Steam’s Big Picture mode out of beta

It’s official: Steam’s Big Picture mode is finally ready for prime time. The couch-friendly user interface for Valve’s game and content distribution service was revealed more than a year ago and has been in open beta since September. Today, it becomes available in the standard Steam client.

In addition to a supersized interface that’s easily readable from the couch, Big Picture mode includes some controller-specific enhancements. There’s a “first-person web browser” optimized for use with typical game controllers. Valve has also come up with a custom on-screen keyboard to simplify text input for gamepads. More new features are promised, but that’s all that’s available right now. Users should still have access to all the features they’d usually expect from Steam.

Big Picture mode provides access to the Steam store and your entire library of games. However, only certain titles will work properly with game controllers. True to form, Valve has launched a celebration sale filled with discounts on controller-friendly games. Included in the mix: Limbo, Mark of the Ninja, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Portal 2. Almost 400 games on Steam offer at least partial controller support, although only a handful are part of the sale.

I’ve used Big Picture mode a fair bit since September, and I like it a lot. The interface looks good, everything seems well-organized, and I haven’t had any issues playing or purchasing games. Admittedly, I haven’t spent much time with the browser or the funky, controller-based text input. My tablet is better for web surfing, and I have a wireless keyboard for text input. I still have to give Valve credit for doing something different in its bid for the living room, though. Big Picture mode would work nicely with that Steam console we’ve been hearing rumors about.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Steambox can diaf. That is just a new set of self-imposed hardware limitations for gaming. It would completely blur all the lines between the PC and consoles and would be a detriment to PC gaming in general. I’m sure it would make Valve a lot of money, but it would kill of PC gaming at the heart as PC gaming would then have a ‘baseline’ as well as consoles.

    HTPCs cover anything the steambox would only they’re all different so there is no baseline game developers can simply develop for and call it good.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 7 years ago

      We already have a baseline, and that’s console ports. Adding a second “baseline” along the lines of a 660 TI wouldn’t hurt PC gaming any more than consoles already are. Big Picture doesn’t even set any hardware requirements, it just allows you to take whatever box and game on it, which makes things convenient for PC gamers who want to game on the couch. There is no downside whatsoever, outside of invalid speculative FUD.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        hmmm… you found time to reply to this one, but not to explain your previous posts or how volcanoes produce more co2 than people. Why is that ?

          • yogibbear
          • 7 years ago

          Because they do. Being a meat eater I am carbon neutral as I stop cows farting.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            Lolirl

          • l33t-g4m3r
          • 7 years ago

          Environmentalism is a scam. Why do we recycle paper? That actually causes more pollution than it offsets, with dangerous chemicals and trucks that cart paper around. The real reason is that the gov. subsidizes it, and anything that gets special status will get taken advantage of. Why else is there ethanol in gas, and HFCS in pop instead of sugar? This country hasn’t had real freedom in over 100 years, so shove it. I don’t respect you or your agenda, and I’m not going to ever acknowledge any of your points even if you’re slightly right, because the entire system is skewed towards socialism, and the justification of socialism, so stop attempting to convert me because it’s not gonna happen. The only exception would be a bipartisan or neutral issue.

          The only reason conservatism lost is because we don’t believe in printing fiat money. If we had a central bank to counterfeit billions of dollars through bailout scams, socialism wouldn’t exist. But since conservatism is based on morality, that’ll never happen. Next stop, thumb-printing with the mark of the beast to buy and sell.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            You can’t even approach reality. Explain volcanoes, or admit that line is bs. Once you do that, we can talk about fiat money and the fed. Not until. Everything else you post until you acknowledge that makes you look crazier.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            i also wanted to call you out on your recycling paper creates more pollution point. link, please, if you have one.

            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_recycling#Energy[/url<] it can use slightly more energy, but total pollution falls. please read and note [quote<] The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that recycling causes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than making virgin paper. [/quote<] so, you can't explain volcanoes, hopefully you can explain your previous statement about recycling paper. if not, hopefully the fact you've seen the science you can reexamine your opinions and spread truth in the future.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        PC gaming is definitive by not being defined. There is no baseline for PC gaming and a steambox would add one. Thus crushing innovation and the desire to continue moving things ahead in the PC genre (which is one of its notable qualities). The only way this wouldn’t happen is if people didn’t adopt the steambox and it didn’t become a major player in the PC gaming arena.

        I never said this had anything to do with Big Picture.

        Console ports != PC gaming.

    • PixelArmy
    • 7 years ago

    Testing with a mouse… When I use the scroll wheel on the “View all games” screen (as pictured above), if I scroll past the first or last game, it sets the focus on the filter (recent, all, installed, etc.). Once that happens you can no longer scroll unless you click back in the grid…

    Happen to anyone else?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah you’re right. That needs to change.

      Maybe it works differently with a controller instead of a mouse?

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      I tried it with a mouse and replicated this with my middle mouse button. Then I plugged in my 360 controller and it doesn’t do this. It keeps the last game in the list highlighted and you are able to scroll back. The 360 pad also does things better because taping UP on the analogue stick glides you through those menus… I presume you could just tap down arrow on a keyboard. (EDIT: checked this and that works too) So it seems to do the best behaviour for control interpretation based on input used. i.e. I think it is working as intended.

        • PixelArmy
        • 7 years ago

        I also tried w/ a controller and keyboard, so I the get the different “levels” and tapping up/down to move between them. I just find it wrong that you can transition to the menu w/ mouse, but not back…

          • yogibbear
          • 7 years ago

          But you’ve got a mouse… so you can click….

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 7 years ago

    Did anyone else notice the Alienware X51 ad in the back of Game Informer with Big Picture? This has potential to eat into the console market, especially since console hardware has stagnated.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      potential? maybe in 10 years. still too expensive and not “appliancy” enough.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 7 years ago

        Only because the hardware isn’t subsidized. You can easily offset the hardware cost on steam sales vs $60 console games. Your “appliancy” statement is a staw man argument since computers can be “appliancy” as you make them. Hook a small pc with windows 8 and a 360 controller up to a big screen and you’ve got “appliancy”.
        [url<]https://www.pcworld.com/article/249382/alienware_x51_review_the_little_pc_that_could.html[/url<] [url<]https://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51/pd[/url<] There's plenty of talk among console gamers about PC gaming. They just need the right motivation to switch.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          that depends. you COULD build a linux box like xmbc that ONLY runs steam, but then, what’s the point? you might as well buy an xbox at that point. the more features and freedom you have, the more room to break.

          volcanoes.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 7 years ago

            The POINT is GAMES, and it doesn’t have to run linux. The alienware x51 isn’t running linux, and you’re pulling these nonsense straw man arguments out of SSK land where none of these points are even remotely valid.

            PC gamers exist, and are perfectly content with their platform. All Big Picture does is EXTEND that platform into console territory. You aren’t thinking in reality here, SSK. But then, when have you ever done so?

            PC gaming can easily eliminate the console barriers of hardware and platforms. The only real problem is coming up with a good hardware / software combo, which shouldn’t be a problem today. Alienware could pull this off.

            Windows 8 is also the cheapest windows ever released, it’s not going to add a lot of additional cost to a prebuilt system. The OS is a non-argument, and you don’t have to use it as a PC if you don’t want to.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            what? you’re suggesting that they should install windows on it? then wtf is the point?! you can buy a computer now with windows. alienware already makes the x51, if that’s all there is to it then it should be selling like crazy. you can buy an x51 put steam and big picture on it. somehow i think it’s not enough. i don’t see people abandoning xbox or ps3 for it. you let me know if that happens.

            my points weren’t straw men. they were on point. people buy consoles BECAUSE THEY’RE EASY AND CHEAP. the x51 is neither of those if it’s running windows. the ONLY way it makes ANY CHANGE is if you’re talking about a pc running a locked down OS so it can function as an appliance, like an xbox. otherwise, this is just ANOTHER pc. which isn’t going to touch xbox or ps3. nm at $699 for the low end.

            [quote<] You aren't thinking in reality here, SSK. But then, when have you ever done so? [/quote<] you really shouldn't say things like that when you can't even prove your volcano points. prove that, and i'll NEVER criticize you again. I promise. otherwise, quit pretending I'M the crazy one.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    Now all we need is to end hardware specific game development (i.e. consoles), and get game developers to make software OS specific game development (i.e. Linux, Windows and Mac OS X versions of games).

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Hmm, you mean like MS is doing with their cross-platform development tools? Just need to recompile to run across Windows platforms, I bet that will go for the next XBox too.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        nope. that’s bad. he’s talking about what apple is doing with the app stores on each OS.

          • jdaven
          • 7 years ago

          Actually I’m talking about Steam. The only cross-OS platform for buying games digitally. Both Apple and MS can suck it.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            GET OUT.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    tbh i don’t really get this. unless you have a decent gpu sitting in your htpc (which are typically louder than you’d want in a htpc) i fail to see the point of this beyond trine or some other indie game. i mean, my kids play viva pinata on my htpc with an xbox controller, and my integrated gpu will run super street fighter iv, but honestly i don’t see this as being that exciting.

    you still also want a mouse or controller or smartphone to handle everything non-steam related on your machine {unless you use a controller mapping app, which aren’t THAT amazing. i abandoned xpadder for a dedicated mini keyboard/mouse device}, since steam doesn’t do media viewing.

    I don’t see why this would take any market from the xbox’s or ps3. i mean, if you don’t have one, and are looking to do some pc gaming AND ALREADY HAVE A HTPC then it might make some sense, but if you’re looking to stream some video and do some gaming, i fail to see this as more attractive than an xbox or ps3. you lose the ease of use and game library, have a higher cost, all the other pc gaming issues (see fred’s cartoon {btw what happened to him??!?! i like his cartoons scott! bring him back! he has at least one fan!} for the issues with pc gaming).

    seems like a small market to be messing in when the could be focusing on improving other areas. but what do i know, i’m just a nerd online that got fired from his job on TR.

    tldnr = ssk has huge muscles, and all the props from all the TR regulars.

      • bjm
      • 7 years ago

      I can’t hear you over that wall.

      All caps please.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        i’ll see if paragraphs can help!

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 7 years ago

          My HTPC happens to have an Ivy Bridge processor and a Radeon HD7770 GPU. A little occasional gaming is fine.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            is the 7770 silent? i removed my dedicated gpu in mine because it was too loud. the hd4000 is ok for light gaming, but i wouldn’t want to play bf3 on it. and i might add, it likely cost you a HECK of a lot more than an xbox. i also have a htpc, but it isn’t because it was the cheapest or easiest route. it’s because i’m a guy who likes messing with computers.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 7 years ago

            The Radeon HD7770 is totally silent when the HTPC is in sleep mode, which it most frequently is.

            The Radeon HD7770’s GPU cooler is inaudible when it is in low-power standby with the display off (as it normally is while recording). All of the Radeon HD7xxxx series have this special low-power state.
            [url<]https://techreport.com/review/22473/amd-radeon-hd-7770-ghz-edition/8[/url<] The GPU doesn't pull much more power or generate noticeable noise when it's playing back a recorded TV program. When I'm gaming, I know that the GPU fan makes a small amount of noise, but I can't say that I hear the fan on the Radeon HD7770 on the other side of the room while I've got the game audio playing through my 5.1 home theater audio system.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            then it makes sense, once your reconcile the additional costs argument. IF you wanted a htpc, and were comfortable paying more vs a console, then this makes sense.
            wait what?! you record with your htpc!??!?!?! like, cable?!?!?!?

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 7 years ago

            My HTPC has the Ceton InfiniTV4 cablecard tuner to simultaneously record four shows at once.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            wow. you’re a keener. i can’t say i would make the effort. netflix and “other” sources are pretty much the only way i watch anything these days.

          • bjm
          • 7 years ago

          I approve!

      • bhassel
      • 7 years ago

      If your gaming PC and TV happen to be in the same/nearby rooms, it’s not *that* difficult to run a cable or two between them. It’s nice having the option to lie back and play on the bigger screen from time to time (with a full-powered PC behind it.)

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        That’s actually my plan. My desk is not far from my TV, close enough a 10′ HDMI cable will reach the HDMI out on my video card. All I’m missing is a wireless gamepad, but Newegg has a Microsoft-branded $48 gamepad + wireless receiver. I could go with a Logitech getup for a little less.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      I plan on using this for a few PC games that work better on controllers (fighting, sports, action) and can be played same screen multiplayer so I can ties with consoles and still play games on my TV with my friends.

      Also, emulators.

      • Darkmage
      • 7 years ago

      JustAnEngineer already hit a lot of the main points, but I have a similar setup at my home.

      The modern graphics cards really aren’t very loud at idle. So if you’re recording a show on your HTPC, you’ll probably not notice it. If I’m not watching the show, I’m probably not even in the room with the HTPC, so the noise doesn’t bother me. Under load, I’ve either got the 5.1 system cranked to enjoy every explosion or I’m wearing wireless headphones which isolate me from the noise any way.

      As a note of comparison, the fan noise coming from my XBOX360 is a lot louder than the noise coming from my Radeon.

      I do agree that you’re probably not going to see Steam taking away market share from the consoles. People who have to make the financial choice between the two are not going to be building an HTPC to begin with. But I don’t think the point of this is to try and gobble up console market share. I think this is Valve adding features that the users want.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Urgh, page took 30s to load and I reckon after signing in and writing this on my XBox360 pad, this comment will have taken over five minutes to post!

    Never again….

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      In a shameless self-bump I’ve been thinking about the whole point of the “full gamepad support” and gamepad-driven browser:

      Steam requires a password to log in with, requiring a keyboard, and most likely your PC requires a password to login with, also requiring a keyboard. Why go to such lengths to make a keyboardless system when a keyboard is going to be attached, by mandate.

      [i<]keyboard not detected, press F1 to resume[/i<]

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        this comes back to my point. it doesn’t make a lot of sense for most situations.

        • Darkmage
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t know if you’re the intended audience.

        I’m running Big Picture on my HTPC. I’m attempting to turn it into an alternate console. In my situation, Big Picture Mode works pretty well. My HTPC already automatically boots & logs in automatically, so that’s not a problem. I told the Steam client to start & log in automatically, so no password necessary beyond the initial setup.

        Right now, the only problem I have is that installing games still requires keyboard input. Once they’re installed (and you’ve run them at least once) it works pretty well.

    • PixelArmy
    • 7 years ago

    Looks like a very Modern UI…

    The Black Friday sales were better… Waiting for the end of year sale…

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      pick up orcs must die 2 and add me! we can murder thousands together! i’m sweatshopking on steam as well!

    • Sahrin
    • 7 years ago

    LOL, Nice one GabeN. “Win8 is shit…so let’s do a cheap knockoff of its interface!”

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      yep

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      To be fair, Steam has had “Library > Games Grid” long before Windows 8 was released.

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        This is a good point, but Metro originated with Zune in 2006-ish. IIRC grid view came to Steam in 2010-ish. Not that it really matters who was first, but GabeN is the one thrashing MS for “pulling the carpet” out form under users with Win8 – the most notable change of which is the UI.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          And XBMC debuted in 2003 and this UI looks more like it then the Zune or Win 8 UI.

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      This is nothing like the Modern UI.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        please, elaborate. you have the same horizontal tile interface. how is it different, o wise british citizen?

          • Meadows
          • 7 years ago

          It’s a regular set of tiles. No grouping, no variable width, no “live tiles”, it’s the same browsing interface that current consoles have used [i<]for over five years[/i<]. You might think that Microsoft invented sliced bread just because you own a Windows Phone and are so enamored with Windows 8, but in the process you're completely missing old, hard facts.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            old facts? which current consoles have used this setup? links please. the ps3 sure doesn’t ( [url<]http://www.aeropause.com/archives/ps3-interface.jpg[/url<] ). until the metro update, the xbox sure didn't ( [url<]http://images.six.betanews.com/albums/6/37.jpg[/url<] ) . which console are you referring to? the Wii? it's hardly the same thing, though it does have tiles and look similar ( [url<]http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs15/i/2007/101/d/e/Wii_User_Interface_PSD_2_by_GCTHawk7.png[/url<] ). because the tiles don't update, and you can't change the size (only a recent update to the years old metro interface) that means it's different? i think you might be trying to find an excuse for your post that might have been a more emotional response than you might have hoped. Please. Fact me.

            • moose17145
            • 7 years ago

            well.. a good argument for why this isn’t like metro is to start with the fact this doesn’t try to cram itself unwillingly down your throat by forcing you to use it with no other options. If you prefer the older interface that is more “sitting at your desk with a kb/mouse” friendly that option is still available to you without having to download other software / perform hacks to get it back…

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            ahh i see. so you have no actual point?

            • Sahrin
            • 7 years ago

            >doesn’t try to cram itself unwillingly down your throat by forcing you to use it with no other options.

            Is it really OK to have an opinion when you so clearly haven’t used the product you’re complaining about?

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            No grouping, no variable width, no live tiles. You think it doesn’t matter, but those three things make it completely different. You’re the one who’s emotional, feeling a need to jump on every single topic that mentions anything about the new Windows.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            sorry, meadows. i think you’re wrong. it looks the same.

            I jump on any topic that mentions anything about anything. quit being so silly.

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            What you think is irrelevant. Repetition doesn’t make you right.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            Neither does your false point that consoles look like it. You failed to back your original statement. Saying no live tiles does not make it look like the consoles it doesn’t look like. Back it up if you’ve got facts.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      This is NOTHING like Win 8. If anything it is almost IDENTICAL to Windows 7/Vista Windows Media Centre. (which is a GOOD thing).

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Or XBMC or pretty much any media player UI in the last decade.

      • nafhan
      • 7 years ago

      I was under the impression that Win 8’s interface was actually quite good when you’re NOT on a traditional desktop.

      On top of that I also got the impression that Gabe’s issues were not primarily with the interface, but with the store and the closed natured Windows store business model.

      Anyway, UI’s for imprecise pointing devices (touch, controller, etc.) are going to tend towards large interface items, and Steam has had a grid layout for quite a while now. Further, this doesn’t look very much like Windows 8. They both have large rectangular “icons”; that’s about it.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    I think I’ll always like to play FPS with a KB+mouse, but sitting back and playing Racedriver:Grid or Awesomenauts with a Controller on the couch in front of my tv is just awesome.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      Having a lot of intuitive changes like that would be pretty sweet. I’ve been hoping/expecting for a while now that Valve would launch a tablet/mobile version of some lighter Steam games, and having your game move seamlessly enough to the ideal controls for your platform would be awesome.

      And sometimes a controller works better than KB+mouse (herecy, I know), but that’s especially true if you just want to lounge on a couch or comfy chair and play.

      • Darkmage
      • 7 years ago

      Assassin’s Creed on the couch with the detail turned up to the limit is pretty slick.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve been using the normal steam client just fine on my HTPC, though I guess a lot of people will not want a wireless keyboard on the couch.

    I’ll see what it’s like, if only because it’ll mean I probably don’t have to put down the gamepad to change games. Steam is one step closer to being a true Console OS 🙂

    • pcgeek86
    • 7 years ago

    Interesting, but why the hell would I use a controller for a first-person game, on a PC?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Because you’re on the couch. If you would prefer to play at your desk, a mouse/KB would be preferred. Sometimes you just want to kick back on the couch.

        • bjm
        • 7 years ago

        Eh, I still play with a keyboard and mouse on my couch. I have this wooden board that came off a cheap shelf I no longer use. Works perfectly for a lap desk to put my keyboard and mouse on.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Because you like to get your ass handed to you by those using a keyboard+mouse.

        • Noigel
        • 7 years ago

        I dream of a day…

        …a day when the keyboard and mouse can work comfortably on a couch.
        …and as accurately on a couch…

        …Or when I can comfortably afford to put a nice mobile desk in front of a big screen and use a clapper to jerk that thing away and into hiding.

          • no51
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]use a clapper to jerk that thing away and into hiding.[/quote<] tee hee.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    Sweet, can’t wait to check it out.

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