Valve wants to make your living room a little bit more Steam-y, with the revelation that the company is planning a new, “big picture” mode for their uber-popular digital distribution system. The new functionality will include controller support and navigation designed for television interaction – meaning you can enjoy Steam (and your library of games) “on more screens throughout the house”.
Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing for Valve elaborates a little:
“Our partners and customers have asked us to make Steam available in more places. With the introduction of Steam on the Mac, and soon in Portal 2 on the PS3, we’ve done just that. With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house.”
We’re not sure how exactly it’ll all work, but big picture mode is on the table for discussions between Valve and other developers and publishers during this year’s GDC, currently underway in San Francisco.
Also up for discussion is the fact that 2010 was the biggest year yet for Steam, and Valve have bucketloads of data to share with their partners. The successful launch of Steam Microtransactions is set to be a hot topic, as it can now be readily accessed by partners who want to introduce an in-game economy into their games.
Robin Walker, game designer at Valve explains:
“We’ve come to understand what type of content sells well in TF2’s in-game store, and the various price points at which players value this content. Our players are continually teaching us what works and what doesn’t. Much of this feedback can be generalized to other titles on Steam, so we’re looking forward to sharing what we’ve learned with partners at GDC. We’re also interested in seeing partners get up and running with their own in-game economies, so they can collect game-specific data to inform their design decisions.”
There’s also the fact that Steam is now available on Mac, the integration of various features, and the fact that Portal 2 will be the first day-and-date release for Apple-branded PCs. Did we mention Portal 2 is also coming to the PS3, and bringing Steam with it?
Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve is a little pleased with the situation:
“Steam continues to define itself as more than a digital distribution service by regularly adding new features for developers and customers. GDC is a great venue for us to share what we’re up to, and what’s on the horizon for Steamworks. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for us to gather feedback from partners, to help inform our plans.”
We’re guessing that we’ll be hearing more from Valve in the not-too-distant future – there’s only so much information they can cram into one week!