We’ve heard some feedback from users about shopping for and playing games in Big Picture mode. It can be tricky to determine which Steam games are best-suited to your PC setup, and the matrix of elements which contribute to this equation is ever-expanding. What OS am I running? What type of input am I using? Do I have an active In-Home Streaming connection?
Each of these details can be used to help guide you to the content that’s most relevant to you right now. So we’ve updated the Big Picture Store and Library interfaces in our most recent Steam client and SteamOS Betas to take advantage of this information. The system detects your current OS, input devices, and the OS of your remote Streaming host, if one exists, and it uses the information to dynamically present you with the content you want to see.
When navigating Big Picture mode with a traditional gamepad, the Steam Store is now optimized to showcase controller-friendly games. When browsing the Store in Big Picture mode on OS X, Linux or SteamOS, the Store displays content designed for your OS. When you have an active In-Home Streaming connection to another machine, the content designed for its OS is also displayed.
Our playtests have shown us that this guided shopping experience works best for most users when browsing our catalog from a device that can’t always run everything available on Steam. Steam has thousands of titles on offer, so it stands to reason that users would prefer an interface which helps them easily find the ones they can play “right here, right now.”
For those Big Picture and SteamOS users who want to keep a broader eye on all New Releases, Specials, and the like, we’ve got you covered too. We know many Steam customers play games on multiple machines, often with different operating systems and input devices. So we’ve also created an advanced option that lets these users quickly swap between viewing all content and locally playable content while shopping. You’ll find this under the new Store Settings in Big Picture mode and SteamOS.
Fig 1. When navigating the Store with a traditional game controller, featured items are limited to controller-friendly content. A new Store setting allows advanced users to easily switch between viewing controller games and everything available on Steam.
Either way, you’ll find we’ve added tips to the Store, letting you know when a game requires an additional keyboard and mouse, or a streaming connection, in order to play it on your current machine.
In the Big Picture Library, the default view now shows you the collection of games you can play locally. But don’t worry - you can still easily view everything else in your Steam Library here, too.
Give the changes a try after you opt into our Beta and let us know what you think of the new simplified shopping experience. If you’re a user who wants to keep an eye on All Things Steam, give the advanced option a try. We’d love to hear what you think of being able to quickly swap between locally playable and all content available on Steam.
The latest public client beta (http://steamcommunity.com/groups/SteamClientBeta) includes a big update to how we display Steam Community activity feeds and profiles in Big Picture. Please take some time to check it out and give us your feedback over in the SteamClientBeta group.