Steam is a household name — err, at least when it comes to gaming. Since its initial release in 2003, Valve’s popular distribution platform has become one of the go-to sources for anyone looking to download and install games on their PC, allowing gamers to play the biggest games without having to pick up physical copies in-store. And now, thanks to Steam Link, players can stream their entire library of Steam games directly to compatible Android devices.
The process is pretty straightforward, and once set up, you can play your games on your Android device with compatible controllers. Here’s how to play Steam games on Android.
Making the (Steam) link
Before diving in, it’s important to note that Steam Link simply streams games from your PC. You need to have your PC on with Steam running in order to stream games to your phone. The game actually renders on your PC, so you can’t stream games from your library that you host PC can’t run.
To begin streaming, connect your PC and Android device to the same Wi-Fi network, which is one of the base requirements for the feature. Then, launch Steam on your computer and log in using your account name and password, as you would normally.
Next, head to the Google Play Store on your Android device and download the Steam Link app. Launch the app once installed, choose whether you want to pair a Steam Controller or a different controller, and run through the pairing process. The app will guide you through the pairing process if you’re using an official Steam Controller. Otherwise, you’ll need to consult the user manual for your controller for specific pairing instructions. Keep in mind that, most of the time, all you’ll need to do is turn on Bluetooth on both devices to enter pairing mode.
Once you’ve properly connected your controller, select your PC from the list of available choices on the following screen, which will bring up some pertinent information regarding your network. You’ll also need to authorize you device. The Steam Link app will give you a code after you run the connection test. Plug that code into the Steam app on your computer to authenticate your device.
Tap Start Playing on the left once you’re satisfied with your connection, and navigate to your Steam Library using the toolbar at the top of the resulting page. Then, simply select the game you’d like to stream on your Android device and tap Play at the top!
As mentioned above, you’ll need your PC on and running Steam in order to stream. If you don’t want to turn on your PC every time you want to play, you can turn on your computer remotely using wake on LAN (WoL). Steam Link supports WoL, so as long as your computer can receive WoL commands, you can turn on your computer directly from the app.
Not a PC player? Check out our guide to the best Android games to stick to your smartphone.
David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.