After almost a week of its release in the Android Market and iTunes App Store, the official Android and iOS client of probably the largest online gaming distribution and discussion platform, Steam, is finally open to all registered Steam users, and not just the lucky ones with a beta invitation. The initial beta-only phase, as announced by Valve didn’t sit all that well with avid gamers all across the globe, especially those who already had a valid Steam account yet had to wait for an invitation. However, with the official Steam mobile app now open to all, you can access and manage your Steam profile, friends and groups on the go, chat with friends on the network (both in and outside a game), view their activities, search for games in store, view exclusive offers, manage your Wishlist and gaming cart, check out the latest gaming-related news, reviews and previews from the Steam network, as well as from multiple syndicated sources, and much more.
With most of the existing unofficial alternatives, such as, previously reviewed Steam for Android, now being pulled off the Market, Steam users are left with no option but to resort to the original app. It’s a good thing Steam didn’t leave out much while developing this app.
Although there’s no option for live streaming as of now, you can now hook up with your Steam friends, and interact with them in real-time right from within the app – a feature that was missing in most of the unofficial clients. The app opens to a screen that lists all your friends, friend requests and your recent chats with them. The search button at the top of this screen lets you instantly search for, and add friends from the network.
Another highlight of the app is the sidebar that houses as the main menu, much like the one that the official Facebook mobile client sports. It arranges options under five categories, namely Community, Store, News Feeds, Settings and Exit.
All your Steam Friends, Groups and friend activities can be accessed from under the Community menu. The entire gaming Catalog, search option, your personal Wishlist and Cart can be found under the Store menu.
The latest Steam News as well as news from various Syndicated sources including Eurogamer, Kotaku, PC Gamer, Shacknews et al can be found under the News Feeds menu.
As mentioned earlier, all the hot running gaming deals on the store can be found form within the Catalog option in the app’s main menu. You have the option to browse games within the catalog by Featured, New and Popular games. Tapping Specials on this screen lets you take a glance at games with the biggest discount offers. You can view game screenshots, trailers (if any) and details such as Key Features, System Requirements, and Feature List, add games to your Wishlist, or purchase them right from your mobile device.
To customize the app’s notification settings and manage your Steam profile, select Settings from within the sidebar. Tapping your username within the Settings screen lets you edit your profile and Privacy Settings. From the same screen, you can view your stats (Playing time, Rating etc), favorite Screenshots, Videos, Recently Played games as well as your Wishlist.