Could the next generation of gaming console include Steam in the list? It may be possible.
Today, Valve, the video-game company behind the Steam distribution system, will launch a version of Steam designed for your television screen called, Big Picture Mode. According to reports from Kotaku, the service is designed to run in the living room with a controller with icons, fonts, and menus will be large enough to be viewed on a large television screen and easy to navigate with a controller. The functionality is not lost in “Big Picture Mode” as you can buy games, browse the web, and use the platform’s standard QWERTY overlay to chat with friends. It even allows users to use their existing console controller.
Valve plans to unveil the service this afternoon. When the service goes live, you will be able to push a button to change Steam’s interface into a completely new interface.
Even though Valve is turning steam into a gaming console with its lean back interface, it is unlikely that most users will ditch their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 for Steam cold turkey due to its high cost for a console / moderately powerful computer capable of handing games nicely. Until some affordable console that runs Steam, most homes will have a Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or even a Wii in their living room, but a lean back interface is a major step in competing against the big boys. Hopefully, some dedicated hardware that runs steam will come out soon.
Valve has posted a video showing off the new interface planned to be released this afternoon.