Third-party Steam apps muscled out of the Market

January 30, 2012
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A lot of gamers got excited when the mobile Steam app was released last week for iOS and Android. (At least until they tried to log in and found out they weren't part of the inner Beta circle.) But now it seems that dozens of unofficial Steam apps, including the pretty awesome application from IBF Programs featured on Android Community a month ago. There's no word from Google or Valve, the creators and administrators of Steam, but it's a good bet that the publisher and retailer has at least some say in the proceedings.

Within the last 24 hours, nearly all of the Steam apps in the Android Market have disappeared. The exception seems to be Staticon for Steam, though it isn't clear why this application has remained. Droid Gamers notes that the apps in question use the Steam API, which is publicly available to anyone - by the admittedly loose standards of mobile development, that would seem to be free license to make an app that takes advantage of the API. It might be that the apps that have been removed were taken down due to copyright claims (featuring "steam" too prominently in the title of the app, for instance) but the takedown has happened so quickly and completely that it could only have happened with Google's help.

The frustrating part of this for developers is that Steam has arrived late to the game, and assuming that they're responsible for the removals, acted with little or no warning. The frustrating part for Steam users is that the mobile app is still locked behind a closed beta (though you can get in fairly easily - just log in and you're put on the short list). We will almost certainly hear more from the developers of the affected apps this week, and hopefully an official explanation from Valve.


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