PC in the loungeroom: Valve reveals Big Picture

Valve has unveiled its Big Picture project, as teased in mainstream media. It’s an impressive new plan that sees gamers able to hook their gaming PCs up to the big screen – that is, the television in their loungeroom.

“With the press of a button,” Valve promises, your tv will show off the new Steam interface, full-screen and designed specifically for readability and interaction beyond the simple monitor.

…and the interaction expands beyond the simple keyboard/mouse setup too (unless that’s the sort of thing you want, of course!). Big Picture has been designed to work with a more ‘traditional’ game controller – Valve namechecks the Logitech F710, the Razer Onza, or (of course) the humble Xbox 360 controller, in both its wired and wireless forms.

Gabe Newell, president of Valve, explains:

PC gaming continues to be the leading edge of entertainment, whether it’s social gaming, MMOs, graphics hardware, free-to-play, or competitive gaming. 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.

Admittedly, it’s a little more complex than just pushing a button. You also need to hook your tv up to your computer (either PC or Mac!), which is a simple case of plugging in a single HDMI cable. That, my friends, is it. (No HDMI? No problem. Alternative methods do exist and do work – try DVI or VGA cabling, or even wireless!)

Once that’s sorted, you’ll be able to check out the entire Steam store, as well as Steam community, and – of course – your entire collection of Steam games (including your cloud save files, Workshop content, account information and preferences!).

The best bit? It’s out now (well, almost). The Big Picture beta is set to kick off a little later today, so it might be a nice idea to get yourself ready.

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