Will Steam's Big Picture Make PC Gaming The Next Big Console?

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Will Steam's Big Picture Make PC Gaming The Next Big Console?

I admit, I was once a PC gamer. At the risk of dating myself, I was a PC gamer back in the days when knowing your way around a config.sys file wasn't just a smart idea, in many cases, it was a necessity. That's what really got me into console gaming; it was nice to know that you could just slap a game into the console and start it up and it would run. Red Ring of Death notwithstanding, that was the case. But now, PC gaming may get that same kind of reliability with Steam's Big Picture.

Steam's Big Picture mode is, essentially, just what it says. It looks to provide a way for users to hook their computers to their televisions, and then route games from Steam to their televisions. It's Steam, just on an appropriately-sized monitor.

The idea of hooking a computer up to a television and using it as an unusually large monitor isn't new. It's been around since at least Halloween: H20 came out. But getting a fairly major package like Steam onto a television screen? Now that's a bit new.

Getting things like Steam on televisions isn't easy, as there are issues of resolution to work around as well as issues of connectivity. I tried such an approach myself with limited success, hooking an Acer Aspire to my television with the aid of an HDMI / PC video cable, and though it's rather nice, the biggest problem is one of connectivity in controls. Trying to work a mouse on the arm of my armchair--even a wireless mouse--isn't the most comfortable thing, and slinging a wireless keyboard across my legs isn't much better. Still though, looking at some of the games out there--Sins of A Solar Empire, or even EVE Online--makes me long for that big-screen experience, and it becomes clear why making the jump to living rooms is important for PC gaming.

Steam's Big Picture may not make PC gaming the next big console, at least not by itself, but it may well represent that all important first step into making it the next big thing. PC gaming's advance could use a little fire under it, and making it as easy to use as console gaming? Now that's a start to get behind.
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