Steam Big Picture enters beta today

Valve launching free TV service this afternoon for Windows machines with controller compatibility; includes Web browser, new "Daisywheel" typing interface; Steam crosses 50 million users.

Valve's Big Picture mode for its Steam service will enter beta this afternoon, allowing users to browse, purchase, and play all Steam games through TV sets they already own. The trial is free for Steam users on Windows, with a Mac version arriving at a later date.

To access Big Picture, players will need to connect their dedicated PC or Mac, laptop, or desktop computer to a high-definition television with an HDMI or VGA cable. Users will need Windows Vista or later to run Big Picture, as well as 1GB of RAM. For the full system specification requirements, check out the official page.

Steam users can play their games with either a keyboard and mouse or controller. Additionally, Big Picture adds a first-person Web browser, which Valve calls the first of its kind.

Further, Steam's Big Picture features a "Daisywheel" for typing messages and surfing the Internet with a controller. Valve says the traditional QWERTY setup works best for keyboards, with the new interface more finely tuned for use with a controller.

Lastly, Valve revealed that Steam has now crossed 50 million users, an increase of 10 million since January.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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120 comments
JAYSC81
JAYSC81

50 Million users and still no phone support.....

hmdcrazy
hmdcrazy

Well hello MR 52 INCH PANASONIC :) 

Earthbound84
Earthbound84

Something to do with my old computer. It becomes a console for free!

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

Do we really think if EA bought valve or if origin that EA runs was successful we would see these kind of innovative ideas from them? I really dont think so. Valve is taking a chance on some of these in hopes of at least doing something original.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

So to play a game I have to move my computer over near a TV and then when I want to play a game thats not compatible with this I have to move it back to my monitor? No thanks.

drsla
drsla

Show me the medals!

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

I joined the beta last night but some games still won't work with my controller. What am I doing wrong?

tgwolf
tgwolf

I am only excited about another streaming movie service in the way a student gets excited about another test.

nik0la2
nik0la2

Maybe it's time to give in to my fiancée's nagging and finally buy a TV.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

I might just give this a try, though I will still be using my keyboard and mouse because it's just as easy for me with my setup as using a controller.

matok1
matok1

Wow ..... Steam = innovative (tho it's off topic). I'm so glad to be a steam user, a pure win .

Amster_G
Amster_G

I'm really liking the sounds of this. As I have my PC hooked to both my monitor and HDTV, it would be nice to browse through my games and play them with just a controller from my couch without needing a wireless mouse to navigate through Steam.

nanosphere
nanosphere

This is great.  I have been using my gaming laptop with a 57" TV for a while now along with a wireless gamepad and keyboard.  One of my requests on the Steam forums was for controller support in the Steam UI.  Looks like they one upped it.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Steam is a market leader, it doesn't matter what they do,

they just need to point that out.

and soon other services will join follow,, Origin, GFWL, uPlay, etc.

then a lot of Consumers follow, then there will be a global trend.

 

and stop compare which is better between M/K and Controller/Gamepad.

 

M/K sucks at Fighting, Flight Simulation, and Driving genre.

Controller / Gamepad sucks at FPS, and Strategy genre.

Get over with, both is not perfect.

 

The whole purpose of the PC is to give people "OPTIONS", not strict them.

PC strict people with M/K, Consoles strict people with Gamepad.

the openness is that made PC as a PC, not PC as a Console.

stupid turd PC fanboys.

 

Big Picture is not useless decision, it breaks traditional wall.

and like I've said, Steam is a market leader, and their decision is influential.

contentxcontext
contentxcontext

going to give this a little trial, but not sure if i should expect much

 

Acidic__Thought
Acidic__Thought

What people don't seem to be grasping about this is that while you could always hook your computer up to a tv, Steam is hard to read from farther away. That's why they made Big Picture Mode, a 10-foot display to make it so you don't have to squint when using your television. It's simply a matter of convenience. Otherwise you're all right, it's not something special. I welcome the change. I used to play a lot of pc games on my tv, but they're not very optimized for the screen size, and using a controller was useless until you actually got the game launched.

squall_83
squall_83

They should combine this with something like Onlive or Gaikai. Then if I, for some reason, don't feel like loading down my hard drive with my games or I don't want to wait for them to download I can just fire them up and play them through the cloud.

Seryll
Seryll

Most people still do not know that present-day TVs are just large computer monitors and could have been doing this from the start. I still don't think people will quite understand that even with Big Picture. Its a good idea but I doubt it'll be turning enough heads to get enough support for the future.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

Agian what people fail to understand its not the end of consols or the end of pc gaming. It's the complete mixing and merging of the two. The differentiation of the two will not exist in the next ten years. Haters ganna hate. "oh I hate consols consoles are ganna be dead because steam is building a pc for tvs" I play my pc games on my tv, and I play my console games on the same tv. The only difference is that ms word is one and not the other. Get over your selves. But who I am kidding. The haters out there will find something else to hate and complain about, once pcs and consoles do finally become indistinguishable from one another. " I hate watches! I mean really! My computer tells time so much better!"

msfan1289
msfan1289

well Steam just needs to score a few deal with netflix Hulu, and some kind of free cable service to make this big.

tweezzzy
tweezzzy

gabecube + bpm = the end of console gaming.

 

welcome to the beginning of the end, mentlegen.

msfan1289
msfan1289

ok its official there is the big 4 Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Steam

hobotech64
hobotech64

It's cool, but it still needs work.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

So basically it turns your pc or laptop into a pseudo-steam-console. My pc is already hooked up to my HDTV, so what's the added benefit?

MuggySake
MuggySake

I can't see how successful this will be but it'll all be up to how gamers receive it. Still don't know if it's good or bad though.

jedediahpelland
jedediahpelland

I have been using my gaming PC on my 47" LED TV for a few years now. I just have a tv tray that I sturdied up a little and a computer chair in my living room with a wireless keyboard and mouse, or sometimes I use my Xbox 360 controller. Not sure why I need the big picture mode to play games with. My steam games run and look just fine the way its set up now. 

Tauu
Tauu

"Valve launching free TV service"

 

Darn, I thought Valve was giving me free cable TV.

starduke
starduke

Hello, Valve, I already have my PC hooked up to an HDTV to play my Steam games on, I don't need no dang Big Picture mode to play them.

 

You just need a video card with HDMI out, with the software that came with it set up for using an HDTV as a monitor.

Darnasian
Darnasian

So...You still have to connect your PC to the TV? I don't really see the point of this...

Well, time to get informed

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

Daisywheel should make typing easier now.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Particularly makes sense if Valve is planning to release a Steam console at some point.

Wizallah
Wizallah

 @tgwolf It's just a streamlined way of playing your steam games and browsing the web on your big screen tv. The interface is pretty sweet.

tgwolf
tgwolf

 @matok1 I don't even ascribe the adjective 'original' to Steam, 'course I despise intrusive, monopolistic and unnecessarily dominating game clients in favor of installing games myself and having a disk that doesn't disappear when I install a new hard drive.

edinko
edinko

 @Ladiesman17

 Well PC is always the beat because of the choice. Consoles are like a prison. You are stuck with what they give you. ON the PC you can choose whichever control method is the best for any given game. YOu dont have a choice on consoles.

ANd you forgot RPGs. They are either terrible with a controller or completely dumbed down for a cnotroller and alienate their original audience.YOu cant have a complex RPG like baldurs gate with analog sticks and the very very few buttons

Wizallah
Wizallah

 @Seryll Plenty of STEAM users are already playing using their big screens to play games. This just makes things a whole lot easier. A lot of people have been waiting for this. Plus if it's not for you, you will still have the option to return to the old interface.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @msfan1289 Technically, if you have your PC connected you already have those...

 

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

I guess it's kinda neat in that you can surf and do everything with the controller instead of kb/mouse.

hystavito
hystavito

 @starduke  I agree it's nothing new, that often happens when companies release things that allow these kind of "new features" that only less informed people actually think is new.  However, even for those of that do know better, there is still something new here which is the fact that display and control is tailored to use on a large screen while sitting further away and using a controller.  It's not new in general but new for Steam.

zulwalks
zulwalks

 @Darnasian This is for those that already connect their pc to their TV or those that want to hook up to their living room TV but don't because its a bit tricky to use the mouse while on the sofa. think of it as steam but just using a gamepad.... since its easier to use a gamepad from far.....i think I might install this to when I want to play racing games on steam on my laptop

Zazabar11
Zazabar11

 @GSGuy321 

 

Yeah I use my nvidia control panel already to play my games on my tv. This virtually does the same thing but what you just said. Now you can browse the internet with a controller. I guess that's cool.

edinko
edinko

 @Frosty192  @Ladiesman17

 Dark SOuls is not a complex rpg. ITs an action rpg which is reaggly good with a controller. I mean a classic group rpg with tons of stat screens grid inventory and lot of options. Not a button masher