Valve’s long-overlooked Steam mobile app is getting a late redesign seven years after its last major update and now the developer is asking for beta testers.
The online gaming platform where people can buy and play video games on their PCs originally created the Steam mobile app to be a miniature version of the service that had most of the desktop features except you couldn’t play anything. However, the app was never popular. People complained about connectivity issues (opens in new tab) it is a disorganized user interface (opens in new tab). It was considered a lost cause until this recent announcement.
In a recent blog post (opens in new tab), Valve revealed that the new mobile app is being rebuilt from the ground up in an entirely new structure and claims that the app has a more modern design. It will keep some of the old features like the ability to buy games for your Steam account, confirm trades and get steam guard (opens in new tab) codes. New features include QR code login, “smarter notifications”, a more detailed library, as well as multi-account support.
You can sign up for the beta right now, but act fast as there are a limited amount of seats available. Valve is asking for feedback from its users so it can learn what people like versus what they don’t like and see what needs to be fixed. According to the company, knowing what needs to be fixed is particularly important as the app will need to work on different operating systems and devices.
The valve provided link to Google Play Store (opens in new tab) which will prompt you to join the beta program and download the app. Unfortunately for iPhone owners, the beta program is full (opens in new tab) at the time of this writing, but there are plans to add more slots as time goes on. Valve recommends checking again at a later date (opens in new tab) to see if there are any new vacancies available.
The process on iOS involves downloading the TestFlight app from Apple first and then downloading the beta app from Steam. In the meantime, Valve recommends participating in discussions that take place in your community forums (opens in new tab).
It is important to mention that to enable the QR code login feature, you will need to change your Steam client on desktop for beta version (opens in new tab). You can do this by going to the Account tab in the Settings menu and clicking the Change button. Afterwards, you will have to restart Steam to access the beta features. When starting, the login screen will have QR code option front and center.
testing the app
Be aware that you will encounter some bugs in the beta version. We were able to get into the program on Android and had some difficulties logging in. It took a few tries. Looking through the forums, login difficulty seems to be a common problem. Other than that, the experience was pretty smooth. Scrolling through the store felt as smooth and responsive as any other app.
All new features listed in the announcement are present and working. In addition to a Shop tab, the bottom bar includes (opens in new tab) a news feed, notification section, Steam Guard which houses the QR code feature and a typical settings menu. O renewed library (opens in new tab) gives you access to community features such as player groups you can join and personal game stats such as achievements. The sentiment on the forums is mostly positive, with many suggestions being floated.
Looking around the community, you will see many users asking for a chat feature to be added (opens in new tab). there is already one Steam chat (opens in new tab) on mobile that serves that purpose, but people want Valve to get rid of it and incorporate it into the new app. That way, people aren’t jumping between the two just to chat with their friends.
It is unknown when the improved Steam app will be officially released. Valve notes that it will continue adding people to the program and improving the beta until launch day.
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