Yesterday, Valve's Big Picture mode for Steam went into Beta, available to all users. It introduces an interface for the Steam distribution and networking service designed for a controller, on a large screen. It provides a console-like experience for a previously PC-centric service. It even further develops the “living room gaming experience” by introducing elements such as the “Daisywheel” keyboard replacement that allows for a controller to type at modest speeds with a radial menu.
The new mode further materializes the notion of the long rumored "Steam Box," a mythical future console built on Steam's expansive digitally-distributed library. Last week, they posted a job opening for an Industrial Designer, citing in the description a frustration with the lack of innovation in computer hardware. Kotaku reports that Valve is not content with the closed nature of the 360 and PS3, where hardware innovation is limited, and patching requires certification.