Steam’s Big Picture beta goes live today

The beta for Steam Big Picture, Valve's new mode that lets gamers access all of their favorite Steam games on their television, is set to go live today.

Valve announced that later today gamers will be able to download the update and, with the press of a button, display Steam on the Television with a new full-screen user interface optimized for readability and interaction on the big screen. Although it fully supports keyboard and mouse input, it has been designed to be used with a traditional game controller.

To experience Big Picture you'll need to connect your computer to your TV with a single HDMI cable. Access to the Steam store is included, as is the Steam Community. Additionally, each user's cloud files, Steam Workshop content, account information, and preferences will be accessible in the new mode.

Big Picture also includes a new web browser designed for TVs and game controllers. It supports Big Picture's new method of typing with a game controller which, to me, just seems completely awkward, but I'll have to try it out before I officially judge it. The web browser is accessible from anywhere within the Big Picture UI.

"Sega's roots are in living-room gaming." said John Clark, Vice President of Digital Distribution at Sega. "For the first time since the advent of PC games decades ago, gamers are finally going to have access to the kind of entertainment experience we've always wished they could have with our PC titles – one that's incredibly social, comfortable, and accessible. We're excited about the opportunity, and Big Picture has inspired us to bring even more of our titles to Steam in the future."

"There is nothing more satisfying than slaying thousands of orcs on your big screen. And many of the most die-hard players of Orcs Must Die 2 have always preferred playing with a game controller. Steam Big Picture Mode finally marries these two and delivers a true living room entertainment experience to players," he added.

"We're pleased that gamers on Steam will now be able to immerse themselves in our entertainment experiences in the comfort of their living room on large screen TVs," said Take-Two Interactive's Steve Glickstein. "From action and adventure to sports and sims, our titles deliver big fun on big screens."

Finally, here's what Gabe Newell, president of Valve had to say of the revolutionary Big Picture: "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."