Valve, as many of you already know, recently rolled Steam Big Picture Mode out of beta. For those who need a refresher, Big Picture Mode takes Steam and makes it play nice with larger screens, upping the resolution and allowing users to navigate the Steam interface using a controller. Despite the relatively simple idea, it would appear that Big Picture Mode has taken off, with Valve boss Gabe Newell telling Kotaku that the response from users has been “stronger than expected.”
Looking into the not-so-distant future, what’s on deck for Valve is rolling Steam for Linux out of beta. After that’s done, Valve wants to make Big Picture Mode compatible with Linux. Doing those two things will apparently pave the way for Valve to develop its own hardware for the living room. Newell suggests that PC manufacturers will begin releasing packages aimed at the gamer, which would be computers that players could hook up to a TV and use to run programs like Steam.
It would appear that Newell counts his own company among the ones that will be releasing these PC packages, which he points out will compete with the console world’s next generation offerings. Unfortunately, don’t expect Valve’s hardware – if it ever comes into existence, that is – to be an open system. “Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment,” Newell said. “If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that’s what some people are really gonna want for their living room.”
Of course, we’ve been hearing for a very long time that Valve will one day begin creating gaming hardware of its own, and we have to remember that Gabe Newell is a man who likes to talk about the future of technology, especially as it relates to games. In other words, this doesn’t necessarily count as confirmation that Valve is actually working on the oft-rumored Steam Box, but it is something fun to think about. We’ll just have to wait and see how this whole thing unfolds, so stay tuned.