Steam’s Big Picture feature is now live in the beta channel, bringing an interface to the application that is designed to be used with a TV and a controller.
Valve has bemoaned the state of both PChardware and console technology, decrying a lack of innovation and openness in these spheres. It has been rumored for some time that they are working on a console called the Steam Box, though it seems unlikely that this could be anything more than one of many lab prototype projects as Big Picture is an exploration to see how users take to their console efforts before deciding where to go next. There’s a lot going on in those labs — wearable gaming peripherals seems to be another area they are looking at.
Big Picture itself is their attempt to make the console interface easier to use — with features like the awesome lotus controller keyboard — and more open.
Though Big Picture is designed with a computer hooked up in your living room in mind, you can still give it a go right now from your computer with a mouse and keyboard. Big Picture is, however, only available in the PC client — Mac users will be getting it shortly. To enable Big Picture, first you need to head to Settings:
Then you need to opt-in to the Steam beta:
Once you do that and the client updates itself, you should see this Big Picture icon, which will turn the feature on:
Once inside, Big Picture looks pretty cool. Here are some snaps TNW’s Matthew Panzarino took of the interface.
It’s certainly a slick interface and I personally look forward to giving it a go with its intended input device, a controller, when the Mac beta gets updated. It remains to be seen how consumers will take to it when compared to the Xbox and the PlayStation, but I’d say it is in with a fighting chance.