Valve launches Steam's Big Picture mode, celebrates with a sale

By on December 3, 2012, 6:57 PM

Valve has announced the public launch of Steam's new TV-oriented "Big Picture" mode, which makes it easier for PC gamers to step away from their desk and enjoy titles from a couch. The new interface was first teased in early 2011 and finally hit beta this September with a positive reception despite minor kinks.

It's not clear how serious Valve is about bringing Steam to the living room, but it might be interesting to see Big Picture positioned  as an all-around entertainment hub with video streaming -- not unlike what we've seen from online console platforms. For whatever it's worth, the interface currently offers a Web browser.

Big Picture is available worldwide in over 20 languages and can be enabled by clicking the "Big Picture" icon in the upper right corner of the Steam client. Naturally, you'll also have to hook your PC's video and audio outputs up to whatever large screen you intend to play on (many modern GPUs support audio-out via HDMI).

That's about as technical as the process gets, but it could be a little tricky if your PC isn't close to a TV and you have to route wires through your home. As a friendly tip, if you're shopping for a lengthy HDMI cable, Monoprice has some decent rates and they offer a video tutorial on picking the right wire for your needs.

Although the keyboard and mouse are supported in Big Picture, the mode is largely optimized for use with a controller -- particularly the Xbox 360 and Logitech F710 gamepads. Recognizing that fact, Valve is celebrating the launch of Big Picture with a sale on controller-friendly games. Here's a partial list of the sale:

85 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive $7.49 (50% off)
88  Left 4 Dead $4.99 (75% off)
88 Left 4 Dead 2 $4.99 (75% off)
95  Portal 2 $4.99 (75% off)
75 Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine $7.49 (75% off)
83 Sonic Generations $7.49 (75% off)
83 Alan Wake Franchise $10.00 (75% off)
82  Orcs Must Die! 2 $3.74 (75% off)
90  Limbo $2.49 (75% off)
88  Braid $2.50 (75% off)
83  AudioSurf $2.50 (75% off)
84  The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition $2.49 (75% off)
76  Magicka Collection $8.74 (75% off)
70  Shank $3.39 (66% off)
74  Shank 2 $3.39 (66% off)
77  Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West $2.49 (75% off)
50  Post Apocalyptic Mayhem $2.49 (75% off)
80 Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes $10.19 (66% off)
74 Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 $6.79 (66% off)
76 Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 $6.79 (66% off)
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga $9.99 (50% off)
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit $3.74 (75% off)
Sine Mora $3.39 (66% off)
Castle Crashers $5.09 (66% off)
Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers $2.49 (75% off)
Mark of the Ninja $10.04 (33% off)
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved $1.00 (75% off)
Wanderlust: Rebirth $3.39 (66% off)
Intrusion 2 $3.39 (66% off)
Deadlight $10.04 (33% off)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron $29.99 (50% off)
Super Hexagon $2.00 (33% off)
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken $4.99 (50% off)
Wizorb $0.74 (75% off)
A Virus Named TOM $2.49 (75% off) 
They Bleed Pixels $3.39 (66% off)
Bit.Trip Runner $3.33 (67% off)
Crazy Machines 1.5 $3.99 (60% off)
More....




User Comments: 13

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St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

CS:GO is controller friendly? Huh..

psycros psycros said:

CS:GO is controller friendly? Huh..

No FPS is truly "controller friendly" unless it has auto-aim.

ikesmasher said:

CS:GO is controller friendly? Huh..

No FPS is truly "controller friendly" unless it has auto-aim.

which sadly most of them do. plus more. (Bullet magnetism anyone?)

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I was only surprised, because the CS series is widely known for requiring ultra-human reflexes to master. More than other FPS.

Arris Arris said:

So "Big Screen" is just a controller friendly Steam interface? Nothing new then. I've been happy enough with keyboard and mouse with my "Big Screen" in the past. Although might take advantage of the sale and grab CS:GO, see what's changed in CS since Source version.

Capaill said:

Tried it last night on my own monitor (full HD) with a mouse/keyboard. Found it difficult to use. I often clicked on something (eg. Browser) and couldn't figure out how to go back. There was no Back or Home button and Escape didn't seem to do anything. The Store/Library/Community bar at the top disappeared. Ended up hitting everything and somehow got back to the main screen. Checked Options and didn't see anything that would help. Went back to my normal view.

I guess it is intended for controllers only.

1 person liked this | Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

While a game may be gamepad friendly, the other PC gamers you will be playing against won't be. Never bring a gamepad to a mouse fight!

Jane W. said:

Ummm...if you can get your computer near your tv, then just plug your hdmi cable and you've got everything you need. Playing TF2 on a 60" TV screen is pure joy!

m4a4 m4a4 said:

I've been doing this for a while...

It's called making my TV into a second PC monitor................

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Tried it last night on my own monitor (full HD) with a mouse/keyboard. Found it difficult to use. I often clicked on something (eg. Browser) and couldn't figure out how to go back. There was no Back or Home button and Escape didn't seem to do anything. The Store/Library/Community bar at the top disappeared. Ended up hitting everything and somehow got back to the main screen. Checked Options and didn't see anything that would help. Went back to my normal view.

I guess it is intended for controllers only.

Yeah I initially had trouble too. Restarted steam and more options appeared and ESC started playing a bit nicer. Doesn't appear to be an option to put friends into offline from Big Picture Mode and initially my library didn't appear at all. The screen needs some way to navigate back home easier rather than relying on a HOME key on a 360 controller.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Wait.. are you guys seriously complaining because you can't navigate a TV/controller optimised screen with the traditional board/mouse? It's made to work with the A & B buttons on controller.

It's an optional skin. Unlike Win8.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's an optional skin. Unlike Win8.
Even looks better than Win8!!! lol

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Wait.. are you guys seriously complaining because you can't navigate a TV/controller optimised screen with the traditional board/mouse? It's made to work with the A & B buttons on controller.

It's an optional skin. Unlike Win8.

According to [link]

"And don't worry, keyboard and mouse aren't going anywhere---users will be able to switch between input devices at any time."

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