Starting this afternoon, Valve is making it easier to use their Steam service on your TV, as they unveil their Big Picture Mode service this afternoon.
This morning Kotaku revealed the next phase for Valve, their Big Picture Mode conversion which will see the downloadable gaming service going head to head against PSN, XBLA, and the Nintendo eShop for game time on your TV. With the push of a button, the Steam interface will now be formatted to fit big screen TVs with an Xbox LIVE-style interface optimized for browsing and sorting through game collections and titles on sale.
According to the report, this isn't Valve's attempt to win at the console game--they're leaving that to the big three--but it their attempt to broaden the options available for PC gamers. The article also notes that the brains at Valve are keen on finding out exactly how gamers plan to use Big Picture Mode--specifically how regular Steam users will integrate their living room TV into their PC gaming experience (i.e. by dragging their desktop over to their set top, or buying a dedicated gaming laptop, etc.). Personally, as I've been getting more and more into PC gaming of late, I've been bringing my laptop from my workspace to the TV do do my gaming, with all of the requisite screen tweaking that entails, so I'm looking forward to something a little more big TV friendly.
A couple of the sweeter features on the way: a revamped QWERTY keyboard for your gaming controller (see below) that might finally make inputting text less of a hassle along with a toggle that will allow you to boot directly into Steam at startup. The article also says Valve is looking at auto-correct and context sensitive features for text input along with planned support for split-screen co-op down the line.
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