Don’t forget that we are living in the future, so why you’re gaming like you still live in the past? It’s time to move that gaming PC from your desk to your lounge room. Here's what you'll need to begin.
Well, that’s obvious. If you're about to shop for a TV specifically for lean-back gaming, look for a TV that has a high refresh rate for gaming.
When you’re gaming on your desk, it’s great using a mouse and keyboard, but when you're on your couch, everything gets a bit more difficult.
Luckily, there’s a gaming giant, Microsoft, creating a version of its Xbox 360 controller that works on Windows via dongle. Also, a great controller for gaming is Steam Controller. You can check its review here. (te ieliec linku uz otru postu)
If you really want to use the mouse and keyboard, you can invest in a variety of different wireless options. Definitely, don’t bother with set-ups that are hired here: the cables are usually way too short. You'll not only need to go wireless, you'll also need to invest in a solution to keep them all flat. Perhaps an option worth investing in may be a mousepad you can put on the chair next to you or some kind of handy table that is stable for your gaming gear.
There’s a PC tower that has to be installed at home, which means an ugly HDMI, networking speaker cables need to run over the floor. To cover this up, you can invest in a cool rug from IKEA and keep everything tidy and neat.
Steam is one of the biggest and best gaming clients in the world. It's perfectly suited to lean-back internet browsing and gaming, as it comes with a new mode called Big Picture Mode. It gives you access to your media, your games and the Steam community. This means you get everything on your TV that you have with your PC environment.
You can enjoy gaming in a few different modes, because BIG Picture supports controllers as well as the traditional mouse and keyboard setup.
If you’ve got a gaming PC that has an HDMI-out, all you have to do is plug your TV in like you would any other console. From here, you’ll need to switch on Big Picture mode.
It’s built into Steam and activating is super easy. In the top, right corner of the Steam window is a button labelled BIG PICTURE. Click on it, and you’re transported into Steam for your lounge room!
Browsing the web using a steam controller
The steam full-screen web browser definitely also plays a role in making this experience interesting. There are quite many things that just feel right about this, but let’s start with the two basic ones:
1. Laying back on a couch and having the resolution immediately set to something that doesn't strain your eyes is pretty nice
2. The controls feel so natural. Browsing is really efficient while having the left touchpad as a vertical scroll, but right pad as a mouse.
Some other great things:
- The usage of onscreen keyboard is quite cool. Sometimes it feels like you’re playing a strange Time Crisis game of aiming and shooting at letters while doing a Google search. It’s really helpful that the keyboard is divided in 2 sections, one for each thumb.
- The grip buttons as forward and back are useful, and they make getting around a little more seamless.
Enough about the good stuff, let’s be honest about some negatives here as well:
- The onscreen keyboard repeatedly blocks you from seeing what you are typing.
- Playing videos can be evasively tricky. For example, quite often some videos are pausing when trying to press play. Of course, this seems to be a drawback with the browser.
- Managing tabs is a bit weird. A lot of context switching is necessary to do this, creating it a little unusual to change tabs.
Anyway, if Valve would improve this experience, it would be such a good way to lay back and browse the web. Right now, there’s some room for improvement.
Alternatives To Steam
Certainly, there are some other alternatives to gaming on your TV than Steam and its legendary Big Picture mode. You can try UPlay for access to Ubisoft titles, or Origin for all your EA gaming needs. However, UPlay, in particular, does its best to attract you to its own platform by giving you additional unlockables in games such as Watch Dogs, as well as more loot for your in-game character.