Apple might actually approve the Steam Link app with today's tweak

Was it all about the money?

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
2 min read

The physical Steam Link box, which wirelessly pipes PC games to a TV. The mobile app does the same for phones.

Nate Ralph/CNET

Two weeks ago, Apple crushed some gamers' dreams by rejecting the Steam Link app for iOS, which would have allowed users to stream games from their beefy computers to an iPhone or iPad. 

But today, it's looking like the Steam Link iOS app might have a real chance of being approved -- because Valve has unceremoniously ripped the Steam Store out of the experience. That leaves gamers with no way to buy Steam games through their iPhone or iPad, but it also means the app no longer breaks Apple's App Store rules.

When CNET's Lori Grunin tried an updated beta of Steam Link for iOS last night, she saw the gaping hole:

Why the heck would Apple prefer that? Presumably, it's all about the money.

Last week, Apple updated its app store guidelines specifically to ban "remote application mirroring" apps like Steam Link which include a store, likely because those apps would allow developers to avoid paying Apple their due. Generally, Apple gets 30 percent of any App Store purchase (save subscriptions -- those are 15 percent), but Valve wouldn't necessarily be giving Apple a 30 percent cut of each game sold.

We don't know for sure whether Apple will approve the app even now. Originally, Valve accused Apple of breaking the deal because of unspecified "business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team," not the new App Store guidelines for mirroring apps -- because they didn't exist yet. Apple created them retroactively. 

And according to MacRumors, Apple may have had other issues with the app. "Unfortunately, the review team found that Valve's Steam iOS app, as currently submitted, violates a number of guidelines around user generated content, in-app purchases, content codes, etc," Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller reportedly said following the initial rejection.

Apple and Valve didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.