Steam 'big picture' mode announced

Valve today announced plans to add a new 'big picture' mode to its digital distribution platform Steam, which it says "will offer controller support and navigation designed for television interaction." Good news for those who do their PC gaming from the comfort of a sofa, then.

"Our partners and customers have asked us to make Steam available in more places. With the introduction of Steam on the Mac, and soon in Portal 2 on the PS3, we've done just that," Valve marketing VP Doug Lombardi said in the announcement. "With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house."

Valve will be cluing its developer and publisher partners into the new mode at GDC this week, and hopefully John Q. Public will be allowed to learn a little more about it too.

Valve will also be sharing with partners data gathered from the Steam microtransactions system, which launched with Team Fortress 2's 'Mann-conomy' in October 2010.

"We've come to understand what type of content sells well in TF2's in-game store, and the various price points at which players value this content," said Valve's Robin Walker. "Our players are continually teaching us what works and what doesn't. Much of this feedback can be generalized to other titles on Steam, so we're looking forward to sharing what we've learned with partners at GDC. We're also interested in seeing partners get up and running with their own in-game economies, so they can collect game-specific data to inform their design decisions."