Steam makes ‘Big Picture Mode’ official
By Hayley Tsukayama,
Valve announced Monday that it’s officially launching “Big Picture Mode” for all Steam users who want to take the cloud-gaming service to a television. Users can hook their computers up to their televisions to try out the new mode.
Steam has been offering its users the option to put the service on their television since September in beta mode, but the company has deemed it ready to lose that testing tag. The mode makes it possible to use almost all of Steam’s features including its Web browser, social network and — of course — its games in a way optimized for television screens.
Not all of the service’s games are ready to make the jump from keyboard and mouse to controller, but the company is showcasing several that will work with your existing game controllers. And, in true Steam fashion, many of these titles are on sale today.
For example, Valve’s own Portal 2 is 75 percent off for $4.99 through Dec. 10 at 1 p.m., Eastern. Counterstrike Global Offensive is half off for $7.49.
Lego titles are also getting a deep discount: Lego Star Wars is 50 percent off at $9.99 and both Lego Harry Potter titles (Years 1-4 and 5-7) are 66 percent off at $6.79. Lego Batman 2 is also on a 66 percent discount, for $10.19.
All the sale titles have full controller support, which means that users won’t have to tote their mouse and keyboard to the living room. There are also quite a few partial support titles, such as XCOM Enemy Unkown, Hitman: Absolution, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Steam is very clear about which titles have full support and which do not.
Titles with partial support may need the keyboard and mouse during installation or for “limited interactions” throughout the game.
Valve’s decision to design its service specifically for the big screen is a sneaky shot against console makers Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, who are all experimenting with cloud gaming.
There’s been a lot of interest in a Valve console in the past, given the company’s good relationship with the gaming community. The company could move into the space with a lot of goodwill. Some see this step into the living room as a test for bigger things in the future.
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