How to Install Steam Link on the Raspberry Pi

In this project, we will be showing you how to install Steam Link onto your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Steam Link

Steam Link is a nifty technology that allows you to stream games from one device, such as your computer or laptop, to another device, such as a Raspberry Pi.

Using Steam Link allows you to easily play all of your games on your TV without having to connect up a bulky piece of hardware. As long as you have a strong network connection between your PC and your Raspberry Pi, the software works almost flawlessly.

Best of all, unlike the NVIDIA game streaming method, this will work for any PC that you can install the Steam client on. Additionally, you aren’t restricted to using an NVIDIA graphics card as it is not relying on a vendor-specific feature.

Before you get started, we highly recommend using an Ethernet connection for your PC and Raspberry Pi. An ethernet cable ensures the best streaming experience with minimal latency.

Please note that if you are using a Raspberry Pi 4, you will need to use a Raspberry Pi OS version with a desktop interface. For older versions of the Pi, you can get away with the lite version. However, we recommend using the desktop version for the best experience.

Equipment

Below is a list of equipment that we used when setting up Steam Link on our Raspberry Pi.

Please note that you will want to use an Ethernet network connection to get the best experience.

Recommended

Raspberry Pi 3 or Newer

Micro SD Card

Power Supply

Ethernet Cord

Optional

Raspberry Pi Case

USB Keyboard

USB Mouse

USB Game Controller

We tested this tutorial on installing Steam Link on a Pi 400 running Raspberry Pi OS Buster.

Installing Steam Link on the Raspberry Pi

Within this section, we will be walking you through the steps to installing the Steam Link software onto your Raspberry Pi.

This process is relatively straightforward as we can install Steam Link directly from the Raspberry Pi OS package repository.

1. Before installing the software, we should update the package list and upgrade our currently installed packages.

All you need to do to perform these updates is to use the following commands within the terminal.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

If you are using the desktop flavor of Raspberry Pi OS, you can use CTRL + ALT + T to open the terminal quickly.

2. Once your Raspberry Pi finishes updating, we can install the “steamlink” package onto the Raspberry Pi. Again, as this package is a part of the official repository, this is as simple as running a single command.

All you need to do to install Steam Link to your Raspberry Pi is to run the following command.

sudo apt install steamlink

This package is relatively small as it will download any additional software it needs during its first start-up.

3. For the next step, you will need to make sure your Raspberry Pi is hooked up to a display with, at the very least, a keyboard connected. Finally, you will need to interact with a few dialog boxes to finish up the Steam Link setup progress.

Additionally, now is an excellent time to connect up a game controller if you intend on using one. We have guides that show you how to connect an Xbox or PlayStation controller to the Raspberry Pi.

4. You can now launch Steam Link on your Raspberry Pi by using the following command.

steamlink

After the first run, you will be able to run Steam Link directly from the desktop. But for now, you will need to use this command.

Your First Run of Steam Link on the Raspberry Pi

When your first run Steam Link, it will need to go through some initial setup steps to configure itself correctly for your system.

1. Steam Link will start by downloading the latest version of itself for the Raspberry Pi’s hardware.

Downloading Latest version of Steam Link for the Raspberry Pi

2. When prompted to install some additional packages, type in Y, then press the ENTER key to continue.

Installing required packages

Once the script has installed any packages Steam Link needs, you should see a message saying “Press Return to Continue“. To continue, you need to press the ENTER key.

3. Steam Link will now set up some udev rules. These rules allow the software to interact with devices such as a game controller connected to your Raspberry Pi.

Udev Rules installed

Connecting to Your Steam Client

Once Steam Link starts up on your device, we will need to connect it to a computer. These next few steps will walk you through the initial setup process of connecting your Raspberry Pi to a Steam client.

1. The first screen will welcome you to your new Steam Link installation on your Raspberry Pi.

To proceed, click the “Get Started” button in the middle of the screen.

Welcome to Steam Link

2. If you haven’t connected a controller already, you will be given a chance to now. This screen will even help you connect wireless controllers.

If you don’t have any controllers to connect, you can click the “Skip” button located at the screen’s bottom-left.

Pair controller to Pi

3. Finally, we can begin connecting Steam Link on our Raspberry Pi to a computer with the Steam client running.

On this page, you should see a list of computers with Steam running on it. Find your computer and click it to begin the connection process.

If your computer does not appear, make sure that you have “Remote Play” enabled on Steam and have Steam running on your target computer. You can find this option by going to “Steam->Settings->Remote Play“.

Once enabled, you will need to click the “Rescan” button to refresh the page.

Connect Steam Link to Computer

4. On your screen, you should now see a four-digit PIN. This code is used to authorize the connection between your Raspberry Pi and the Steam client.

Enter PIN code to connect Raspberry Pi Steam Link to Computer

You should be greeted with a dialog asking you to enter the code displayed on your screen on the computer you are trying to connect to.

Dialog asking for authorization PIN to be entered on Steam Client

Once the code has been entered, click the “OK” button.

5. As this is the first time your Raspberry Pi’s Steam Link is connecting to that Steam client, it will perform a quick network test.

This network test is designed to find the best network speed to stream the video data without introducing large amounts of latency.

Raspberry Pi Completing Steam Link Network Test

6. Once the network test completes, you will be told how much bandwidth Steam Link feels comfortable using.

You can click the “OK” button to finalize the setup of the Steam Link software on your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Steam Link Network Test Completed

7. You should now finally have finished setting up Steam Link on your Raspberry Pi.

You can begin streaming games from your computer by clicking the big “Start Playing” button. This will take you to Steam’s big picture mode and allow you to browse your game library.

Starting Steam Link at Start-Up on your Raspberry Pi

If you would like to set your Raspberry Pi up as a permanent Steam Link device, it is possible to configure the software to start at boot.

1. To get Steam Link to start at boot on your Raspberry Pi, we will modify the autostart file.

By modifying this file, we will be ensuring that the Steam Link software only starts up once the desktop interface has become available.

Edit this file using the nano text editor by running the following command.

sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

2. Add the following line to the bottom of this file.

@steamlink

This line will ensure that Steam Link is started up as the desktop interface becomes available. In addition, the inclusion of the “@” symbol at the front ensures that the Raspberry Pi will restart the application if it crashes.

3. Once you have added this line, save and quit by pressing CTRL + X, followed by Y, then the ENTER key.

4. If you want to ensure that this is working correctly, you can try restarting your Raspberry Pi.

Restarting your Pi is as simple as running the following command.

sudo reboot

Conclusion

You should now have Steam Link successfully running on your Raspberry Pi. It should now be possible to stream your games directly from your PC straight to your Raspberry Pi.

Using Steam Link is one of the easiest ways to stream your games from a PC to your Raspberry Pi. It allows you to game on a screen such as your TV without connecting it to a more powerful machine.

If you are looking for an alternative that doesn’t rely on Steam, you should check out Parsec. Parsec acts a lot like Steam Link and works perfectly on the Raspberry Pi. It even allows you to play a local co-op game across the internet with others.

If you have run into any issues with getting Steam Link running on your Raspberry Pi, please comment below.

Be sure to check out some of our other great Raspberry Pi projects, such as running retro games on your device.

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