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Steam's Big Picture Mode Launches in Beta Today

The big step towards making the PC experience in the living room way better.

We seem to be talking about Valve quite a bit these days, huh? In addition to sparking speculation with a job posting for an industrial engineer, launching an indie-focused marketplace embroiled in controversy over a $100 requirement for entry, Valve’s also about to launch Big Picture on Steam.

Big Picture isn’t a new idea. In fact, Valve’s been discussing it since 2011, but only now are we finally seeing what the company has been working on for all that time.

If you’ve listened to the Bombcast in the past year, you know a few of us have started moving our PCs into the living room, realizing even the poorest of PC ports of today’s console games tend to run much better than the discs spinning in our aging TV-rooted hardware. Steam’s current interface isn’t designed to cater to this, though, and Big Picture should hopefully go a long way towards making it more elegant.

Though Big Picture is compatible with a keyboard and mouse, it’s primarily engineered to make using a controller a more pleasant experience. Steam’s web browser has been appropriately tweaked, and Valve’s made some surprising input innovations to make a controller easier to type with.

Big Picture’s beta goes live on Steam later today for PC users, and a Mac version is “coming soon.”

Patrick Klepek on Google+