same features and more. Sadly, the Steam Link app is only available on Android for now, with the iOS version still under negotiation.