Our friends at Kotaku have a preview of Big Picture mode, a new experiment for Valve's Steam platform. Steam is sort of like the iTunes Store of PC gaming--it's a one-stop shop for games, and it has basically complete control of that market. Big Picture mode gives Steam an interface specifically designed for the living room--you're supposed to sit ten feet away from the screen, on your couch, controller in hand, which makes it very different from the way PC gaming is normally done.
Valve is using it to test the waters, to see if PC gamers take to it before doing something more drastic (like creating their own console). The logistics are troublesome by themselves; will gamers buy new hardware just for the living room? Move existing computers back and forth? Do PC gamers even want this option? But it definitely has advantages, which PC gamers would be thrilled to tell you about: no locked-down systems, totally customizable hardware, speedy patches and updates and expansions of games. Plus, it looks cool:
The beta is now available, for Windows users. Grab it here.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.