Back in July of last year, a Valve moderator mentioned that the UI of the Steam Deck will at some point replace the PC game launcher’s Big Picture Mode. At the time, there was no date as to when that will happen just yet. There’s still no general release date now, but there’s a sign that it will be coming soon. This is simply because the folks at Valve have made the UI available for testing.
You may be wondering, what can you actually expect from the new Steam Deck UI being used for the Big Picture mode? As listed by Valve, you naturally get the new Home Screen, which looks a lot more congruent with the default launcher interface. The Universal Search lets you look for things across the Store, your Library, and even your friends. The store itself is also now optimised for controller navigation. There’s also a new controller configurator that makes it easier to choose, adjust, or creating brand new configurations.
Making the new Big Picture mode more akin to the UI found on gaming consoles is a new in-game overlay, system menu, and quick access menu. If you have a DualShock 4 or DualSense plugged in, these are accessed by pressing the PS button. Though that last one, the quick access menu, is noted as accessible with the “PS button + A” combination. Considering Steam uses the Xbox face buttons for most games, this likely means pressing the PS button and X.
Valve says on its announcement page that “the team is still polishing rough edges” and is now taking community feedback. Being that this is still just a test build, you’l have to opt into the Steam Client beta to be able to access it. You’ll also need to edit your Steam launcher shortcut and add a launch parameter.