Steam coming soon to televisions… will live gaming follow?

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Old 01-Mar-2011
Steam coming soon to televisions… will live gaming follow?

Valve Software already owns digital games distribution on Windows PCs, and last year, they released Steam for Mac, which aims to do the same thing on Apple computers… if the Mac App Store will let them, that is. Steam even works on the PlayStation 3 these days. What’s the next frontier for Steam to cover?
If a recent blog post is anything to go by? It might be Steam for HDTVs.
According to the post, Valve is working on what they are calling a new “big picture” mode of Steam which will offer controller support and navigation specifically designed for television interaction. This, they say, will “enable gamers to enjoy Steam and their library of Steam games on more screens throughout the house.”
They plan on unveiling the details of the plan at this week’s GDC in San Francisco, California, but let’s speculate here. Right now, there’s no real point for Steam to run on big televisions. Sure, Valve might be aiming at the HTPC market, but that’s a small one… so if they are overhauling their interface to support 50-inch plasmas, that implies people will soon be playing Steam games on their television sets.
How, though? On the one hand, it might imply that a fuller featured version of Steam is coming to consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360, but what if it’s something different altogether? What if Steam plans on leveraging its existing network infrastructure to make the leap into thin client gaming, a laOnLive? What if they’re about to launch their own $99 streaming console box?
We should know later this week, but my heart’s already going pitter-pat.

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