Steam coming to a TV near you via Big Picture mode

Monday, 28th February 2011 17:49 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Valve is to release a Big Picture mode for Steam, providing compatibility for the service with controllers and TVs.

Valve kicked off GDC today by announcing plans for a Big Picture mode for Steam, which will offer controller support and navigation designed for television interaction.

“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 PS3T, 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.”

The news if Valve’s “big reveal” for GDC.

The Seattle firm also said today that it will this week “share with partners the data it gathered during the hugely successful launch of Steam Microtransactions late last year within its own multiplayer classic, Team Fortress 2.”

“We’ve come to understand what type of content sells well in TF2′s in-game store, and the various price points at which players value this content,” said Robin Walker, game designer at Valve. “Our players are continually teaching us what works and what doesn’t. Much of this feedback can be generalized to other titles on Steam, so we’re looking forward to sharing what we’ve learned with partners at GDC. We’re also interested in seeing partners get up and running with their own in-game economies, so they can collect game-specific data to inform their design decisions.”

Valve’s next major game, Portal 2, releases in April.



  1. Razor

    Steam steaming the competition.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. AHA-Lambda


    THIS is the sort of thing that shows why valve are so successful ^_^

    So a steam onlive style future for games? PLease =D

    a hell of alot better than bloody xbox live anyway -_-

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    “So a steam onlive style future for games? PLease =D”

    Until proper 1080p, 75 ghz, max visuals… N O !

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Overdos3

    Long life to Valve !!

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Overdos3

    Sorry about double post but … How will this technology works? O.o

    #5 4 years ago
  6. _S_E_R_G_

    @5 maybe more controller-friendly steam client\HUD

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Overdos3

    Maybe Microsoft will now release Alan Wake for pc since they judged that the game have to be played on a big screen sitting on our couch (not a joke). Nice initiative from valve :)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. OlderGamer

    When steam goes full cloud, that will hurt the consoles badly. Unless they partener up with MS or Sony.

    I would be watching very closly if I was MS/Sony.

    If I could get my PC games on my living room TV, via cloud, and have a console style experience – I don’t think i would game in the office ever again. But it has to be easy, right now PC gaming in the living room isn’t easy enough for me.

    Sound issues, resolution issues, controler issues, and what the hell do you do with the Mouse n KB while sitting on a couch?

    But imagine for a sec a Steam enabled console, cheap and inexpensive, no need to expand or upgrade(like Onlives), but with full Steam back libary and furture releases.

    Love the idea, time will tell if that is where this is headed tho.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. DSB

    “We’ve come to understand what type of content sells well in TF2′s in-game store, and the various price points at which players value this content”

    Right then, more goofy hats for everyone :D

    @8 You’re not suggesting Steam replacing one of the most solid retail platforms there are, for a subscription based cloudgaming one, are you?

    I could see Steam adding cloud functionality, but there’s no chance that they’d actually throw away their golden cow, just to compete with a couple of new businesses. Their customers can clearly afford retail prices.

    Cloud gaming is about as big of a threat to Steam as flash game portals.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. jacobvandy

    I’m not sure this is a cloud service like OnLive… Might just be a new interface for Steam that will allow you to use a TV as the display and navigate solely with a controller, instead of having to go over and click. Maybe they’ll let you stream it over a network to another computer or TV screen (most new TVs are network/internet-enabled now).

    #10 4 years ago
  11. freedoms_stain

    I’d love to see a Steam controller-friendly interface.

    They can only beat the ever loving shit out of the mess Microsoft puked up.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. OlderGamer

    Steam already has cloud features. In some games I can play on my desktop, and continue the same game on my laptop later. Mostly simply cloud based game savings/achieves ect.

    Streaming games is another aspect of what people think of as cloud based gaming.

    And yes I fully expect Valve to be interested in streaming games in the future.

    I think it is enevitible that Cloud/Streaming services will replace what we have now. And I expect some companies to see the writting on the wal at some point. Companies like MS/SONY/Valve, and rather then pull a BlockBuster and let Netflix pass them by(leaving them to die with their antiquated biz models), I expect these companies to try and adapt and keep up.

    Streaming is simply another form of Digital game distribution. And THAT is what Steam does. Steam isn’t a virtual website that repreasents a bigger retail chain somewhere. They sell games digitaly. They will see something like an all in one streaming services as an extension. You could still buy your game, I would reason, individualy. If you wanted to. Netflix doesn’t stop you from buying a hard copy, or a digital copy, but it will stream the copy for you to watch for one low price.

    Times are going to change. Change is about the only thing that remains constant. The game industry will change and the major players will either adapt or be pushed out of the way by someone else with more vision.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. OlderGamer

    And I agree fully with 10.

    I don’t think this announcment is a full on OnLive/Giaka style streaming serves either.

    I just think it is a feet wetting step one for Valve.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. AHA-Lambda

    aww =(

    #14 4 years ago
  15. rainer

    If Valve can sell a wireless kit and gamepad that is cheap enough to work with your PC sending the output to your TV they could be onto something.

    However the fly in the ointment is that the current low latency solutions that can do that like Netgear 3DHD can coast as much as a games console.

    If Valve are just crafting a GUI with leaving it to users to setup up their own wireless bridge and use a controller (that not all games will support) then it’d dead on arrival.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. DSB

    Strongly doubt it OG. Ownership hasn’t gone out of style yet, and it’s been there since the caveman days.

    Streaming isn’t games distribution, it’s a subscription to a specific catalogue of material. People love their Netflix, and it’s easy to see why, but that still doesn’t mean that they’ll stop buying DVDs.

    Ownership is something that neither OnLive nor any other streamer is likely to be able to provide, at least not at any better rates than retailers like Steam selling you an actual licence for private ownership.

    Media and its delivery will always be in the process of evolution, but it’s never going to negate peoples need to own things. Ownership and rental are two different markets that currently aren’t in competition.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. mojo

    “The news if Valve’s “big reveal” for GDC.”

    u fucking kidding me?
    a alternate display mode is a big reveal`? not in my world.

    what a bullshit.
    Valve u can do better then that.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. OlderGamer

    “Streaming isn’t games distribution, it’s a subscription to a specific catalogue of material. People love their Netflix, and it’s easy to see why, but that still doesn’t mean that they’ll stop buying DVDs.”

    Actualy wrong on both accounts.

    The idea that owning a game is meaningfull is antiquated. Some of you folks just haven’t gotten the memo yet.

    I have an entire libary of old Xbox one games that are worthless. And every gamer that buys a copy of CoD today will experience the same thing next generation. Infact sooner.

    How many time do you buy an OMP game, play it, stop, come back later to find out that nearly everyone else has stopped playing it too? They have moved on to a newer version or different game altogether.

    What happens when xb360 is replaced with xbox next? Or PS3 w/PS4? Your ability to enjoy those games as they were intended fades away. Like I said already happened with xbox one.

    But you think you own a game.

    You used to. Now you buy a small window in which to enjoy the game. Once that window closes your left with an empty shell.

    Like you, I am sure, I have a large collection of 8-bit, 16-bit, Saturn, PSx, Dreamcast, and PS2 games. Because those were mostly SP experiences and because the hardware isn’t dead, we can still enjoy those games.

    But it doesn’t work like that anymore. Next gen, or two down the road, our now current gen, won’t be able to verify DLC, won’t have online service to play MP, and simply won’t be the experience that we enjoy today.

    So I say ownership is over rated. Collecting for any other reason then to have a box on a shelf is pointless. You trade your money for an experience. Once the ride is over, time to move on and pay mopre money for a different experience.

    Thats like subscribing, but with higher prices and shelf full of outdated boxes containing game discs that won’t be usable.

    I used to buy DVDs, and VHS Tapes before that. I used to buy TV shows. Now I Netflix/ My instant Que has 500 selections in it. 500! I can not even imagine how much that would cost me at the store. And new stuff gets added to it all of the time.

    Now I don’t buy DVDs like I used. I still buy stuff once in awhile. My wife just bought the entire Friends Collection, for example. But instead of buying stuff often we now buy it once in a blue moon. Infact when we go to a store and browse their movies, we take notes of ones to add to our Netflix Que.

    The thing to remember is that gamers are a little different then the average Joe. Well dedicated, hardcore, collector gamers are different. The average person sees the value is paying a smaller amount each month in order to watch/play/enjoy a larger quanity of movies/games. I mean isn’t that the idea behind Gamefly? Instead of 60usd games, pay GF 25/month and have 2 games out at a time, free mailing, swap as often as you want. You could play several games in a month for your 25usd. Or you could spend hundreds at Gamestop to play the same amount. Why?

    Thats the power of Streaming. Streaming is simply going to be another way of distrubuting game experiences. The average Joe doesn’t care if he/she owns the box. Once the experience is done, they move on to the next game released on the service. Play more, pay less. Win Win.

    And just the record Streaming is distrubuting. It is getting your games out there to the public in return for payment.

    You personaly need to stop thinking like it is 1995.

    And keep in mind Cloud based streaming to the masses is still a long ways away. We are just seing the tip of the iceburg right now.

    Oh and lastly, you can buy games w/OnLive. If you want. It alows you to out right buy em. But with 40 games avalible for 9.99usd/month streamed, I just wait for the new ones to get placed on the list of streaming ones, and save the money. Just one full priced game can equal 6 months of streaming. And I can play the full game etheir way.

    And yes renting does compete with sales, as you can see with Movies.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. mojo

    OG, ever thought of ppl just wanting the boxes for the sake of the boxes?
    Called collectors.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. rainer

    Cool, much like OnLive just over local network I guess.

    #20 4 years ago

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