Steam was “broken” without access to users’ living rooms, according to Valve product designer Greg Coomer, which lead the developer to create Big Picture.
Speaking with Polygon, Coomer said customers had been asking for access to their Steam games in more places in the house, something which frustrated customers. Coomer said without the ability to take the service into other areas of the home, Steam was essentially “broken.”
“In some ways they were ahead of us in having that expectation,” said Coomer. “They were already clearly playing games in the living room, they had all this stuff that they loved about Steam and it was frustrating for them to not be able to access it in a place that seemed like a natural fit for the kind of content that they were playing.
“Valve was in a position to do something about. We’re uniquely positioned with Steam to have the backend pieces that made sense underneath that interface, so we of course were able to put together an interface. But it’s everything behind that interface that’s the valuable part. There are 50-some million active users of Steam and a huge catalog.
“A lot of people could have built the interface the way we did, but building it on Steam was the fit.”
Valve is currently in talks with hardware manufacturers to create console-type PC systems for the living room, systems Valve boss Gabe Newell has previously said will directly compete with next-gen consoles.
“We’ve seen a huge movement, just since the announcement and shipping of the Big Picture beta,” said Coomer, “and the momentum and interest from PC manufacturers in building around it.”
Valve announced its “Steam Box” system during CES 2013 this week.