Valve has announced the launch of a beta mobile app for its Steam digital distribution platform, available now on iOS and Android devices.

Before you get too excited, though, let’s get one thing out of the way: this isn’t an OnLive-style product that will let you play your favourite games while on the move; instead, it’s a mobile interface to the Steam app, providing you with an easier way to give Valve all of your money when you’re away from your PC.

Using the app, Steam customers will be able to chat via instant messaging, access the community groups and view user profiles, peer intently at screenshots and user-generated content, read Steam news stories and get alerted whenever Valve launches one of its wallet-depleting and bargain-filled Steam sales.

The Steam app comes from many direct requests from our customers,‘ claimed Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve, in a statement regarding the launch. ‘Seeing which of your friends are online and playing a game, sending quick messages, looking at screenshots for an upcoming game or catching a sale – these are all features customers have requested. Mobile is changing way people interact, play games and consume media, and the Steam app is part of our commitment to meet customer demands and expand the service functionality of Steam to make it richer and more accessible for everyone.

Sadly, the service is currently only available as a closed beta. If you want access, Valve recommends that youdownload the free app and log in with your usual Steam credentials; while it won’t work at first, that will enter you into the queue for access to the beta.

Are you pleased to see Valve adding mobile device support to Steam, or just wondering what a native app offers that a mobile version of the Steam Store website wouldn’t?