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[Game-Time exclusive, no reproduction without permission! ]

Game-Time reports/For game developers, Steam, as the No. 1 PC gaming platform, is absolutely not to be ignored. Steam games generate more than $10 billion in revenue each year, and this year Steam has achieved a peak of 36.92 million concurrent users. More importantly, most of the Steam platform’s players are core gamers, and the user pool is extremely valuable.

Industry data shows that Steam has more than 10,000 new games launched every year.Not lackingHowever, in the mobile game market, which occupies half of the game industry, Valve is missing a piece of the puzzle. On the other hand, its rivals, Epic, have confirmed that they will launch the EGS store on the iOS platform, and even Microsoft’s Xbox mobile game store is already doing it, and Sony is also eager to move into mobile games.

Recently, there have been rumors that Steam has been trying to run the Android platform on Steam or Steam Deck hardware, but Valve has not commented or responded to this.

Valve wants to allow Steam to run Android games?

Foreign media WCCFTech reported that a developer named Bradley Lynch found that the data he came into contact with showed that Valve has been working hard to make Android run on the Steam platform, especially the Steam Deck device. First of all, it should be clarified that Bradley is not a person who makes a living by leaking game news or being a game news editor. He works for a company that makes XR/VR accessories.

Bradley found that this data was related to his work. It may not be illegal or prohibited for him to share this information because the information also appears in the Steam update list. In other words, this is all public information, but only professional data miners can find it.

The developer discovered that Valve had been working on getting the Android emulator Waydroid running on Steam for months.

It should be noted that Waydroid is an open source Android emulator based on GNU/Linux, and Valve’s SteamOS is also developed based on Linux, not Windows. In addition, the Waydroid emulator cannot run on Nvidia chips, but can run on Intel and AMD chips. Valve’s Steam Deck uses AMD’s Ryzen chips.

If Valve uses the Waydroid emulator or other methods to allow Android games to run on Steam Deck, in theory, developers can distribute Android games through Steam Deck.

The timing of this news is also interesting. In March last year, Microsoft announced that it would end support for Android apps on Windows 11. But not long ago, Microsoft announced and released a new generation of ARM-based Windows 11 laptops and tablets. In addition, everyone knows that Microsoft wants to launch a third-party mobile game store on Apple and Android devices.

For Valve, being able to run Android games on the Steam Deck handheld means it could potentially help SteamOS gain more users and make it a rival to iOS and Android.

Can SteamOS compete with iOS and Android?

The first thing to be sure of is that Valve has not responded to this news, nor has it held the developer accountable for the rumors, so it is difficult for us to determine whether this is true. Perhaps only Valve can give the most definite answer.

Speaking of mobile game PC emulators, there are quite a few manufacturers in the industry that make mobile game emulators. At the end of May, the global mobile cloud service company Now.gg officially launched the BlueStack Store and promised a 15% commission rate, making the BlueStack emulator another Android game channel on PC.

BlueStack Store

In addition, Google has not ignored the PC emulator market. As early as 2021, it announced Google Play Games, which has been launched in more than 100 countries and regions around the world, attracting the support of a large number of Android game developers. However, since it is difficult to count, we don’t know how big the market size of Google’s Android emulator is.

The second thing to note is why Valve uses an open source simulator instead of developing one on its own? After all, building a platform on an open source structure is inefficient. As a platform, Valve’s simulator also needs to consider the use of other developers, and has higher requirements for stability and subsequent R&D capabilities.

If Bradley’s news is true, then there is only one possibility: Valve only uses Waydroid as a shortcut to support Android games.

Game-Time believes that there are two most reliable options for adapting the PC version: one is for Valve to independently develop an Android emulator, which is more conducive to long-term maintenance and upgrades in the future; the other is to seek third-party support to make tools for Steam and SteamOS. In fact, if you only want to make a PC version of a mobile game, many mainstream engines already provide the function of directly exporting mobile games to PC versions, but many developers do not have too many resources and energy to do PC adaptation.

As for whether SteamOS can become a competitor to iOS and Android, this is questionable. Valve’s own hardware Steam Deck has not sold tens of millions of units, and it is still a niche device in terms of user volume. It is obviously difficult to get mainstream engines to support it.

Are players willing to play Android games on Steam?

Assuming that Valve confirms that it will support Android games, there is another important question: is playing Android games what Steam players need? Judging from the release of many high-income mobile games on Steam, the answer is obviously no. Core PC and console players in Europe and the United States are actually quite resistant to the free model of mobile games. Although Valve’s move can expand the developer ecosystem, it does not meet the needs of Steam users.

Another problem is Steam’s review system. On the App Store and Google Play, players don’t read reviews to determine whether they will experience a game, but Steam reviews have a huge impact on players’ decision to buy a game. Coupled with the lack of recognition of the free model by core players, it is easy to cause a collapse in the reputation of the game itself, which is unacceptable and unbearable for mobile game manufacturers.

Therefore, if Steam wants to support Android mobile games, it must make adjustments to its review system. This is one of the reasons why many domestic two-dimensional games choose EGS as their distribution platform.

Of course, most of the above are just speculations. As for when and in what form Valve will support Android game products, we can only wait for Valve to announce it itself.

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