On Monday Valve Software said that the public release of Big Picture, the new HDTV-ready mode for Steam, is now live.
According to Valve, this new mode is not only designed to be accessed on your big screen TV seated in the living room, but offer support for many popular gamepads in addition to the classic mouse and keyboard setup. To celebrate its launch, Valve is now offering thirty controller-friendly games at up to 75-percent off their original price until December 10.
"Steam gamers may easily experience Big Picture on their televisions by connecting their PC or Mac, typically with a single HDMI cable," Valve said. "Big Picture also includes a new web browser designed for televisions and game controllers. It is accessible from anywhere within the Big Picture UI, and even while playing Steam games on a TV. It supports Big Picture's new method of typing with a gamepad, which is useful for entering URLs, filling out forms, chatting, and other functions."
Big Picture is seemingly Valve's way of "consolizing" the popular PC platform. Consuming the entire screen, Big Picture is broken down into three sections: Store, Library and Community. At the bottom-left corner of the start screen, the service also provides a "Web" button which loads up the built-in web browser. There are also buttons for accessing the user's account, and to log back out onto the main desktop (without actually exiting Steam).
"Access to the complete Steam store is included, as is the Steam Community. Big Picture is available worldwide in over twenty languages, including German, French, Russian, Korean, and Portuguese," Valve said. "Gamers' existing games are all available in Big Picture. In addition to having the complete library of Steam games, each user's cloud files, Steam Workshop content, account information and preferences will be accessible automatically in the new mode."
Controller-friendly titles now on sale include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($7.49), Left 4 Dead 2 and Left 4 Dead GOTY ($4.99 each), Portal 2 ($4.99), Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine ($7.49) and more. Family-friendly games include Sonic Generations ($7.49), LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga ($9.99), LEGO Harry Potter Years 5 – 7 ($6.79) and loads more. A total of 41 titles are listed in Valve's library with full controller support whereas 386 titles only offer partial controller support.
Valve's Big Picture looks to be its first step into creating the rumored console-like Steam Box. Yet instead the company's hardware division is currently working on prototype controllers that will make an appearance next year. Still, you can't help but think the new interface seems to point to a possible console-like direction, whether it's first-party or a small hardware box with a built-in 500 GB drive manufactured by a popular PC maker.