Valve announces "big picture" mode for Steam

Speaking at this week's Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, Valve announced plans for a "big picture" mode for its Steam digital distribution platform.

Speaking briefly about the forthcoming feature, the Seattle firm said that it will offer "controller support and navigation designed for television interaction." It plans to discuss the mode in detail with game developers and publishers at the conference.

"Our partners and customers have asked us to make Steam available in more places. With the introduction of Steam on the Mac, and soon in Portal 2 on the PS3, we've done just that," said Valve's Doug Lombardi. "With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house."

Valve also said today that it will "share with partners the data it gathered during the hugely successful launch of Steam Microtransactions late last year within its own multiplayer classic, Team Fortress 2." The introduction of Microtransactions allows for in-game purchases within Steamworks titles.

"We've come to understand what type of content sells well in TF2′s in-game store, and the various price points at which players value this content," said Robin Walker, Software Developer at Valve. "Our players are continually teaching us what works and what doesn't. Much of this feedback can be generalized to other titles on Steam, so we're looking forward to sharing what we've learned with partners at GDC. We're also interested in seeing partners get up and running with their own in-game economies, so they can collect game-specific data to inform their design decisions."

Valve's next major release is Portal 2, slated to hit store shelves in April.

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