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It's only the first day of GDC and already Valve (creator of the Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Portal franchises as well as Mac gaming supporter) is rolling out the big announcements. In a somewhat unclear press release sent earlier today, Valve announced plans for something called "Big Picture Mode." How exactly this new mode will work is unclear, but we do know that it is a program designed to allow PC and Mac gamers to play their games through their television (or other computer displays) with controllers.
Valve was very sparse when it came to specifics though. At this point they still have not announced whether this is a new system designed to rival OnLive's method of instant streaming, or if it's a method for pushing Steam games to your TV via an everyday HDMI cable.
“With big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house,” said Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi in the press release.
Valve has said that the specifics of this new system will be incoming shortly as they begin to share them with their partners at scheduled GDC meetings. No matter how this works out it is a very exciting prospect. We're big fans of Mac gaming, but after a long day working at a computer it can be all too easy to want to slouch on the couch with a console or iPhone game. Being able to stream and navigate that content effortlessly on a TV would be wonderful.
Of course, running a simple out-cable to an HDTV instead of a monitor is nothing new. So we're assuming the announcement has more to do with navigating that content without the need for a cumbersome keyboard and mouse.