Yes, it’s Monday, but no need to be sad; the Steam Big Picture public beta starts today!
Have you ever tried plugging in your computer to your television to play Steam games? Simply put, the user interface (UI) translated to the big screen is lacking. However, the fine folks at Valve have unveiled a new UI which optimizes the Steam display for large television screens. Changes include larger, easier to read text, and “full” controller support, according to Valve.
Those of you, like myself, who are familiar with running Steam on their television through their computers will be breathing a sigh of relief today. The UI looks beautifully minimalist, somewhat reminiscent of Sony’s Cross Media Bar and Microsoft’s Xbox Dashboard/Windows 8 UI, but not without maintaining the certain je ne sais quoi that makes Valve’s UI superior. Oh, wait, I know: It’s the lack of a constant barrage of advertisements. But I digress.
What’s really exciting about the Steam Big Picture mode is the full controller support. You may ask, “Doesn’t Steam already have full controller support?” Well, yes, while playing games, however, in the Big Picture mode you may do all your menu and general navigation with your controller.
Valve is clearly in the beginning stages of making a play here, blurring the lines between consoles and computers. You can really sense their ambition with this project, even in the beta stages; it’s beautiful, super-accessible, and most importantly, you do not have to wade through bad marketing to access your content.
Valve is the king of computer (well, mostly PC) gaming for a reason, and today marks their grand entry in a manner of speaking, to the console gaming market, insofar as you’re playing your computer games on a television now. Either way, anybody who prefers gaming on their couch needs this. If for some reason you require coaxing, well, here are some screenshots.