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Published on May 20th, 2018 | by Kirk Hiner


Here’s everything you’ll need to play Steam games on Apple TV

Earlier this month, Steam announced the pending release of Steam Link, a new app for iOS, tvOS, and Android that will allow you to access and play Steam games on any supported device. In other words, nearly any game you’ve bought on Steam can now be played directly on your Apple TV.

Why would you want to do this? Well, if you’re used to gaming on a small MacBook, expanding to your widescreen TV can really change the whole experience. That’s not the case with me and my 27″ iMac, but my living room furniture is much more comfortable than my computer desk for prolonged gaming sessions. Also, if I’m playing a game that can engage multiple people, I’d rather they not have to crowd around my computer.

The Steam Link app is expected to launch this week, so here’s our quick guide to everything you’ll need for your setup.

  1. A Steam account, obviously – Steam is Valve Corporation’s digital purchase and download service for Mac, PC and Linux gaming. The account is free and easy to set up.
  2. The Steam Link app – As mentioned above, this is expected to be released this week. It’s already out for Android and will be available for free download to your Apple TV, iPhone or iPad via the App Store pending Apple’s approval.
  3. Compatible Steam games – Any game you’ve purchased that’s currently in your library is technically able to link to your tvOS or iOS device, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be ready to play. Many games require a keyboard/mouse combo to play, and that’s not the setup Steam is looking to replicate over the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad.
  4. So, you’ll want an MFi compatible controller for your Apple TV – As we do every single time we mention MFi gamepads, allow us to suggest the SteelSeries Nimbus. Not only is it compatible with Steam Link, but it also works with any tvOS game that supports MFi controllers. The official Steam controller will also work. Use that if you already have one, but we don’t recommend buying it because it doesn’t support MFi, greatly inhibiting its overall tvOS functionality (and because it’s considerably more expensive).
  5. An ethernet connection or 5Ghz Wi-Fi connection – Your Apple TV isn’t actually playing the game, you see, your computer is. The Steam Link app is simply grabbing the game video/audio from your Mac, Linux or Windows PC and shooting it (and the ability to control it) to your Apple TV. Pushing that kind of graphics-heavy content requires a speedy network. I’ve read some reports that beta testers have been successful with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, but if Steam doesn’t suggest it, we won’t either.
  6. And finally, an Apple TV. Steam has not responded to our request for confirmation on which Apple TV models are recommended or supported, but we imagine the latest 4th Gen and Apple TV 4K models will be your safest bet.

That’s it for the main requirements. Are you already set? We’ll have further commentary on the setup process and Steam Link’s abilities once the app launches. Until then, take this opportunity to explore Steam and see what games you might want to try out. If you’d like some guidance, Mac Gamer HQ has a list of the 25 best Mac Games of 2018 (so far and upcoming), most of which are available through Steam. For a more comprehensive list of game suggestions, check out their list of the 100 Best Mac Games Today.

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About the Author

has been writing for the Apple web since 1997, having served as editor of Applelinks and the Technology Tell Apple Channel. In addition to his work with BEST Apple TV, Kirk currently contributes to Mac Gamer HQ and Pure Nintendo. He lives with his wife and three children in small-town Ohio where the land is cheap and the air is (relatively) clean.

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