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Steam Big Picture Mode Launches

Steam News Announces the new Big Picture mode is now available, permitting easier access to Steam games on televisions. They kick this off with a celebration sale where you can "save big on Steam's controller-friendliest games." Here's word:

Access to the complete Steam store is included, as is the Steam Community. Big Picture is available worldwide in over twenty languages, including German, French, Russian, Korean, and Portuguese.

Gamers’ existing games are all available in Big Picture. In addition to having the complete library of Steam games, each user's cloud files, Steam Workshop content, account information and preferences will be accessible automatically in the new mode.

Steam gamers may easily experience Big Picture on their televisions by connecting their PC or Mac, typically with a single HDMI cable. Big Picture also includes a new web browser designed for televisions and game controllers. It is accessible from anywhere within the Big Picture UI, and even while playing Steam games on a TV. It supports Big Picture's new method of typing with a gamepad, which is useful for entering URLs, filling out forms, chatting, and other functions.

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45. Re: Steam Big Picture Mode Launches Dec 4, 2012, 10:06 theyarecomingforyou
 
Verno wrote on Dec 4, 2012, 09:44:
You can't handwave away the complexity with some vagueness about "a company like Valve" stuff, they have to deal with the operating systems limitations. Applications can hook and send applications to specific monitors but not like "only send to my HDTV", they use the numeric identifiers the OS gives them and those change. You can't fudge it in software.
I deliberately avoided getting into technicalities but as I said, Valve could simply switch the primary display when launching Big Picture mode and restore it on exit. In fact that functionality should be built into Steam regardless of Big Picture mode. I'm sure there's probably a smarter way to do it but I don't know enough technical details to suggest what that may be. It's the same with sound - there should be an option in Steam that allows you to automatically change your sound device, so that you could default to HDMI audio when gaming and it reverts back to your soundcard after that.

My point is that there's plenty that can be done to improve the user experience but Valve really isn't doing a good job with Steam at the moment. The Community features have improved but they're still slow and unreliable; the game library is poor at handling a large amount of games, especially when each game can only be in one group; the built-in browser is considerably slower than Chrome, despite using WebKit; the install process still involves excessive numbers of prompts and lags like hell when installing multiple games; the DRM often adds an inconvenient delay when launching games (it should store temporary authentication tokens from Valve to allow it to perform as fast as offline mode).

Steam is great but it's hugely underdeveloped considering how much money it is making and how many people use it. It's about time they updated the visual style, with a native-UI option and a lighter colour option (even if not default).
 
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