Valve’s PC gaming storefront and launcher is about to get a major facelift in ‘Big Picture’ mode as it will soon adapt to the SteamOS’ UI as found on the newly revealed Steam Deck.
A new post by a Steam user in its forums inquiring about any updates coming to Big Picture mode saw a reply from a Valve employee saying, “Yes, we are replacing Big Picture with the new UI from Deck. We don’t have an ETA to share yet though.”
Steam’s ‘Big Picture’ mode is an alternative UI solution which aims to replicate the ease of use found on game consoles. While the standard Steam UI works fine on PC, the Steam Deck uses a tweaked version of ‘Big Picture’ mode to make navigation easier on its handheld form factor.
The Steam Deck runs on the new SteamOS 3.0, which itself is based on Linux Arch. Valve has revealed that the Steam Deck can be connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse to offer a fully fledged desktop experience by switching to KDE Plasma.
While Valve hasn’t officially revealed when its Steam Deck UI will replace Big Picture mode on PC, it’s safe to assume that it will likely happen closer to, or even after, the Steam Deck’s launch in December this year. It’s also possible that Valve wants to launch it on PC after working out the quirks of certain Deck-specific features like game suspension and seamless cross-progression with the PC client.
Valve has previously revealed in an interview with IGN that SteamOS 3.0 was designed specifically to meet the needs of console gamers with the versatility of PC gaming. While most of its components can’t be upgraded like PCs, users will be able to upgrade its internal SSD for storage and even wipe SteamOS altogether.
The Steam Deck will release in December this year in the US, Canada, European Union, and UK, with “information about expanded regional availability coming soon” sometime in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Steam Deck will make it to India officially, although IGN India has reached out to AMD, Novaplay, Valve, and Worldwide CDROMs for comment and will update this story if we hear from any of these companies.