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Valve announces Big Picture mode for Steam

Valve announces Big Picture mode for Steam

Valve has announced a new Big Picture mode for Steam that could turn PCs into consoles.

Valve has announced a new Big Picture mode for Steam that could essentially start to move PC gaming closer to a console-like analogue when it is released.

Big Picture mode will allow Steam to work on TVs, beaming directly from a PC or Mac. It will also bring robust controller support and a new navigation system designed for TV displays and non-keyboard interfaces.

'Big picture mode will enable gamers to enjoy Steam and their library of Steam games on more screens throughout the house,' Valve said in the announcement.

'Our partners and customers have asked us to make Steam available in more places. With the introduction of Steam on the Mac, and soon in Portal 2 on the PS3, we’ve done just that,' said Valve's Doug Lombardi.

'With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house.'

Valve is expected to unveil more details at GDC 2011, which is currently under way in San Francisco.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

60 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
GuilleAcoustic 1st March 2011, 10:35 Quote
Gr8t news !
wuyanxu 1st March 2011, 10:41 Quote
are they going to release some sort of TV box for the beaming? or some sort of software on existing blu-ray players/consoles?

hope i can just update my S370 blu-ray player firmware for "Steam stream" feature :D that would be awesome!
[USRF]Obiwan 1st March 2011, 10:42 Quote
I wonder how I can transfer steam to my 50" plasma. Must be a magical new invention from Valve.
DragunovHUN 1st March 2011, 10:43 Quote
Even for the average PC this could prove to be really sweet. Navigating the steam client with a controller? Yeah i'll have that!
shanky887614 1st March 2011, 10:45 Quote
the tv support is useless, they wasted there time

most gpu's nowadays have hdmi outputs on them and all new tv's have hdmi input

i use this to put both sound and graphics from my pc to tv the only good thing is the controller support, that a lot of games allready have
dactone 1st March 2011, 10:46 Quote
this is what the pc needs the only reason i own a console is because its to uncomfy to use a keyboard and mouse in front of my tv.
BRAWL 1st March 2011, 10:51 Quote
*coughs* whats the point in this? What have they actually achieved?

I play games through Steam on a 42" LCD screen at 1920x1080 via HDMI... Exactly what has been achieved other than another shiny sticker.
do_it_anyway 1st March 2011, 10:54 Quote
I don't actually get it.

Are we talking here about streaming your game to your telly via a media streamer? So load it up on your PC, then use your PS3 to stream it to your telly, and use the PS3 controller to control the game?
That would be pretty clever, but the lag would surely be immense?

Basically, is this like "OnLive" with your PC being the server?

Or have I missed the point entirely?
Spraduke 1st March 2011, 10:56 Quote
They have optimised the steam interface to allow remote/controller launching of games etc. This means you can play "console ports" on your tele.

As others have stated how this is intended to link with the TV is the interesting bit (just plain old HDMI or some streaming of sorts). 3rd party partners kind of hints at movie/music support which would be great as I will never buy anything of itunes as you cant redownload at any time (unlike steam!)
Cerberus90 1st March 2011, 10:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
Obiwan]I wonder how I can transfer steam to my 50" plasma. Must be a magical new invention from Valve.

Its a magical new invention called "HDMI valve", ;D
Guinevere 1st March 2011, 10:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
the tv support is useless, they wasted there time

most gpu's nowadays have hdmi outputs on them and all new tv's have hdmi input

Yes I agree 100% useless, as everyone in the world has all their TVs in the same room as their gaming PC.

Oh hold on, I think I may be unique. I have my gaming PC in my office, but my big screen TV in my living room. So... maybe I do have a use for such a feature. In fact it would be awesome!

Shanky, you're wrong. It would only be useless to you and the rest of the planet, I'm clearly the one person who could ever make use of such a feature.

Well done Valve.

Here's hoping they implement it in all of the following ways:

- Web based client, compatible with pretty much any web enabled TV
- Steam client, so any platform with steam can stream games from any steam "server" (This will do for me)
- Partnerships with media streamer,set-top,tv,blu-ray box mftrs etc
- App based client - Play PC steam games on iOS, Android etc
- Fully open client architecture, allowing anyone to roll their own play client if they are so inclined
- Onlive type streaming, from home to remote - Latency wouldn't work with all games, but for those it did...

Did I miss anything?

Oh and read the article people. It says "Throughout the house" which means it's not just over HDMI, as how would that work! It's got to be a streaming type service.
faugusztin 1st March 2011, 10:58 Quote
*cough*Episode3?*cough*
Plews 1st March 2011, 11:00 Quote
Surely this is just an 'apple tv/media centre' equivalent interface, with nothing to do with wireless streaming?

Native support for the xbox 360 wired/wireless controller would be great - utilising the central xbox button in-game to instantly bring up a large-screen adaptation of the shift+tab menu that includes game launching for instance.
Morrius 1st March 2011, 11:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
the tv support is useless, they wasted there time

most gpu's nowadays have hdmi outputs on them and all new tv's have hdmi input

i use this to put both sound and graphics from my pc to tv the only good thing is the controller support, that a lot of games allready have

The point is that you can navigate all the Steam menus with a control pad. They're not offering a way to physically connect your PC to your TV, dumbass. The point of it is that you can have a laptop/Macbook/Desktop/Media PC etc connected to your TV, and use Steam on it from the sofa, with appropriate text size and UI design for someone sat many feet away.

I don't know about you, but when I hook Steam up to my 1080p plasma, I have quite a hard time reading a lot of it from 10 feet away.
Guinevere 1st March 2011, 11:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
*cough*Episode3?*cough*

You want to get that cough seen to, you've had it for a few years now, and it doesn't appear to be getting better.
GuilleAcoustic 1st March 2011, 11:04 Quote
We are not talking about a cable or something to connect your computer to your TV (it exists for ages ... RCA, SVIDEO, HDMI, etc.)

What we are talking about is a more user friendly interface that doesn't require a mouse / keyboard combo to navigate through it. This is a good idea when you want to play from your sofa without having a keybord / mouse on your knees.

A GUI thought to be used with gamepad, good job and great addition. No need to constantly switch from gamepad to mouse while switching games.
leveller 1st March 2011, 11:05 Quote
Like Guinevere said, most gaming PCs are in bedrooms/studies or at the back of a lounge rather than under or near the main TV.

So how will Valve stream the game from the PC to the TV? Apple manage to stream using their £99 box, OnLive streams using their $99 box ... a lot of us here have media streamers and laptops, spare PCs, parts ... it isn't hard to create a receiving client that is unobtrusive to receive a streamed game. That's assuming that is the route they take. I'm sure there are other ideas of ways they can do it.

All I'm wondering is how many more kills will I get using my mouse and keyboard vs controllers n00bs.
kempez 1st March 2011, 11:07 Quote
I wonder if this will mean Steam for PS3? Now that would be awesome. I'd happily play through HL1/2 etc.

CS:S for PS3!
Mankz 1st March 2011, 11:15 Quote
Im sorry, what does this bring to the table?

It seems like they are just doing a mini-home server system, but its steam only.

And the reason I play on a PC not a console is because I dont want a gay little controller, thank you valve. I'll stick to my old out-dated mouse and keyboard thank you very much, and If I wanted Steam through my TV I'd use this thing called an HDMI cable.
javaman 1st March 2011, 11:15 Quote
All I want is more split screen multiplayer support. So many console games are even moving away from it, its the only reason I own a console too! Halflife 2 co-op mode......*drool*

who cares about controllers? Mini keyboard integrated into a glove on one hand and a touchpad integrated into the other. Perfect future of controllers. In fact I'm away to see if it exists, might be an early final year project =D
maximus09 1st March 2011, 11:22 Quote
hhmm sounded interesting but if they are just going to change the interface to be controller friendly I guess that is a step in the right direction.

My gaming PC, like many other people, is in my study while my HTPC is under my TV. So maybe a way to stream the game from the Gaming PC to the HTPC to play on the TV would be an idea?
wuyanxu 1st March 2011, 11:25 Quote
you all do realise it's two things: beam output to TV and controller support?

you don't have to use both:
-controller support with your computer connected directly to TV
-computer in a study, beam to TV, while using wireless mouse+keyboard to play
GuilleAcoustic 1st March 2011, 11:30 Quote
beam to TV can be done without any change on steam. A comtroler oriented GUI would be nice for all games that require it (mostly everything except FPS and RTS).
Tyr 1st March 2011, 11:45 Quote
Hmmm... What about...

Valve releasing the Steamengine (TM) console.

Essentially a PC with the M$ OS torn out and running games via a Steam OS. Can play with keyboard/mouse or with a controller and dual boot into Linux.

No?


Erm...
wafflesomd 1st March 2011, 11:51 Quote
I think this is an awesome idea. I'd love to see the distinction between the two platforms disappear.

Some of the PC user comments on here are just sad.

" I dont want a gay little controller" - Wow, good job. Way to convey yourself as a level headed user contributing so much to the discussion.
Guinevere 1st March 2011, 11:51 Quote
Read it people:

"With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house"

They can't be just talking about GUI tweaks and increasing the font size
adam_bagpuss 1st March 2011, 12:16 Quote
why are so many people confused ?

its a steaming service hosted by your PC and conencts via your LAN. Then any internet TV or multimedia enabled device or with adapter (im guessing they will make one) can connect to your PC which is hosting the stream over your internal network

this is just a more advanced video distribution system that distributes data also.

steam is providing the server side software so you can stream a steam game to a TV.

This is actually a brilliant idea and has potential, not keen on the controller side but if you can use mouse and k/b would be awesome.

i also feel that bit-tech just took -5 points to intelligence and +5 points to ignorance with half the comments on this article
niro 1st March 2011, 12:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz
Im sorry, what does this bring to the table?

It seems like they are just doing a mini-home server system, but its steam only.

And the reason I play on a PC not a console is because I dont want a gay little controller, thank you valve. I'll stick to my old out-dated mouse and keyboard thank you very much, and If I wanted Steam through my TV I'd use this thing called an HDMI cable.

I feel the same way, if i wanted to use a controller to do things a keyboard and mouse can do quicker and more efficiently I would buy a console. Although it may be pretty good for certain genres like racing games.

But even though this would be of no use at all to us, it may be useful to other people.

but damn you valve, stop dilly dallying and bring us HL3 (and new cs)!!!
javaman 1st March 2011, 12:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
I think this is an awesome idea. I'd love to see the distinction between the two platforms disappear.

Some of the PC user comments on here are just sad.

" I dont want a gay little controller" - Wow, good job. Way to convey yourself as a level headed user contributing so much to the discussion.

The argument isn't well constructed so I'll expand for others: controllers are the bane of FPS and RTS games. For driving games however a controller pisses all over my keyboard.......except when entering driver name or alt+tab'ing' both of which are more than sufferable!

Think I've covered everything there.
Landy_Ed 1st March 2011, 12:25 Quote
[QUOTE=Guinevere]
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614

Oh hold on, I think I may be unique. I have my gaming PC in my office, but my big screen TV in my living room. So... maybe I do have a use for such a feature. In fact it would be awesome!

(.......)
It's got to be a streaming type service.

Yeah. shame wireless streaming doesn't quite make the grade for full 1080p, but 1080i it's just about there. Introduce powerline & whahey, I can move my pc back up to the office.....

So +1 in my book, shame it's had to be a Steam initiative rather than an OS level one. I'd quite like to be able to have my pc through my telly without having the big desk in the corner.
Landy_Ed 1st March 2011, 12:27 Quote
*with the full experience rather than just a shadow of it, as appears to be the case now.
smc8788 1st March 2011, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
you all do realise it's two things: beam output to TV

Those were Joe's words, not Valve's. They never said anything specific about that, nor even GUI optimisations for larger screens. What exactly this 'BigPicture' mode entails seems to be based entirely on speculation at the moment.
wuyanxu 1st March 2011, 13:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
Those were Joe's words, not Valve's. They never said anything specific about that, nor even GUI optimisations for larger screens. What exactly this 'BigPicture' mode entails seems to be based entirely on speculation at the moment.
ah, yes. thanks for this correction.

in that case, what's everyone's negativity about when nothing solid has even been announced?
Woodspoon 1st March 2011, 13:49 Quote
Seems a little pointless to me, but I'm sure some people will love it.
If I want to game seriously then I'll use my gaming PC and use it's monitor, If I want to game socially then I'll use a console on the TV, 2 different systems, generally used for 2 different types of gaming.
Also, laptops seem to have this covered already.
FelixTech 1st March 2011, 14:20 Quote
Instructions for use:
1. Place orange portal behind you steam-enabled PC.
2. Place blue portal behind your TV.
3. Thread HDMI cable through the portal.
4. Enable Big Picture Mode.
5. Enjoy!
Xir 1st March 2011, 14:21 Quote
I use a controller to play the Lego-games (Indiana Jones ATM) and console ports that are so badly ported that mouse+keyboard doesn't work properly (Prototype).
These games go out throug a 1080 projector, but don't need Steam...:D

I'm looking forward to Blur, but my current system isn't beefy enough to play them on 1080... :D
SMIFFYDUDE 1st March 2011, 15:16 Quote
Yay I can control steam with a joypad on my livingroom TV, then go back to my room to play the game with my keyboard and mouse, logitech g27 or joystick (which all my steam games require 1 or all of) in front of my 24" monitor. I'm sure i've missed the point but then again i won't be buying/using it so what the hey.
GuilleAcoustic 1st March 2011, 15:34 Quote
The best would be that all cross-plateform game can be played in multiplayer, regardless of the plateform. I hate not being able to play on pc vs my friends which are console gamer (even if it's the same game)

eg : SFIV, COD, etc...... damn it, I wanna play on my comp aginst console user T.T
leveller 1st March 2011, 15:53 Quote
I've just realised, I won't have to remortgage the house for a 30" 3D gaming monitor (when they finally arrive), I can just earmark the money for the new 3D TV in the lounge (and get a ****-hot one with the saving) and play the 3D games when the missus has gone to bed!!
xaser04 1st March 2011, 16:06 Quote
Assuming it is the ability to stream to another TV in your house this would be awesome.

TDU2 on my HDTV downstairs being powered by my gaming PC upstairs. With a 360 pad I can just sit back and relax whilst playing it (added advantage that the game will still look ALOT better than it does on the 360).
tad2008 1st March 2011, 16:21 Quote
+1 in my book as have tried using steam on a large TV and it's a nightmare, but to be able to view it decently scaled would be a godsend! Being able to stream it or use a native xbox 360 or any other PC controller to navigate would indeed make things a lot simpler and wish Microsoft allowed Windows to be navigable with more than just keyboard, mouse and fingertips.
Th3Maverick 1st March 2011, 16:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_bagpuss
why are so many people confused ?

its a steaming service hosted by your PC and conencts via your LAN. Then any internet TV or multimedia enabled device or with adapter (im guessing they will make one) can connect to your PC which is hosting the stream over your internal network

this is just a more advanced video distribution system that distributes data also.

steam is providing the server side software so you can stream a steam game to a TV.

This is actually a brilliant idea and has potential, not keen on the controller side but if you can use mouse and k/b would be awesome.

i also feel that bit-tech just took -5 points to intelligence and +5 points to ignorance with half the comments on this article


...Well said. Almost exactly what I was going to say...glad I read through the comments first.

Personally, I'm looking forward to this. One of the main reasons I don't play a lot of my Steam games is that they feel better suited to a TV and controller--mostly console ports like Just Cause 2 and Shank, admittedly--and taking the PC outta the office into the den is a pain in the ass. I would happily pay a hundred bucks for an adapter to allow me to stream Steam games to my non-web enabled TV.

I still wonder about the implementation, though. Do you think it will be some sort of web interface, or a mini console? Most wireless controllers don't do so well transmitting through walls and whatnot, so I think a Google TV-alike device might make more sense--most web TVs wouldn't be able to take input from a controller.
Th3Maverick 1st March 2011, 16:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixTech
Instructions for use:
1. Place orange portal behind you steam-enabled PC.
2. Place blue portal behind your TV.
3. Thread HDMI cable through the portal.
4. Enable Big Picture Mode.
5. Enjoy!

Also: HILARIOUS. I lol'd at work.
slothy89 1st March 2011, 21:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixTech
Instructions for use:
1. Place orange portal behind you steam-enabled PC.
2. Place blue portal behind your TV.
3. Thread HDMI cable through the portal.
4. Enable Big Picture Mode.
5. Enjoy!
^^ this is golden! ;)

Sounds like Steam trying to directly compete with the consoles, but in a more versatile way. Someone suggested a Steam console, this doesn't sound too far fetched. As this is where the gaming market is shifting.

SteamStation anyone? lol
Eiffie 2nd March 2011, 02:04 Quote
So if big picture mode is enabled, will I still be able to access other programs on my computer not related to steam? What if I want to open windows media player or something and play some tunes while I game?
ZERO <ibis> 2nd March 2011, 04:20 Quote
Something tells me NO
outlawaol 2nd March 2011, 05:18 Quote
Why the hell are they wasting time on this when EP 3 is not being talked about? Curse you valve and your useless useful utensil!


Goto 3:10 to see reference.
60zfs6bPPMY
knuck 2nd March 2011, 05:44 Quote
Let's just hope Steam will get consolified


heh
[USRF]Obiwan 2nd March 2011, 08:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
I think this is an awesome idea. I'd love to see the distinction between the two platforms disappear.

Some of the PC user comments on here are just sad.

" I dont want a gay little controller" - Wow, good job. Way to convey yourself as a level headed user contributing so much to the discussion.

The argument isn't well constructed so I'll expand for others: controllers are the bane of FPS and RTS games. For driving games however a controller pisses all over my keyboard.......except when entering driver name or alt+tab'ing' both of which are more than sufferable!

Think I've covered everything there.

For driving I use a steering wheel with pedals. It pukes all over the console-troller. The only thing I can think of a PC user wants to use a console-troller is for platform games. Since the only good platform game for the PC was Rick Dangerous and that was 10 years ago I don't see any use in a c-troller.

Besides that I tried to play with a c-troll but since these things are made for 6 year olds and tiny Japanese people and not big European man hands my thumbs would hurt like hell after 20mins.

Then again if 'they' managed to find a way to stream it to my big screen which hangs on the wall 6 meters away from my pc desk. And then you can navigate the steam menu with your ?tv remote? start a game, and run back to my pc and start playing from my desk and watching the screen 6 meters away from me. With my head turned around like bitch from the exorcist...

(all sarcastic of course)
Xir 2nd March 2011, 09:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
Then again if 'they' managed to find a way to stream it to my big screen which hangs on the wall 6 meters away from my pc desk.
7,5m HDMI
There you go, wasn't that hard, was it? :D
adam_bagpuss 2nd March 2011, 11:53 Quote
why the hell do people keep comparing this to an HDMI lead.

IT STREAMS TO ANY TV or monitor not just 1

the equivilant would be to have HDMI + USB distribution to every TV/Monitor with usb ports for k/b mouse.
HDMI distribution is extrememly expensive.
[USRF]Obiwan 2nd March 2011, 12:11 Quote
^ What Adam says. Not once is HDMI mentioned in the article. And someone says it can be done with HDMI (no **** sherlock!) and everybody believes from there on that this is how it works.

If you READ the article like Adam, some others and yours truly.

I think Adam is in the right direction. Maybe streaming to pc using usb or even network. Most modern tv's have network connection. Som sort of VNC springs to mind. Compensate for the delay with controls and you are set.

But you probably need some wireless controls if your PC is in the other room or on the other side of the room (like in my house) otherwise you need extension cords for mouse/keyboard/headphone whatever.

It is probably easier to put my PC next to my big screen connected to my onky receiver for some surround sound. Saves lag, extension cords, hdmi cables or otherwise and much cheaper for a weekend gaming on the bigscreen. And you don't need to stick to Steam for your favorite game either.
leveller 2nd March 2011, 12:34 Quote
If I can stream a movie from my iPad (or even iPhone for that matter) to my TV using AppleTV, I'm fairly sure Valve will come up with a way to stream a game from upstairs to downstairs. That thunderbolt tech is kinda rapid ...
Xir 2nd March 2011, 12:41 Quote
Reading the article, i suppose it's just software, and not hardware.
(BIG BUTTON FOR BIG CONTROLLER huh huh!)
We'll see if they will see how to connect to your TV, or if you'll have to make that connection yourself.
Even with a network connection, you'll still have to supply a cable.
(now don't tell me "Most modern TV's have a 1080 capable wireless connection", cause they don't) :D
javaman 2nd March 2011, 13:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
For driving I use a steering wheel with pedals. It pukes all over the console-troller. The only thing I can think of a PC user wants to use a console-troller is for platform games. Since the only good platform game for the PC was Rick Dangerous and that was 10 years ago I don't see any use in a c-troller.

Besides that I tried to play with a c-troll but since these things are made for 6 year olds and tiny Japanese people and not big European man hands my thumbs would hurt like hell after 20mins.

Then again if 'they' managed to find a way to stream it to my big screen which hangs on the wall 6 meters away from my pc desk. And then you can navigate the steam menu with your ?tv remote? start a game, and run back to my pc and start playing from my desk and watching the screen 6 meters away from me. With my head turned around like bitch from the exorcist...

(all sarcastic of course)

Im one of the unfortunate who can't afford to get a steering wheel =(
the nice GT one I was eyeing up is yet to come into stock again so I just gave up!

I could get the more expensive one so.......
Quote:
Could you please send all donations too...

Javaman
I want a steering wheel
PO Box #05.....


;)
djab 2nd March 2011, 14:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by do_it_anyway
I don't actually get it.

Are we talking here about streaming your game to your telly via a media streamer? So load it up on your PC, then use your PS3 to stream it to your telly, and use the PS3 controller to control the game?
That would be pretty clever, but the lag would surely be immense?

Basically, is this like "OnLive" with your PC being the server?

Or have I missed the point entirely?

:) that would be awesome.
+++ if I can stream from the desktop PC to the underpowered laptop while sitting in the garden outside of the house :) . Ok you can already do that with streammygames but the free version has resolution limitations and crash with steam games.
l3v1ck 2nd March 2011, 14:28 Quote
So you can play games on your TV without having to pay console tax prices for games :)
It's not like you'd need high end hardware either. There are plenty of graphics cards/CPU's that can play games at HDTV resolutions.
MiNiMaL_FuSS 2nd March 2011, 22:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
You want to get that cough seen to, you've had it for a few years now, and it doesn't appear to be getting better.

this.
Kilmoor 3rd March 2011, 08:51 Quote
If I wanted an Xbox, I would go spend a couple hundred and get one. Instead, I spend a couple thousand every other year for my gaming PC, and I want to maintain the distinction and superiority of the PC as a gaming platform.

Say what you will, I like my games with a KB and mouse. I hate kludgy console interfaces. If developers write for a controller-and-television standard that will eventually be required for this new Steam specification, then we lose. Consoles have the share of the market, which makes me very sad to think that most gamers need assisted aiming and interfaces by Fisher-Price. I don't want that to be the way the tide turns for PC gaming.
leveller 21st June 2011, 09:55 Quote
Interesting that Valve has built their relationship with Sony for PS3 and now they are mentioning Xbox 360 and Microsoft. Thereby linking Steam to TVs in living rooms ...

But more interesting and more so related to the article is HalfLife2.net's article (originally from CVG) I just read about Valve's surprising relationship with OnLive! ... interesting ...
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