Back in March, we reported game developer Valve — best known for hits such as Half-Life and Portal — was “looking into” a Steam expansion for mobile devices. Today, we can see the results with the official Steam Mobile app for iPhone now live in the App Store for free. You can read more about Steam Mobile on Valve’s website, too.
With the free Steam app for iOS, you can participate in the Steam community wherever you go. Chat with your Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, read the latest gaming news and stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales.
Steam Mobile for iPhone brings the Steam experience from the web to iOS, allowing users to check on their friends’ status, chat, browse the Steam game store and manage their wish list, and even add new items to the cart. Judging from the screenshots — we can’t try the app yet, as it’s in “closed beta” — it appears you can easily open a game’s page and check out its description, screenshots, add it to the wish list or your Steam cart; the Catalog section has tabs to browse Featured, New, Popular games and “Specials”, whereas other navigation options are located in a Facebook-like sidebar that contains links to Friends Activity, News Feeds, and more.
You can download Steam Mobile here, but it’s likely you won’t be able to use the app right away as you have to “express interest” in the beta first. Steam Mobile has also been released for Android today.
The Final Hours of Portal 2 is a new iPad app that combines a 15,000 word article with lots of audio, video and other interactive elements (some never before seen) to tell the story of the development and evolution of Portal 2 - perfect for those of you who (like me) love Portal. It’s written by Geoff Keighley, who also wrote “The Final Hours of Half-Life” which kick-started his career in game journalism, and like that first insight, he was again given extensive access to Valve’s offices and employees.
It really is more than just a 15,000-word essay on Portal 2, the interactive elements and multimedia in the app is really done well, definitely exceeding what the Wired app does in its iPad editions. Some of the most interesting elements include user polls, failed experiments by Valve, insights into a shelved Portal prequel and early versions of that memorable end-credits song by Jonathon Coulton.
The Final Hours of Portal 2 is on the App Store for $2 and whilst it is only on available on the iPad at this stage, Keighley is open to expanding it onto other platforms and devices if the iPad app does well and there is demand for it.
If you’re familiar with the PC and Mac gaming scene, then you have most definitely heard of Steam: a game distribution platform by Valve that collects thousands of games in a single marketplace that’s easy to use and aggregates users worldwide enabling them to communicate through the platform. Steam, first released on Windows PCs, came out on OS X last year after much anticipation, quickly becoming many users’ favorite way of discovering and downloading games for the Mac.
Member of Steam’s forums Political Gamer recently visited the Valve headquarters and reported an interesting tidbit from his visit and talk with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell: Valve is apparently “looking into” iOS and Android as possible platforms for Steam’s expansion in the future:
After waiting in the lobby for a few minutes it turned out Gabe was in the office and wanted to say hi. To my great delight he was playing DOTA 2 when we walked in and from what I can see the game already looks very promising. After a little “sneak peek” we sat down to talk about Steam and other goings on in Valve. During this chat he confirmed that Steam will get a video recorder very soon, also he said they were looking into the iOS/Android platform for possible expansions with Steam. He also siad that the Source film maker is in the pipeline for a public release. After the chat was over he happily signed my copy of the Orange box and sent me on my way to Robin Walker.
The report doesn’t provide any additional details on Valve’s plans for a mobile Steam, and we only speculate that the development studio might be considering an iPhone or iPad client to check on your online Steam account and friends. Certainly Apple would never approve an iOS Steam app that lets you download and play games out of the App Store, whilst on Android Valve could easily deploy and alternative store like Amazon did (and got sued for the name choice). On iOS, Steam as we know it would be a difficult goal to accomplish: Apple doesn’t allow the installation of apps from alternative sources (the so-called “side-loading”) and the possible implementation of in-app purchases wouldn’t fit Steam’s growing catalogue of games.
Apple has turned its iOS and Mac App Stores into the perfect place for users to discover and buy games, and we don’t expect Steve Jobs to change his mind anytime soon about allowing other developers to “break the ecosystem” with unofficial app stores. So perhaps Steam for iOS will be a simple app to manage your online account? Or a “brand” for App Store developers to publish their games? We don’t know yet, but it’s interesting that Valve is at least looking at the possibilities offered by iOS. [via]
This summer, there was this friend of mine at the camping — Marco — who regularly came asking for my iPhone 4 to play one game: Zen Bound 2. He had become addicted to it since I first showed the app to him, and he turned out to be so good at covering creepy wood shapes with paint that I had to make him stop. Seriously, I uninstalled the app.
For those who of you unaware of the total awesomeness of Zen Bound 2, here’s the gist: in this game you have to wrap a rope around wood objects, the rope covers them with paint, you have to cover objects with a certain percentage of paint to complete a level. Absurd, simple. A must-have available at $2.99 for iPhone and iPad with Game Center support and Retina graphics. (more…)
Mac gamers, rejoice: one of the most acclaimed games for iPhone and iPad, Plants vs. Zombies, is now available on Mac OS X via Steam. It’s the game you know and love, available on your desktop computer of choice.
This “Game of the Year” edition also includes support for Steamcloud and a new feature called “Zombatar” which allows you to incorporate your own custom zombies into the game.
Check out the full press release below. [Thanks, Jack]
As Mac gaming took a turn for the better with the introduction of Steam and their fantastic offering of games such as Half Life 2, Counter Strike: Source, and Team Fortress, Valve’s feeling the love for our underrated gaming machines. As PC gamers sporting only the coolest of liquid-fueled rigs shake their heads in disbelief, Valve developers are having some heart for us aluminum junkies by sharing their developments with the rest of the gaming community. Joystiq writes,
Business development director Jason Holtman told GamesIndustry.biz that Valve will release some code to developers signed on with the company’s Steamworks infrastructure, in order to expedite the development of Mac games (and thus speed up the population of Steam). “So our Steamworks partners will have access to some of the hard work that we do to get our games up on Mac,” Holtman said, “and they’ll be able to incorporate that into their games — and our hope is it gets them there faster.”
Though now that we have Starcraft II, I can’t see anyone wishing for anything more mind numbing than blowing up Zerg scourge anytime soon.
[Joystiq via TUAW]