Steam's Big Picture Mode Exits Beta

Steam's Big Picture Mode Exits Beta

Valve officially launches Steam's Big Picture Mode alongside (yet another) games sale.

You may already have heard of Steam's Big Picture Mode, which allows anyone with an HDMI cable to bring Steam's Library to HD televisions. The service has been available in beta since September, but those holding out for the finished version will be happy to know that Big Picture officially launched with a recent Steam update. More importantly, Valve is celebrating Big Picture's release with yet another Steam sale of 30 heavily discounted games.

Big Picture Mode works perfectly well on standard computer monitors, but functions best on a larger screen with a PC controller at hand. The UI and menu have been completely redesigned into a dashboard format, appearing more reminiscent of console operating systems than a program running in your toolbar. Game listings have also been updated to display the extent of controller support available, although all games are still playable in Big Picture Mode with a keyboard and mouse.

To encourage players to try Big Picture Mode, Valve has slashed the prices of several games featuring full PC controller support. Each discounted title is considered one of Steam's "controller-friendliest" games, ranging from shooters like Left 4 Dead and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to platformers like Braid and Shank 2, and more. Even Train Simulator 2013 has made the cut, finally giving you an excuse to manage virtual Amtrak lines from the comfort of your couch.

Gamers who lack an HDMI port may have trouble taking full advantage of Big Picture Mode, but despite that drawback everyone still loves a good sale. Whether you prefer playing in front of a monitor, or have already activated Big Picture Mode on your television, a new pile of purchases should keep you busy until the next inevitable Holiday Sale crushes our bank accounts once and for all.

Source: Steampowered, via Eurogamer

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It's pretty cool and, from what I can tell, functional. I like how chat looks in it but I don't really use it beyond the initial testing of it since I don't have a screen larger than 24 inches nor do I care to play with a controller.

Also, fairly certain most recent graphic cards have HDMI output, even then you could get a DVI to HDMI adapter. It shouldn't be too big an issue.

This is an amusing feature and all that, but seriously ...
"Controller friendly shooter" is an oxymoron.

I mean if you're playing on a console where everyone is forced to use the same aim-assist, it's a level playing field.
But on PC, you'd either have to "cheat" so hard people call foul, or "cheat" not enough and the controller users get raped repeatedly.

Danceofmasks:
I mean if you're playing on a console where everyone is forced to use the same aim-assist, it's a level playing field.
But on PC, you'd either have to "cheat" so hard people call foul, or "cheat" not enough and the controller users get raped repeatedly.

Well, they did concentrate on the Left 4 Dead games for this milestone, and most regular players I know play in story-mode with friends, not in Versus mode. That means there's no real downside to the controller, except maybe requiring a reduction in difficulty.

I played a little bit of CS:GO Arsenal Mode right after they implemented the beta, and although I didn't do all that well, I was able to get around a 1:3 ratio, which I don't consider too bad for an unfamiliar control scheme.

OMG! Sine Mora with a 66% discount? Count me in, one of the best shmups in the pc.

Waaghpowa:

Also, fairly certain most recent graphic cards have HDMI output, even then you could get a DVI to HDMI adapter. It shouldn't be too big an issue.

There is one issue: DVI cables don't transmit sound. If you want to hear the audio from your TV or speaker system, HDMI is still the way to go. I suppose a 3.5 mm to RCA stereo cable could be used as a substitute in a pinch, though.

It's very nice. Now the UI is accessible with a controller, so I don't have to switch between input devices when I want to chat during gameplay.

Steam please leave my money alone D: I'm going to try out the big picture later today, I'm looking forward to it and looking forward to playing lego harry potter and left 4 dead 2.

So wait, this doesn't mean that Movie Bob will be narrating/explaining the back story of my steam games?
Damn. :(

It's actually really cool. I tried it on my computer, so not really where it was meant to be tried, but from what I saw, they've really done this nicely.

Also, by the look of the tiled interface with the games, they've inadvertently made it look rather Windows 8'ish. I wonder if this is a pre-cursor to a Windows 8 app that they decided to make..?

From a quick look-see I thought i'd definitely have kept it on for a while if my pc was still attached to my HDTV. I like the general layout and the ease of navigation.

I don't mean to nitpick but isn't it called Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Anyway, this is a very nice feature. I just wish they had this kind of thing when I started playing PC games a few years ago. Although I will say that being forced to use a keyboard and mouse helped me get better at it.

I find it weird that Valve's first attempt at a controller based UI is better than the ones we've had on the PS3 and 360 for years. I like it a lot, kinda forgot it was in beta it works so well. I love the daisy wheel keypad, such a small addition which makes typing on a controller less of a chore. Although my pc is already hooked up to the 24" tv I have on my desk so I really don't have much use for big picture, however I'm tempted to try one of those wireless hdmi streamers so I can play Just Cause 2 on the 42" tv downstairs.

CardinalPiggles:
I don't mean to nitpick but isn't it called Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Anyway, this is a very nice feature. I just wish they had this kind of thing when I started playing PC games a few years ago. Although I will say that being forced to use a keyboard and mouse helped me get better at it.

Correct! Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed.

I've been using it for a while in Beta and there was more than a few hiccups with it. I can't comment on the release as my desktop's currently in the shop (coil whine in the psu, orz) but one of the issues I had was with some games having a non-controller friendly GUI pop up before launch so I'd have to get up off the sofa every time and go navigate it halfway across the room while squinting at the telly. Second less-picky issue is oversampling on the 720p TV. Big Picture has been set properly to 720p res etc and most of the time it's not a problem but when it is a problem it renders games unplayable. Some games would be fine and integrate like a good program but others like the newly released Hitman Absolution seem to have a mind of its own and just go out of its way to not oversample and fit the screen properly.

Oh and the final one, when I exit Big Picture mode it shunts all my Desktop icons over to my TV and I have to either drag them all back manually or disconnect the TV. Did not like that at all.

I'd love to try this out, but after my update last night, all but a handful of games in my library disappeared. I did some research and I was going to try changing my firewall settings and other stuff they suggested, but I got tired and went to bed. Hopefully it's just fixed when I get home from work, because I hate dealing with computer issues after work. And I especially hate when an update completely screws up functionality that worked fine for me for years. I really don't get it: when I go to my account it still says I have licenses for all my games, but only about 4 of them are showing up under "my games" even when I select "all games".

Meh, I have no use for the feature and the button looks horribly ugly and unfitting. The very first thing I did after the update was removing it. Also how on Earth is Counter Strike one of the "controller friendliest" games?

All that aside, the mode does seem to be rather well done and easy to use with a controller at the first glance.

So does Steam still take a minute and a half to log in? Does it still take 30 seconds to populate your games list? Does it resolve the annoying your game is not ready just now feature which seems to appear for now reason that I can work out? Does it make the shop and general layout faster to navigate? Does it make Steam keep working 'correctly' even when they decide to have a sale an oft event that seems to bring Steam to it's knees?

To put it another way does it fix ANY of the issues that Steam has and are getting more and more of an issue with the ever larger amount of utterly useless, worthless and pointless crap they keep shoe horning in to Steam?

The new functionality is neat, if I had any intention of using my comp with a normal tv then I would probably like it but for now, I've been having problems with steam crashing since the update, allot.

No! I got a controller and entered steam beta to get in on this first! It's mine! Back off you peasants! *Hissssss*

But seriously, this is why valve is winning.

Seems like a good mode for consoles/smartphones.

It's strictly worse to a traditional keyboard and mouse. It's like navigating websites with a Wiimote.
It feels different but it's just a step back to the tried and true.

Seems cool but it kind of defeats the whole point when you need you the use of a mouse beforehand and it's shit for browsing. Really, the next logical step is a gaming console which again would defeat the whole point of all this.

I do wonder if this is the first step for setting up steam as a console system, like that one Valve is said to be working on.

Personally I don't like controllers, but I you can attack a keyboard and mouse to it, I don't mind.

Hmm. If only my TV was'nt hopeless for PC gaming and actually supported PC's this would save me a monitor upgrade...

I used it a couple of times, and really liked it, unfortunately my TV is liquid crap, so I don't see myself using it much
It was nice though, very easy to navigate.

They have Counter-Strike Global Offensive labeled as "controller-friendly."

Hilarious.

As for Big Picture mode itself, tried it out. After years with Xbox Live, having an interface that's just games and no ads is a thing of beauty.

Laughing Man:
To put it another way does it fix ANY of the issues that Steam has and are getting more and more of an issue with the ever larger amount of utterly useless, worthless and pointless crap they keep shoe horning in to Steam?

Nope, all old problems remain, this doesn't seem to add any issues to the regular client just has it's own problems on top of the old shit.

Irridium:
They have Counter-Strike Global Offensive labeled as "controller-friendly."

Hilarious.

From a purely technical perspective, it is. The menus and gameplay work fine with a controller. As for actually playing to win... Y'know what, I'm not gonna complain. If other people wanna play with a gamepad, that just gives me an advantage. :P

Overall I'm impressed with Big Picture Mode. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit looks gorgeous on a big TV, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a lot more fun with a gamepad, and Sonic Generations is a little of both. Being able to start them from my couch without having to go to my computer first is nice... (though it'd be nicer if I could also switch default sound devices, because my computer is ALWAYS connected to my TV and I usually have it on speakers out by default.

Fanghawk:
Gamers who lack an HDMI port may have trouble taking full advantage of Big Picture Mode

Not really. It works fine with any connected display, regardless of the connector used. Since my TV won't let me disable overscan via HDMI, I have it connected with a VGA cable. It's a bit more difficult since I have to turn the little screws and plug the sound in separately, but I've had no issues with it. I just wish VALVE would make it a bit more clear that HDMI isn't explicitly required, just easier.

P.S. Thanks

Griffolion:
Also, by the look of the tiled interface with the games, they've inadvertently made it look rather Windows 8'ish. I wonder if this is a pre-cursor to a Windows 8 app that they decided to make..?

Nope. Steam would not be possible as a Windows 8 app, because of the restrictions Microsoft puts on them.

It's very nice of Valve to let us have a taste of what their future console will probably be.

It looks so pretty man. It's not that much of a big deal, but it's great presentation and makes my comp feel more like a home theater.

Steve the Pocket:

Griffolion:
Also, by the look of the tiled interface with the games, they've inadvertently made it look rather Windows 8'ish. I wonder if this is a pre-cursor to a Windows 8 app that they decided to make..?

Nope. Steam would not be possible as a Windows 8 app, because of the restrictions Microsoft puts on them.

Ah okay, could you please tell me more about this? I'm not too up on this issue.

Griffolion:

Steve the Pocket:

Griffolion:
Also, by the look of the tiled interface with the games, they've inadvertently made it look rather Windows 8'ish. I wonder if this is a pre-cursor to a Windows 8 app that they decided to make..?

Nope. Steam would not be possible as a Windows 8 app, because of the restrictions Microsoft puts on them.

Ah okay, could you please tell me more about this? I'm not too up on this issue.

The RT API (the bones behind all Modern UI apps) does not allow the launching or installing of an external application; at the most it can open a document itself or with the default program for that document, or a URI with the default program for the protocol being used. If the desktop version of Steam is installed, a helper app can use it to actually do things, for example this link will open Half-Life 2 if you have it installed and Modern UI apps can launch Steam games the same way. On the other hand, an "app" that does nothing but open this link would basically get the job done... provided desktop Steam is installed, of course.

P.S. Thanks

 

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