Tendrils of Steam are preparing to spread throughout homes across the world. With all the talk and rumours of wearable computers, a Steam OS and anything with a ‘3’ in the title, it’s been easy to forget about The Big Picture. With an interface designed for television screens, Big Picture will transfer the Steam library to your living room, “or anywhere there’s a big screen”, so you can finally play Left 4 Dead on that fifty inch Plasma screen in the bathroom while soaking in the tub. A New York Times feature on Valve drops the information that Big Picture will enter public beta today, although quite how and when specifically is not mentioned. I’m keen to test this out, even though my big screen isn’t all that much bigger than my small one.
Although controller support is emphasised on Big Picture’s page, Valve do add that “keyboard and mouse aren’t going anywhere — users will be able to switch between input devices at any time.” As with any impending beta, my main question concerns the logistics of this implementation. Will I be allowed to indulge in a bit of big screen strategic action while reclining on the couch with a glass of red wine? Will my cramped living quarters put me at an advantage for once because my computer is only a few feet from my television? Will Planetside 2 look really really awesome on a massive TV?
Answers to those questions and others as soon as more details are known. In the meantime, the NYT article is worth reading and if you don’t believe me, know that it refers to Gabe Newell as “a bearded bear of a man with John Lennon-style glasses”.