Valve recently had a fire sale on its Steam Link accessory, which sold for a meager $2.50 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday as Valve looked to rid itself of all existing stock. Forever—it's not coming back. That's a bummer, though in its place is a Steam Link app that is now available in beta, and you can use it to build your own streaming game device.
You won't be able to build one for as little as $2.50, not unless you already own the necessary hardware, but you can still assemble one rather cheaply. All you need is a Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 3 B+, and a little bit of code. Don't worry, it's not daunting.
To begin with, you need to make sure your Raspberry Pi is running the "Stretch" version of the Raspberry Pi operating system. It's been out for over a year, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you have all your ducks in a row, run the following from a command line (copy/paste the code):
curl -#Of http://media.steampowered.com/steamlink/rpi/ DELETE THIS SPACE steamlink_1.0.4_armhf.deb sudo dpkg -i steamlink_1.0.4_armhf.deb
When you copy/paste that code, be sure to delete the space as indicated (we had to add that to break up the long line of text, or else our CMS barfs and presents this article in supersized fashion on mobile devices). Once you do that, you can fire up the Steam Link app from the Games menu, or type steamlink in a command line.
"The first time you run it, it will download the full app and create a desktop shortcut, and automatically update as needed," Valve says.
The Raspberry Pi 3 is not terribly expensive, though if you have a little extra coin to spend, there are a handful of nifty kits available that come with convenient cases and other accessories. Here are a few options:
There are many neat things you can do with a Raspberry Pi, beyond just using it as a Steam Link. You can build a killer Amiga emulator, for example, or a Commodore 64, among a wealth of other projects.
As for building your own Steam Link, you can hit up Valve's forums if you get stuck, or just want to see what others are doing.