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Steam's new Big Picture UI is now available for testing

Learning from the Steam Deck

You can now test a new version of Steam's Big Picture mode which applies the interface Valve designed for Steam Deck. It includes several of the handy features of the Deck's UI, including a new home screen, universal search, and more. Find more details and how to opt-in to the beta below.

Valve announced the beta and gave a full list of the features included in the new Big Picture mode:

  • New Home Screen, where you can continue playing recent games, and see what’s new with the games in your library.
  • New Universal Search, that searches across Library, Store, and your friends
  • New controller configurator, designed for ease-of-use of picking, adjusting, or creating custom controller configurations
  • Optimized Steam Store for controller navigation
  • Updated in-game overlay, with access to achievements and guides
  • Press Steam / Guide / PS button while in game
  • New system menu, for quick navigation to different parts of the interface
  • Access this with the Steam / Guide / PS button
  • New quick access menu, for access to notifications, friends list, quick settings, and more.
  • Access this with Steam / Guide / PS button + A

Big Picture mode was added to Steam a little over ten years ago as part of Valve's initial push towards living room televisions. As an interface, I'd deem it semi-successful, even if its intended use on Steam Machines or even Steam Link never became commonplace. The Steam Deck's interface, despite primarily being designed for little screens, is much improved. I'm a particular fan of the universal search.

If you want to test it out for yourself, with what Valve call "rough edges", you'll need to head to your Settings within Steam and under the Account tab hit the "Change" button in the beta participation section and select the client beta from the dropdown. You'll then need to amend your Steam shortcut by adding "-gamepadui" to the end of its "Target" property.

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