Steam 'big picture' mode announced

Couch potatoes rejoice, for Steam's getting a new mode tailored for television screens, complete with controller support.

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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."

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 28, 2011 11:00 AM

    Comment on Steam 'big picture' mode announced, by Alice O'Connor.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:01 AM

      this is awesome

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      February 28, 2011 11:04 AM

      This sounds cool.

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      February 28, 2011 11:05 AM

      neato!

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      February 28, 2011 11:05 AM

      Potentially really neat for people with HTPC's powerful enough to run games, or just for people who like to hook up their main rig to their TV's.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:05 AM

      Damnit, why do these links still not open in a new tab/window? Fucks up my whole chatty-reading routine!

      • kek
        reply
        February 28, 2011 11:12 AM

        ctrl-click, shift-click

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:13 AM

        Unnecessary on every other link in the chatty.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:18 AM

        I was just thinking the exact same thing. I MM-Click for damn near everything else off of the shack, this completely throws me off my chatty progress.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:21 AM

        middle mouse button

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:23 AM

        I just had the same thought. Consistency is good!

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:30 AM

        middle-click

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        February 28, 2011 11:38 AM

        Why are people left-clicking links they expect to open in new tabs in the first place? Always middle-click links you want in new tabs. Always.

        • reply
          February 28, 2011 11:46 AM

          links in any other thread automatically open in new tabs when left-clicked

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            February 28, 2011 12:28 PM

            That's fantastic but I still don't understand why anyone would left-click links they wish to open in new tabs. Everywhere else on the internet, if you want to make sure a link opens in a new tab, you middle click it. If you left click it, you assume the risk that it'll open in your current tab.

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              February 28, 2011 12:52 PM

              'that's fantastic'

              • reply
                February 28, 2011 1:07 PM

                I do say that a lot and it's sorta assholy of me, I should probably cut back.

                • reply
                  February 28, 2011 1:17 PM

                  i was just pointing out that shackers have been trained through the years that a left click works on links on this website. it's jarring to switch. the mouse i was given at work doesn't have middle-click functionality at all. <3 you toothrot

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                    February 28, 2011 1:31 PM

                    No middle click? That's a horrible working environment! :(

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                    February 28, 2011 3:27 PM

                    right-click + open in new tab? I do this almost all of the time anyway (no middle click on the laptop).

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:11 PM

        I had no idea they opened in a new tab before! I've always always middle clicked every link lol

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:10 AM

      Steam should totally start offering streaming media for your home network. Let me add videos to my Steam Library and run then videos through the XBOX on my TV

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:44 PM

        I don't understand this new comments system, did you post this twice or just once on the front page?

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:11 AM

      Summary: Like playing PC games on your television? Love the new mode Valve's making for Steam, which will have controller support and whatnot so you can play yer PC games from yer sofa more easily.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:19 AM

      This is great. I hope they make changes to the chat windows as well, it can be hard to read the text when I'm sitting on the couch.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:20 AM

      This is certainly not a bad thing.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:24 AM

      Odd that there is a second parent thread associated with the front page new story.

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        February 28, 2011 2:24 PM

        The whole frickin site is odd now :'(

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:25 AM

      I was looking for something like this just last week! AWESOME.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:27 AM

      nice! now yet another reason to get a new TV in my office!

    • Zek
      reply
      February 28, 2011 11:42 AM

      "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."

      Thanks a lot all you assholes who keep buying impossibly overpriced hats in TF2, you've doomed us all!

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:48 AM

        you know what, fuck it, they can have all the ridiculous hats they want. I just don't want gameplay changing items to only be available via microtransactions. I'm worried that other developers are going to experiment with this because they already do with preorder items.

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      February 28, 2011 11:48 AM

      steam is getting consoled lolololz

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      February 28, 2011 11:49 AM

      2012: Valve makes a game console with entirely digital game libraries.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 12:08 PM

        I'd hit that.

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          February 28, 2011 12:17 PM

          GAMING SINGULARITY IMMINENT...

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        February 28, 2011 12:22 PM

        Valve is a company I would trust to do this and do it right.

        I mean, here we all piss and fucking moan about how games are "consolized" and "dumbed down for consoles" and there are very well known egregious examples of this.

        And yet Valve released L4D and L4D2 day-and-date on the 360 with the PC versions, as well as The Orange Box, and no one has ever complained about it.

        A Steam Box would be excellent - depending on the guts it could give you PC-quality 1080P graphics, and let you share the same game in your PC library with this "console" (same way SteamPlay does this today with the Macintosh)

        • reply
          February 28, 2011 12:52 PM

          I could see it being a small form factor PC that's navigatable by kb+m as well as the PC capable controller of your choice.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 12:33 PM

        Valve releases the Phantom? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_(game_system)

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:07 PM

        The Steambox!

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:08 PM

        i want nothing more than this.unf unf unf unf unf

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:37 PM

        it should be named black mesa

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:49 PM

        And Episode 3 is a launch title!

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:51 PM

        THE CLEVELAND STEAMER

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        February 28, 2011 5:19 PM

        They should release a decently specced gaming PC say every 3 years that game devs could target and do extra QA for. The costs could be lower than building your own due to the volumes involved, and they could use Steam to install drivers and keep everybody up to date.

        If they did that, and it was a real general purpose PC and not locked down or bloated with other crap besides Steam, I would ABSOLUTELY join that party.

        Hell, just partner with an existing big PC retailer. Give me an $800 SteamBox every 3 years.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 5:20 PM

        They have a good thing going with Steam, why would they jeopardise that by entering a cutthroat console market with huge upfront losses and risk going bankrupt? There's really no space for fourth console, and I don't think they can squeeze any of the other 3 out of the console market. Valve will be a little guy among giants and will get eaten up for breakfast.

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        February 28, 2011 6:12 PM

        Nice. I think that they want to enter the market as standard software, pre-loaded on new HDTVs. That could turn out to be great, since they have Steamplay, that lets you play your PC software on your Mac, and they have the SteamCloud, that saves your individual preferences and saved game files online, attached to your account.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 11:51 AM

      Maybe I'm going to purchase that 360 controller now

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 12:01 PM

      Sounds nice. Now they need to work on getting Steam gift cards in retailers or even just offer them online. Anything that would work for somebody who doesn't have steam to give a gift, in a way where you hand something to somebody rather than sending them an email.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 12:02 PM

      OK, literally last week sometime (not sure when because search is down) I was saying that Steam should implement something like this. If you want to game from your couch surely Valve could add something to make launching Steam games like using a console. So, kudos to them.

      So, since I can get new things added to Steam*, what else do you guys want?

      * that, or it's that Valve tends to already be working on the thing I think would be neat

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 12:04 PM

        I want them to sell weed using Steam Wallet. If I can order it with my controller from the couch - even better!

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          February 28, 2011 12:16 PM

          It would be sweet if there was a pneumatic tube to load the bongtroller with steamweed

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 1:38 PM

        tv.movies.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 12:32 PM

      Great feature. These guys are kicking goals everywhere.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 12:45 PM

      I like the precedent this is setting.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 12:57 PM

      This is super hot. I love it. A lot.

      All hail our new Valvian overlords.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 1:15 PM

      hell yeah. I connected my gaming PC to my 52" TV to play TF2. it was a little awkward, but MOAR PLZ!

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 1:23 PM

      This is exactly what I need

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 1:33 PM

      Valve for president.

      Seriously this is blowing my mind. Steam.. on tv?

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 2:25 PM

      Kinda hoping this will lead to an OnLive-like experience but for JUST your network. That is, you can have your gaming PC send the gaming image and audio to a low power computer in the same network (and have that low power computer send the input commands back to the gaming server) where you play the game. One gaming PC as a server, multiple cheapo PC's in other rooms letting you get the game on with your home theatres, your bedroom setups, etc. If Steam facilitated this, we could trust it to work well and to be highly supported. It'd also benefit them in that it'd compel everyone to get everything through Steam just to have access to a rather unique feature.

      Every cheapo PC (just enough power to handle the streaming video content, the controls, and the back & forth) could have controllers and/or kb/m. Via a wired network, the latency for a network would be minimal, especially compared to OnLive.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 2:37 PM

      I love playing Left 4 Dead 2 on my 61" TV, just needed DVI to HDMI and usb cables for keyboard and mouse.
      What is it that Valve is offering to make that easier?

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 3:00 PM

      So we'll be saying, "what doesn't steam do?"

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 3:34 PM

      Hmm maybe they are going to release their own controller for games. They were hyping up those Razer Motion controllers.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 3:45 PM

      ATTN: people playing PC games on their TV's

      what kind of keyboard/mouse combo do you guys use?

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 3:50 PM

        360 Controller. But if I absolutely need to use a mouse and keyboard, I have a really cheap, but surprisingly good, wireless Logitech keyboard and a wired Razer copperhead mouse.

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        February 28, 2011 3:54 PM

        Cheap wireless set for TF2, MNC, and BC2. Controller for almost everything else. I can play DoW2 Last Stand with the controller using an X-Padder config.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 3:58 PM

        If the game supports 360 controller (and isn't a shooter) then I use that. Otherwise, I use my regular mouse and keyboard on my lap, on top of a "kidney bean" shaped flat piece of wood that is awesome.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 5:16 PM

        I have a cheap wireless combo that's years old. If I built a new serious gaming PC to connect to the TV, I'd probably spring for a nice bluetooth set like the logitech one.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 6:10 PM

        microsoft wireless keyboard, although I'm still using a wireless Logitech G5 mouse with a USB extension cord. haven't found a wireless mouse yet that doesn't suck for gaming.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 11:32 PM

        I'm using a cheap $40 Microsoft wireless mouse/keyboard combo from a distance of about 3-4 metres (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/ProductDetails.aspx?pid=131).

        I chose this one cause it's cheap and it was the most compact full size keyboard I could find with a universal wireless dongle, however If there is any interference or somebody walks between the transmitter and the m/kb the signal breaks up. The mouse also doesn't work very well at all on moderately glossy/uneven surfaces.

        As a package, even for the price, it's pretty shitty to be honest and I wish I paid more for a good Logitech one. If I was using my HTPC more often I'd have bitten the bullet and replace them already, even though it's only a few months old.

      • reply
        March 1, 2011 4:47 AM

        360 controller but a microsoft arc keyboard/mouse. small and light. great for lap/arm of sofa!

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 3:48 PM

      Seriously, this is fucking awesome. I do all of my gaming from my couch with my gaming pc hooked up to my big screen, and this has just made it so much easier on the eyes and being able to control it with a controller is just beautiful, delicious icing on the cake.

      • reply
        February 28, 2011 5:53 PM

        this is already on steam ?

        or are you talking generically ?

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 4:26 PM

      This i a great idea, but most of the time when i'm at my computer im using my wireless keayboard and mouse and will only take my controller once i start up a game.

      • reply
        March 1, 2011 6:46 AM

        Then your keyboard and mouse will continue to work when you want to use them. Additionally, the graphics alterations will make it more TV friendly and less of a hassle to read when seated farther from the screen.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 4:35 PM

      COOL O_O

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 5:33 PM

      The best news about this is that it means they are improving the really crappy interface they have now. It improved a bit awhile back but it still needs work.

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      February 28, 2011 5:39 PM

      all games *need* this feature. I loved the big/small interface choices in ARMA II, it made playing on an hdtv painless.

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 5:39 PM

      Excellent, now add rumble feedback for 360 controller on valve games plz!

      especially L4D2

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        February 28, 2011 6:23 PM

        or you could just get L4D2 for xbox. to be honest, having played l4d2 on an xbox with a controller, i would ratehr play with my mouse and keyboard.

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          March 1, 2011 5:58 AM

          I would if my xbx360 hadn't RRoD for the 3rd time.
          fuck this bullshit console

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 7:46 PM

      Windows Media Center did it.

    • reply
      March 1, 2011 12:04 AM

      This makes me realize that Steam buying OnLive would be pretty much the best thing to ever happen to PC gaming.

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      March 1, 2011 5:33 AM

      At last I looked ridiculous clicking on those tiny icons and rushing to my couch.

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      March 1, 2011 5:48 AM

      If there was only a way to transfer all of my PC licenses over to Steam.