Kotaku reports that Valve will detail "big picture mode" for its popular digital download platform Steam at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week. It's believed this mode will effectively allow gamers to run Steam on any TV or computer display in their household while also enabling them to use a control pad.
"Our partners and customers have asked us to make Steam available in more places," said Doug Lombardi, vice president of marketing for Valve to Kotaku. "With the introduction of Steam on the Mac, and soon in Portal 2 on the PS3, we've done just that. 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."
Steam is increasingly seen as an emerging threat to the traditional retail distribution chain for games, offering the same product (sans packaging and physical instruction manuals) often at a much cheaper rate and sometimes with incentive bonuses. This is especially true in New Zealand, where our retail rates are comparably inflated against our overseas counterparts, and the price hike typically doesn't apply to games purchased via Steam.
Recent research data cited by the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association (iGEA) claimed a decline in retail game sales in New Zealand, which many believe to be a result of the inroads made by digital distribution platforms such as Steam.