Something to look forward to: Even those not intending to buy Valve’s Steam Deck could be impacted by its arrival. A company spokesperson has confirmed that the handheld’s user interface will replace Steam’s Big Picture mode.
Valve moderator austinp_valve confirmed the change on the Steam community forums. They added that the company did not know exactly when the move will take place. “Yes, we are replacing Big Picture with the new UI from Deck,” reads the message. “We don’t have an ETA to share yet though.”
Replacing the little-loved Big Picture mode will be welcomed by most Steam users. Announced in 2011 and released in beta 2012, it is designed to give PCs a console-like UI with controller support when connecting to a large TV. The mode hasn’t been given a significant refresh since way back in 2015.
The Steam Deck, which runs a new version of Steam’s Linux-based operating system called SteamOS 3.0, already appears to offer a better user experience than Big Picture mode, so this seems like a sensible decision on Valve’s part.
Following the Steam Deck announcement last week, Valve allowed consumers to preregister for the handheld by paying a $5 deposit that is applied to the final cost when the devices get closer to their shipping dates. The first shipments are scheduled to begin in December 2021, but the huge demand has seen Valve change the availability for new pre-orders. It led to scalpers selling the devices for over $1,000 on eBay, though the auction site says it is clamping down on the practice as it violates its pre-order policy.
In other Steam Deck news, a Valve engineer recently confirmed that the machine is perfectly capable of playing games directly from SD cards, which is good, given the device’s limited storage and the size of many current games.