Steam Big Picture Mode Goes Into Beta

Gamers have been asking for it, and now it’s almost here; on Monday, Valve announced that the long-awaited Steam “Big Picture Mode” support has finally arrived in beta form.

As anyone who has ever played games via Steam on their TV can attest, the current UI doesn’t exactly translate very well–everything is too small, too blurry, and you won’t be getting very far with the UI at all if you don’t have a mouse and keyboard handy.

With Steam’s new Big Picture mode, Valve hopes to address all of that and then some. The new mode is an entirely new UI designed for use on a TV. You can browse your library, see what your friends are up to, and even browse the web–all with a controller.

Rather than going with the familiar on-screen keyboard solution that Microsoft and Sony have employed, Valve is trying something different with theirs. You’re able to select groups of characters with your analogue stick, which are all mapped to face buttons on your controller–as you can see in the image above.

“PC gaming continues to be the leading edge of entertainment, whether it’s social gaming, MMOs, graphics hardware, free-to-play, or competitive gaming,” said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. “With Big Picture for Steam, we are trying to do our part to give customers and developers what they want – their games, everywhere, optimized for the environment in which they are playing.”

You can check out Steam’s Big Picture mode in action below.