You are currently viewing First Impressions: Steam Big Picture Mode Beta

First Impressions: Steam Big Picture Mode Beta

Valve’s Big Picture Mode for Steam has entered beta. Is it any good?

One of the features of Steam’s new Big Picture Mode is the ability to use a gamepad to browse your library of games, surf the Internet and type. This seemed quite interesting to me. Unfortunately, my gamepad is not supported. And neither, apparently, are a lot of people’s. In its current beta state, Big Picture Mode only supports Xinput gamepads. Users with DirectInput devices are currently kind of screwed.

Valve’s explanation is that the sheer number of DirectInput configurations means that they were unable to implement support for them at the present time. They hope to add support for DirectInput and key re-binding in the future.[1] Seems reasonable and sounds good. It’s in beta. Things aren’t gong to be perfect.

So, onto the stuff that does work. The new interface works, and seems like it would work well with a gamepad. I was able to muddle through most of it with the arrow, enter and escape keys. The aesthetics of the new interface are quite pleasing, and work well on a television from a distance. The “once cable” setup works, although it would be immeasurably more surprising if it didn’t.

Valve, as ever, seems to know what they’re doing. While there are inevitable beta issues, the fundamentals of the design seem solid.


1 ^