To suggest that Steam has been anything less than a massive success, for not only Valve but digital gaming as a whole, would be a complete understatement. Steam has offered up quality titles that everyone knows and loves, and they occasionally appear for prices that are both affordable and ridiculously amazing. The only downside to Steam is that it’s essentially limited to the PC and Mac, and therefore, relatively small computer screens.
It seems that Valve will soon be changing that, however, as they’ve announced a brand new feature at this year’s GDC that will bring Steam to your television. Titled Big Picture mode, details on the upcoming addition to Steam are still a little rocky — because Valve plans on going further into detail during their conference at GDC — but Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing for Valve, did expand on the general concept and plan behind the mode.
“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 PS3T, we’ve done just that. 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.”
Steam on televisions has some serious potential to shake up the brick-and-mortar retail realm of console games, and the fact that the virtual platform is already spreading to the PS3 seems to indicate that Valve is very serious about reaching out to those who are sans a good computer. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Steam will be receiving it’s own home console-esque peripheral such as the OnLive MicroConsole. That being said, it does seem like a logical step for the successful game developer and virtual media giant to take at a later point in time.
Steam’s Big Picture mode will also feature “controller support and navigation designed for television interaction,” so it seems that fans who have taken the time to connect their PC to their television and home theatre systems will enjoy this new mode. Valve hasn’t spilled all the details on Big Picture mode, but the company plans on filling in publishers and developers throughout GDC.
What do you think of the new Big Picture mode coming to Steam? Does Steam on a TV appeal more to you than Steam on your computer?