Valve Sees “Big Picture”, Brings Steam to Your TV

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News Posted: Mon, Dec 3 2012 2:06 PM
Valve just keeps adding features and value to its Steam gaming (and now, software) platform, and the latest is a doozy. The company announced the launch of Big Picture, which allows users to game on the living room TV with their Steam accounts.

The actual connection is quite simple--you can hook up a PC or Mac to your TV with an HDMI cable--but Valve built Big Picture with lots of juicy features. The premier feature is that Big Picture is designed first and foremost with game controllers in mind. Although you can use a keyboard and mouse with Big Picture, everything about it is optimized for gamepad input, from the UI to typing to Web browsing. Indeed, the Web browser uses reticle-based navigation, and the gamepad-friendly typing tool is called Daisywheel.



Of course, everything you’re used to having on Steam is there for you in Big Picture, including your games library, cloud files, Steam Workshop content, and preferences.

As is usually the case when Valve launches something, there’s a sale on games to accompany the Big Picture launch: Thirty titles that are ideal for gamepad control are on sale until December 10th, with some discounted up to 75% off.
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Read somewhere that big picture mode doesn't play nice with games that have launch screens, like Borderlands 2. Haven't tried it myself. Anybody know what happens if you actually try to run such a game from Big Screen Mode??

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fat78 replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 4:02 PM

I love steam.

I recently bought a couple HDMI switch boxes for my house and now I can switch my TV screen from my desktop, htpc, blue ray player and Xbox. Pretty much by steam adding this it has improved my whole set up. I can't wait to try this, I suspect their will be bugs early on but I suspect steam will fix those and later expand the features that big picture offers.

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I think it depends on the game. I loaded up DiRT: Showdown through the Big Picture mode and it went smoothly - except for one small thing. Because it's been a while since I last played the game, Steam prompted me to convert it to a more efficient format. The problem is that I had to click the "OK" with my mouse. If I was kicked back on the couch with only a gamepad in-hand, that would have been pretty annoying. I am sure that'll be tackled in the future though, because Big Picture can handle actual installations fine (like DirectX).

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Big Picture System Requirements

OS OS Windows Vista, 7, or 8. Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or newer.

Memory 1 GB RAM

Processor 3.0 Ghz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)

Video card Required / at least 256MB memory and DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0b, Recommended / 512MB+ memory and DirectX 10-compatible

Disk space 1 GB recommended

Internet connection Broadband recommended

Controller Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, Xbox 360 Wired Controller, or Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710 recommended. Keyboard and mouse also supported.

 

Got curious what kind of hardware requirements there were to push this sort of image.  Imagine if you're running one of them 4k displays at 80" (or whatever it was) on a nvidia 7200 or something.  I just couldn't see that bad boy delivering the image quality, or playback quality that you'd expect.

  Either way, this will be really beneficial for us PC guys, who are sometimes forced to sit downstairs with the family and play a console game.  At least now we could play say, Assassin's Creed 3 on the PC, then hop downstairs and grab the controller.

 

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OSunday replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 8:40 PM

My understanding of this was that BigPicture is still only PC compatible... so it's use in a living room setting are dependent upon having a laptop to connect to a TV or a computer driven HTPCconnected to a TV to take advantage of.

If big picture had the ability to run off of consoles, that would be absolutely amazing as it would make behind desk to living room transition so seamless since a majority of living rooms already have a console where their TV's are anyhow.

Also I don't completely understand as to whether what's going on is your "powerhouse" desktop is running the game and streaming it to you're TV through a media center pc or laptop, or whether its just using your HTPC/Laptop to run the games connected to the TV as a monitor with a tweaked interface for controllers.

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OSunday:

If big picture had the ability to run off of consoles, that would be absolutely amazing as it would make behind desk to living room transition so seamless since a majority of living rooms already have a console where their TV's are anyhow.

.

Perhaps you're on to something here.  This could very well be the beginning transition of Steam to our TV...errr console.  Obviously Xbox nor PS3 would ever allow steam to come on board with their own gaming service, seeing that they are set out to revolutionize the console market and possibly take money away from shareholders.

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OSunday replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 2:03 AM

That's why gamers everywhere are hoping, dreaming and crying out for the "steambox" console that they were supposedly prototyping but released and official statement that they weren't interested in the console business just yet.

BigPicture could very well be their "testing the waters" for steam on a console though... I know I sure hope it is and that the tests turn out well.

But you're completely right Dorkstar, Microsoft or Sony wouldn't ever allow that on their devices without sentencing their own physical game sales to death

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"Valve just keeps adding features and value to its Steam gaming"

Yes they do, all of the time too.

Steam is one of the better deals available to us.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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