The Steam Link has quietly gotten a lot better since it launched. Thanks to a series of firmware and software updates, the diminutive little streaming box is now a valuable piece of gaming kit, thanks to better performance over wifi networks. Now, a new Steam Client version allows the Steam Link to stream games to multiple devices for local co-op play.
If you’ve got a 5 GHz wifi network running, the Steam link can now connect to several wifi-connected screens, which means you could, for example, play Overcooked 2 with your friends without actually having to be in the same room. Sure, that might be a bit of an edge case, but it does speak to the increasing versatility of the Link, which at this point is going on three years old.
The update also allows you to use an Android phone as a touch controller – according to the patch notes, to do this you launch the Steam Link app on your phone and tap to disable audio and video. I’m honestly not sure how this works, or how well, but it’s something I’ll definitely experiment with as soon as I can.
The latest version of the Steam client software also fixes a number of bugs and tweaks some controller features – for instance, now you’ll be able to switch the order of XInput controllers in Big Picture Mode, and Valve has fixed a bug where Nintendo Switch Pro controllers could lose input while rumbling.
I’m not clear on how useful the local co-op over multiple devices will be – for instance, how close do you need to be to the Link itself for your controller to work? And won’t you have to be looking at the same in-game picture anyway? Still, it’s a new feature, so it’s certainly not something to complain about.
If you don’t have a Steam Link, it’s worth considering if you’re interested in playing your PC titles on a big screen – however, you may want to hold off on buying one until the next Steam sale, when the Link is often bundled with discounted games and available for dirt cheap.