Valve have released their Big Picture Mode beta, a free interface which brings their digital distribution platform Steam in to the living room. The update is essentially a new interface for Steam that has been designed for the TV, with features that will allow you to play any Steam game and access your favorite Steam features from your couch with either a controller or a keyboard and mouse. To access Big Picture mode, all you've got to do is connect your PC via HDMI to your TV and activate it.
In addition to bringing your favorite games to the living room, the Big Picture interface will also allow you to browse the web, chat with friends, check out Steam Workshop content, and more, all with ease thanks to their new virtual keyboard. The browser is also context aware and has auto-correct functionality. The company' has released a short video going through all the features, which you can check out below.
"PC gaming continues to be the leading edge of entertainment, whether it's social gaming, MMOs, graphics hardware, free-to-play, or competitive gaming," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "With Big Picture for Steam, we are trying to do our part to give customers and developers what they want - their games, everywhere, optimized for the environment in which they are playing."
Does Big Picture mean Valve's getting more serious about creating the next home console? Check after the break to find out.
The obvious question everyone's asking is what does Big Picture mode mean for Steam's domination of the living room? That's still up in the air until the company has received more research, according to Big Picture team head Greg Croomer.
Speaking to Kotaku, Croomer said, “What we really want is to ship and then learn. So we want to find out what people value about that. How they make use of it. When they make use of it. Whether it’s even a good idea for the broadest set of customers or not. And then decide what to do next.
“So it could be that the thing that really makes sense is to build the box that you’re describing. But we really don’t have a road map. And we think we’re going to learn a tremendous amount through this first release,” he said.
What do you think of Steam's Big Picture mode? Try it out and let us know what you thought in the comments section.