Aside from making gamers wait for the elusive Episode 3 and purposely poking at us with Black Mesa Source, Valve always has something interesting up their innovative sleeve. After rumors of the Steam Box turned into the company denying us any announcement at E3 (aside from CS:GO), the gaming community was left wondering what would be next for Valve.
This week, Valve's mission of becoming a literal household name started to come to life as they launched the beta edition of "Big Picture" mode for Steam. Now currently offering more than just games, the Big Picture interface moves the Steam platform off the PC and into living rooms everywhere. Looking similar to the attractiveness of the Xbox 360 dashboard, large, bold fonts with rectangular tiles will fill your HDTV, allowing users to view the new interface away from your computer chair. Navigating the new Steam user interface is now done with a game controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, using triggers - like on the 360 controller - to move from tab to tab. It kind of looks like a hybrid of a PS3 and Xbox 360 controller, except made by Logitech.
Of course, the built-in browser still exists too, so you don't ever have to leave Steam to surf the web. Valve calls it the world's first first-person web browser.
Browse your way across the internet with reticle-based navigation, tabbed browsing, and your favorites saved to the cloud, all just a button press away.
For more on the Big Picture version of Steam, including images of a very interesting on-screen keyboard, get with us after the break.
Text input on Big Picture also gets a unique feel, with this very different on-screen keyboard called Daisywheel. Valve says,
QWERTY is for keyboards. Daisywheel is for controllers. Now surfing and chatting are easy with your thumbs, a controller, and Daisywheel, Big Picture's new tool for typing.
Valve's Greg Croomer hinted that all of this Big Picture talk will lead to something even bigger. He didn't have to come right out and say it, but we can read through the lines that the Steam Box is still a real thing that they want to produce.
What we really want is to ship (Big Picture mode) and then learn. So we want to find out what people value about that. How they make use of it. When they make use of it. Whether it's even a good idea for the broadest set of customers or not. And then decide what to do next.
What's next for us? While we wait for all these things that Valve likes to dangle in front of our faces, check out the trailer of Big Picture and let us know what you think in the comments section below.