Valve Software announced on Monday that it is finally ready to bring Steam — its popular PC gaming client — to the living room using a new TV-optimized feature called “Big Picture.” According to Kotaku, Big Picture looks very much like the Xbox 360′s dashboard sans the advertising clutter and keeps all of a player’s games, friends, customized levels and mods and game sales all in one digestible UI. Best of all, almost all of Steam’s games designed for keyboard and mouse have built-in controller support, so gaming on the sofa feels more like gaming on a console. A video introduction follows below.
Unlike cloud gaming where games are streamed directly to a TV or micro-console, Steam’s Big Picture still requires a PC to download, install and run Steam games. And while a Steam HTPC or console makes sense, Valve’s Greg Coomer, head of development for Big Picture, says the company is investigating hardware options but isn’t interested in waging war with existing console makers (at least not yet).
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