When Valve announced the Steam Link app, I was incredibly happy — finally I would be able to play my PC games anywhere I wanted… But when it was launched, it came with a caveat:
The Steam Link app brings desktop gaming to your Android device. Just pair a Bluetooth controller or Steam Controller to your device, connect to a computer running Steam on the same local network, and start playing your existing Steam games.
Same. Local. Network.
However, I am not a man to take restrictions lightly. With a bit of Googling I was able to set up the Steam Link app to work over the internet. This is what I did.
Disclaimer: This is not supported by Valve and will require you to dabble with IP addresses and port forwarding. Though I think it’s pretty simple, it could easily not be — but what have you got to lose?
What you will need:
- Steam set up on your gaming PC (which I will assume is running Windows).
- Some games installed on said PC.
- An Android mobile phone — sorry iPhone fans, but Apple has rejected the Steam Link app at the time of writing this guide.
- The Steam Link app installed on said phone.
- A controller of some sort (I’m using the Steam Controller over Bluetooth — if you want to do the same, you will need to update the firmware on your Steam Controller to the latest version in order to enable Bluetooth).
- A fast mobile connection.
Step 1: Pair your phone with your PC
This step requires your phone and PC to be on the same local network. The easiest way to do this is when you’re at home and sitting in front of your PC.
- Make sure your phone is connected to your WiFi and your controller is paired to your phone.
- Open the Steam Link app — it will start scanning for PCs running Steam.
- Tap your PC and you will see a PIN to enter on that PC.
- Enter the PIN on your PC — your phone will verify the connection and you’ll be ready to start playing!
Step 2: Find your PC’s IP address
Easy peasy, this one:
- On your PC, press Win+r to open the Run prompt.
- Type ‘cmd’ in the ‘Open’ input box and press enter.
- In the command prompt window, type ‘ipconfig’.
- Look for the line that says ‘IPv4 Address’ and note down the number, including the three full stops. This is the PC’s IP address.
Note: The IP address might change when the PC is rebooted — you can stop this from happening by setting your IP address to a static address.
Step 3: Set up port forwarding on your router
There are a lot of different routers available, so I would recommend following the relevant guide at www.portforward.com:
- Go to www.portforward.com from any machine on your local network.
- At this point, your public IP address is displayed in the top right of the webpage — write it down!
- Click on ‘Port Forwarding Guides’ under the Router section of the left menu.
- Find your router manufacturer from the extensive list.
- Click on your router model.
- Follow the instructions on the resulting page, adding the IP address of your gaming PC in the correct place and selecting ‘Steam Client’ as the application.
Note: Your public IP address might change when your router is restarted — you could contact your broadband provider and pay for a static IP address, or use a dynamic DNS solution to bypass this limitation
Step 4: Ditch the WiFi
Now for the fun part…
- Go back into the Steam Link app.
- You will probably see the screen prompting you to ‘Start Playing’.
- Click on Settings > Computer.
- Go to ‘Other Computer’.
- Type in the public IP address you wrote down in Step 3 and hit ‘Scan’.
You will be taken back to the Computer Settings screen with no confirmation, but it should now all be done! Try it out, turn off your WiFi connection on your phone, go back into the Steam Link app and Start Playing!
Whilst the above will work to get you playing your games anywhere, you will want to find somewhere with a good connection! Signal strength is key, here — not enough of it and you will find that you experience input lag and dropped frames…
So is it worth doing? I personally think so, but your mileage may vary!