Thoughts On My Steam Link

June 24, 2017

Moving in with Catherine has prompted a number of changes, the main being that my computer could no longer be the focal point of the room. Instead, it's relegated to the back corner of the living room which is absolutely fine for development work but less than ideal for gaming with friends.

Given that most of the gaming my friends and I do is through Steam I figured I'd give a Steam Link a whirl and for £12 it didn't seem like a bad deal. My main concern with the purchase was performance, reviews suggest it has minimal latency over a wired connection (in the region of 1-4 ms) but performs less optimally on a wireless connection. Our rented flat doesn't have any cable runs anywhere so I was going to have to either endure performance degradation using wireless or find some creative way to connect the Steam Link to my computer.

After a bit of investigation I discovered that the Steam Link works fine directly connected to my PC meaning I only needed a single long Ethernet cable (carefully snaked behind a sofa and book case) rather than connecting them via my router which would need at least two more garish Ethernet cables as well as some way of securing them over the top of the door.

Initial setup wasn't fantastic, and I struggled for over an hour to connect my Steam controller to the Steam Link. Rumour had it that you could pair your Steam Controller directly with the Link but I also wanted to preserve my pairing with my computer using the dongle. After a little bit of searching I found an article in Steam's Knowledge Base about doing exactly that the trick is to press A + Home when connecting to switch between the pairings.

Even after correctly pairing the controller it failed to work once streaming began, after a lot of troubleshooting I realised that the Steam Link's software was incredibly out of date (build 213) and that it would be unable to update if it was solely connected to my PC. After connecting it to my Wi-Fi and a long update process (~15 minutes) I had a working Steam Link and Steam Controller!

After testing a few games it performs reasonably well, I was able to play Rocket League without feeling disadvantaged and single player games play great as well. I can definitely foresee myself playing more games now I have a comfortable sofa to play them from.

See Also

Last Updated: 2019-01-07 00:17