Prototypes already being tested internally, beta coming soon.
Valve is tinkering with a handful of peripherals for Steam Big Picture Mode that will bring PC gaming mouse-and-keyboard-like controls to your living room. It's unclear what form the final product will take, but we should find out fairly soon. Valve says it hopes to start beta testing its first device in 2013.
In an interview with Engadget, Valve's Jeri Ellsworth reveals that the hardware team's immediate goal is to "make Steam games more fun to play in your living room." That means transforming those old PC gaming stalwarts, the mouse and keyboard, into something you can easily wield while you're sitting on the couch with your feet up on the coffee table.
Ellsworth doesn't give any hints as to what form that peripheral will take, but says no options have been left off the table. It's worth noting an interesting-looking patent application Valve filed last year surfaced, featuring dual analog sticks that can be swapped out for trackballs and other inputs:
Internal beta tests on a handful of different controllers are already underway, with Valve employees able to get their hands on and try the current prototypes. Once the field is narrowed down, Ellsworth said Valve will put one or more of those controllers into gamers' hands for external beta testing. Valve already has a production line for short runs in place to make it happen, and it's likely testers will be selected through Steam, though no concrete details have been made.
Looking forward to seeing what Valve comes up with. But I also hope they're working on a solution to wirelessly stream PC content. I have no interest in lugging my full-sized PC into the living room for a gaming session or stringing an HDMI cable through my house. And while there are a handful of wireless streaming options out there, none are designed for full HD 1080p PC gaming. Well, none I could find except for the Asus Wavi. Interesting looking product. Asus says it offers 5GHz band streaming for lag free PC gaming, and two-way control takes care of controller issues. Just one problem: it doesn't look like Asus actually sells the Wavi just yet.
I've pinged Asus about the Wavi. Hopefully we'll get some more info, and potentially some hands-on testing, in the near future.