Steam unveils their Big Picture

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I wonder if the folks at OUYA have just steamed their pants?

As much fun as it is to hit a few small games grabbed from a recent Steam Sale on my PC, it’s not something I’ll do often, due to the fact that I work all day in front of one. Plus, a couch is way more comfy. Well, Valve has heard the cries of the gamers out there who would rather jam some Torchlight while seated sideways on a sofa, as they unveiled their new project, Steam Big Picture, which brings the marketplace to the lounge.

The catch with Big Picture though, is that the service is being designed to run on a TV, using a controller interface. Keyboards and mice will still be supported here, but controllers come first, as Big Picture is tailored towards that interface, according to Kotaku.

The dashboard for Big Picture resembles a more streamlined Xbox 360 setup “minus the advertisements and other clutter that can make that system so irritating to navigate”, and also includes the pinwheel system for inputting text, much to the relief of many a gamer who has become infuriated in the past with the more traditional QWERTY setup.

As for games, they can be flicked and searched through based on the usual genres and numerous filters from Steam, while social networking apps from Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and Twitter will also be present.

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“We’re confident in some things that customers want. They want a full-screen experience. They want to be in the living room”, Head of Valve’s Big Picture mode team Greg Coomer said to Kotaku, regarding the move from study to lounge.

They want to use a game controller,” Coomer added, “They want to have a social gaming experience. And we have this platform that lets us ship a significant portion of that experience.

So what exactly does this mean for Valve, regarding the constant rumours about them going the hardware route, and releasing their own console? According to Coomer, there’s still no plans for a Sauna Box 720 from Valve. Not yet anyway, based on how well Big Picture does initially.

What we really want is to ship [Big Picture mode] 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.

Not a no, and not a yes either then. Still, the idea of playing Steam games in a living room is most welcome, and if Big Picture can streamline that process for a more user-friendly approach, all the better. What do you guys think though? Yay or nay, when it comes to changing rooms and screen sizes to play some Steam games?

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Last Updated: September 11, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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